Your water heater is probably the most underappreciated appliance in your home. Think about it – without the water heater, you wouldn’t have any of the following:
- Hot showers
- Warm baths
- Disinfected dishes
- Disinfected towels and sheets
- Hot water, period.
Given the importance of the water heater, do you really know a good amount about it? We’re here to provide some things to remember when it comes to maintaining, servicing, and replacing your water heater.
The usual 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 think about replacing the appliance. If you aren’t sure what age your water heater is, the date the system was manufactured will be displayed in the serial number which you can find on the identification tag on the water heater tank.
Older water heaters are nothing to take lightly. 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 in your attic or above the bottom floor, the chance of catastrophic damage goes up. Be sure you have your water heater maintenance every year to keep any leaks from damaging your home.
The most common failure of residential water heaters that will entail replacement is a leaking tank.
It is best to have your plumber install the water heater in a drain pan with piping that enables the pan to drain to the outside of your home and decrease the potential of water damage. All water heaters should have a working 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 shut off should be located nearby.
If a water heater is “undersized,” particularly a gas water heater, the tank will malfunction in a shorter amount of time.
When a gas water heater is consistently drained of hot water due to heavy hot water use, the gas burner discharges more often which can result in heavy condensation on the exterior of the tank. The condensation can produce more rapid breakdown of the steel tank. Also, the extreme heat from the gas burner on the underside of the water heater tank can also take its toll on the glass lining on the inner section of the tank, which lowers the lifespan of the water heater.
Water Heater sizing is an essential replacement factor.
All water heaters are under pressure from the water supply, and as water is heated, it grows creating even more pressure. When contemplating replacing a water heater, it’s typically better to go with a sizable 50 gallon tank, rather than a 30 or 40 gallon tank, presuming the location will fit the larger size. The 50 gallon tank will also give you more hot water capacity.