Your hot water heater is probably the most underestimated appliance in your home. Think about it – without your water heater, you don’t have any of the following:
- Steamy showers
- Warm baths
- Disinfected dishes
- Sanitized towels and sheets
- Hot water, period.
Given the power of the water heater, do you actually know enough about it? We’re here with some things to think about when it comes to replacing, maintaining, and servicing your water heater.
The average lifespan of residential water heaters is 10-12 years.
Natural gas and electric water heaters will commonly last about a decade before you need to consider replacing the appliance. If you aren’t sure how old your water heater is, the date the unit was manufactured will be reflected in the serial number which can be found on the label on the water heater tank.
Aging water heaters are nothing to mess around with. A water heater that is a decade or older is at higher risk of getting a leak and causing water damage to your home. If your water heater is positioned in your attic or above the first floor, the possibility of catastrophic damage increases. Make sure you have your water heater maintenance yearly to keep any leaks from causing damage to your home.
The most usual failure of residential water heaters that will entail replacement is a leaking tank.
It is a good idea to have your installer place the water heater in a drain pan with piping that enables the pan to drain outside of your home and minimize the potential of water damage. All water heaters should have a functional and accessible cut-off valve on the inlet water supply to the tank, and a ball-type valve on the gas supply. For electric water heaters, an electrical cut off should be placed close by.
If a water heater is “undersized,” in particular a gas water heater, the equipment will malfunction in a shorter amount of time.
When a gas water heater is regularly emptied of hot water due to heavy hot water usage, the gas burner is set off more often which can produce heavy condensation on the outside of the tank. The condensation can create more rapid decomposition of the steel tank. Additionally, the extreme heat from the gas burner on the base of the water heater tank can also take its toll on the glass lining on the inner section of the tank, which lowers the life cycle of the water heater.
Water Heater sizing is an important replacement consideration.
The water supply creates pressure for all water heaters, and as water is heated, it grows creating even more pressure. When thinking about replacing a water heater, it’s generally better to go with a bigger 50 gallon tank, rather than a 30 or 40 gallon tank, providing the location will fit the larger size. The 50 gallon tank will also give you more hot water capacity.