As a hot water heater is quite an expensive appliance, it is understandable that you want to know how long it’s going to last before you need to fork out for a replacement. How long your particular heater is going to last will depend on a number of factors, including: its quality, its type, its usage and the quality of the water in your area. Like with most appliances, you get what you pay for although poor water quality can also cause you to go through them quicker.
Fortunately, there are a few clues that you can look for to tell you when the hot water heater needs to be replaced:
The older the heater gets, the more likely it is to break down. Electric ones will generally last 8 to 10 years, whereas gas ones might only last for 6 to 8 years. If your appliance is any older than this, it’s time to either be on the lookout for any of the other clues outlined below or to take a preemptive move by replacing it immediately.
- Rust & Corrosion
Check your tank for signs of rust and corrosion, particularly in the area around the temperature/pressure relief valve and the inlet/outlet connections. You should also check the water itself to see whether it has turned a rusty colour. Unfortunately, corrosion cannot be fixed – once it starts, it’s only a matter of time before the tank starts to leak.
- Unable to Drain
Over time, sediment will build up inside the heater. Flushing it once a year can help to solved this problem and extend the life of the appliance. If you don’t flush the system for an extended period of time, however, the sediment will reach a point where it cannot be fixed and you will be unable to drain water through the drain valve.
The occurrence of a leak in the tank is usually the result of another internal problem – unfortunately, they are rarely fixable. If you spot a leak anywhere on your heater, it is important that you call a plumber or technician immediately. It is quite likely that the appliance will need to be replaced, so you should start looking into a new one.
- Luke Warm or Cold Water
If you have noticed that your water isn’t as hot as it used to be or that it isn’t hot at all, then it’s likely that there is something wrong with your heater. In fact, it’s likely that one of the issues that we’ve outlined above have occurred – inspect the appliance to determine which, but it’s unlikely that the issue will be able to be fixed.
We hope that the information in this article has given you a much better idea of how long your hot water heater should last and what clues to look for when thinking about having it replaced. In short, those with glass or enamel lined tanks should last between 5 and 10 years; stainless steel ones should last between 7 and 10 years; those with copper tanks should last about 7 years; and heat pumps should last about 10 years.