The water heater is probably the most underappreciated system in your home. Really – without the water heater, you don’t have any of these luxuries:
- Warm showers
- Warm baths
- Disinfected dishes
- Disinfected towels and sheets
- Hot water, period.
Given the significance of the water heater, do you really know much about it? We’re here to give you some things to think about when it comes to maintaining, servicing, 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 look into replacing the system. If you aren’t sure how old your water heater is, the date the system was manufactured will be displayed in the serial number which is located on the identification tag on the water heater tank.
Maturing water heaters are nothing to mess around with. A water heater that is a decade or older is at more risk of producing 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. Make sure you have your water heater maintenance every year to avoid any leaks from creating damage in your home.
The most common breakdown of residential water heaters that will need 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 your home and lower the potential of water damage. All water heaters should have a functional 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 disconnect should be placed nearby.
If a water heater is “undersized,” in particular a gas water heater, the system will malfunction in a shorter time span.
When a gas water heater is regularly emptied of hot water due to significant hot water utilization, the gas burner is set off more frequently which can create heavy condensation on the exterior of the tank. The condensation can create more rapid deterioration of the steel tank. Also, the exceptional heat from the gas burner on the underside of the water heater tank can also deteriorate the glass lining on the inner section of the tank, which lowers the life cycle of the water heater.
Water Heater sizing is a crucial replacement consideration.
All water heaters are under pressure from the water supply, and as water is heated, it grows creating even more pressure. When thinking about 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 larger tank will also provide you more hot water capacity.