Your hot water heater is probably the most underappreciated machine in your home. Really – without your water heater, you couldn’t have any of these luxuries:
- Steamy showers
- Toasty baths
- Sanitized dishes
- Disinfected 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 a few things to remember when it comes to servicing, maintaining, and replacing your water heater.
The typical 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 water heater. If you are not sure how old your water heater is, the date the equipment was manufactured will be displayed in the serial number which you can find on the identification tag on the water heater tank.
Maturing water heaters are nothing to take lightly. A water heater that is a decade or older is at higher risk of springing a leak and leading to water damage to your home. If your water heater sits in your attic or above the ground floor, the potential for catastrophic damage increases. 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 highly recommended to have your plumbing expert install the water heater in a drain pan with piping that enables the pan to drain outside your home and lower the potential of water damage. Each water heater should have a functional and obtainable 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 cut off should be located close by.
If a water heater is “undersized,” particularly a gas water heater, the system will fail in a shorter time span.
When a gas water heater is consistently drained of hot water due to significant hot water usage, the gas burner is set off repeatedly which can result in heavy condensation on the outside of the tank. The condensation can produce more rapid deterioration of the steel tank. Also, the exceptional heat from the gas burner on the bottom of the water heater tank can also deteriorate the glass lining on the inside of the tank, which lowers the lifespan of the water heater.
Water Heater sizing is an important replacement consideration.
The water supply creates pressure for all water heaters, and as water is heated, it expands creating even more pressure. When contemplating replacing a water heater, it’s generally better to go with a sizable 50 gallon tank, rather than a 30 or 40 gallon tank, as long as the location will accept the larger size. The 50 gallon tank will also give you more hot water capacity.