The water heater is probably the most underestimated machine in your home. Seriously – without a water heater, you wouldn’t have any of the following:
- Hot showers
- Toasty baths
- Disinfected dishes
- Sanitized towels and sheets
- Hot water, period.
Given the importance of the water heater, do you actually know a good amount about it? We’re here to give you some things to remember when it comes to maintaining, servicing, and replacing your water heater.
The average lifespan of residential water heaters is 10-12 years.
Natural gas and electric water heaters will usually last about a decade before you need to look into replacing the water heater. If you aren’t sure how old your water heater is, the date the unit was manufactured will be shown in the serial number which can be found on the identification tag on the water heater tank.
Maturing water heaters are nothing to ignore. A water heater that is a decade or older is at higher risk of producing a leak and resulting in water damage to your home. If your water heater sits in your attic or above the ground floor, the chance of catastrophic damage increases. Make sure you have your water heater maintenance yearly to avoid any leaks from causing damage to your home.
The most usual failure of residential water heaters that will require replacement is a leaking tank.
It is a good idea to have your plumber install the water heater in a drain pan with piping that allows the pan to drain outside of your home and minimize the probability of water damage. Each water heater should have a functional and reachable 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 shut off should be placed within reach.
If a water heater is “undersized,” in particular a gas water heater, the system will breakdown in a shorter period of time.
When a gas water heater is consistently depleted of hot water due to substantial hot water utilization, the gas burner is set off more frequently which can produce heavy condensation on the tank exterior. The condensation can create more rapid deterioration of the steel tank. Also, the severe heat from the gas burner on the bottom of the water heater tank can also cause damage to the glass lining on the interior of the tank, which reduces the life expectancy of the water heater.
Water Heater sizing is a crucial replacement issue.
All water heaters are under pressure from the water supply, and as water is heated, it expands creating even more pressure. When considering replacement of a water heater, it’s generally better to go with a sizable 50 gallon tank, rather than a 30 or 40 gallon tank, providing the location will accommodate the larger size. The 50 gallon tank will also give you more hot water capacity.