Your water heater is probably the most underappreciated appliance in your home. Seriously – without your water heater, you wouldn’t have any of the following:
- Steamy showers
- Hot baths
- Disinfected dishes
- Clean towels and sheets
- Hot water, period.
Given the power of the water heater, do you really know much about it? We’re here to provide a few things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining, servicing, and replacing your water heater.
The usual lifespan of residential water heaters is between ten and twelve years.
Natural gas and electric water heaters will typically last about a decade before you need to think about replacing the appliance. If you are not sure what age your water heater is, the date the unit was manufactured will be reflected in the serial number which can be found on the identification tag on the water heater tank.
Aging water heaters are nothing to take lightly. A water heater that is a decade or older is at greater risk of getting 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. Always have your water heater maintenance yearly to prevent any leaks from damaging your home.
The most usual failure 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 enables the pan to drain outside of your home and decrease the possibility of water damage. Every water heater should have a functional and accessible turn-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 placed within reach.
If a water heater is “undersized,” especially a gas water heater, the equipment will fail in a shorter amount of time.
When a gas water heater is routinely depleted of hot water due to significant hot water utilization, the gas burner discharges more frequently which can create heavy condensation on the tank exterior. The condensation can produce more speedy decomposition of the steel tank. Also, the severe 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 decreases the life cycle of the water heater.
Water Heater sizing is a crucial replacement factor.
The water supply creates pressure for all water heaters, and as water is heated, it grows creating even more pressure. When considering replacement of a water heater, it’s typically better to go with a bigger 50 gallon tank, rather than a 30 or 40 gallon tank, as long as the location will fit the larger size. The bigger tank will also supply you more hot water capacity.