The water heater is probably the most underappreciated system in your home. Seriously – without your water heater, you don’t have any of these luxuries:
- Steamy showers
- Warm baths
- Sanitized dishes
- Clean towels and sheets
- Hot water, period.
Given the significance of the water heater, do you truly know much about it? We’re here to provide a couple things to keep in mind when it comes to servicing, maintaining, and replacing your water heater.
The typical 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 think about replacing the water heater. If you are unsure how old your water heater is, the date the system was manufactured will be reflected in the serial number which you can find on the identification tag on the water heater tank.
Aging water heaters are nothing to ignore. A water heater that is 10 years or older is at more risk of springing a leak and causing water damage to your home. If your water heater is in your attic or above the first floor, the chance of catastrophic damage rises. Be sure you have your water heater maintenance annually to avoid any leaks from damaging your home.
The most usual breakdown of residential water heaters that will need replacement is a leaking tank.
It is highly recommended to have your plumber install the water heater in a drain pan with piping that lets the pan to drain to the outside of your home and minimize the possibility of water damage. Each water heater should have a working and reachable cut-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 system will breakdown in a shorter time span.
When a gas water heater is consistently emptied of hot water due to heavy hot water usage, the gas burner discharges more often which can produce heavy condensation on the outside of the tank. The condensation can result in more rapid decomposition of the steel tank. Also, the exceptional heat from the gas burner on the underside of the water heater tank can also cause damage to the glass lining on the inside of the tank, which decreases the lifespan of the water heater.
Water Heater sizing is a significant 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, presuming the location will accept the larger size. The larger tank will also provide you more hot water capacity.