Your water heater is probably the most underappreciated machine in your home. Think about it – without the water heater, you wouldn’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 a good amount about it? We’re here to provide a couple things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining, servicing, and replacing your water heater.
The average lifespan of residential water heaters is about ten to twelve years.
Natural gas and electric water heaters will usually last about a decade before you need to consider replacing the system. If you are not sure how old your water heater is, the date the system was manufactured will be shown in the serial number which is located on the ID sticker on the water heater tank.
Aging water heaters are nothing to ignore. A water heater that is 10 years or older is at higher risk of producing a leak and leading to water damage to your home. If your water heater sits in your attic or above the first floor, the possibility of catastrophic damage increases. Be sure you have your water heater maintenance every year to avoid any leaks from creating damage in your home.
The most typical breakdown of residential water heaters that will require replacement is a leaking tank.
It is highly recommended to have your installer place the water heater in a drain pan with piping that lets the pan to drain outside your home and lower the probability of water damage. Every water heater should have a functional and accessible shut-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 disconnect should be located nearby.
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 consistently drained of hot water due to significant hot water use, the gas burner fires more often which can produce heavy condensation on the exterior of the tank. The condensation can cause more rapid decomposition of the steel tank. Also, the severe heat from the gas burner on the underside of the water heater tank can also take its toll on the glass lining on the inside of the tank, which lowers the lifespan of the water heater.
Water Heater sizing is a crucial replacement consideration.
The water supply creates pressure for all water heaters, and as water is heated, it grows creating even more pressure. When contemplating replacing a water heater, it’s generally better to go with a larger 50 gallon tank, rather than a 30 or 40 gallon tank, as long as the location will fit the larger size. The larger tank will also supply you more hot water capacity.