Your hot water heater is probably the most underestimated system in your home. Really – without the water heater, you couldn’t have any of these luxuries:
- Hot showers
- Hot baths
- Clean dishes
- Disinfected towels and sheets
- Hot water, period.
Given the importance of the water heater, do you actually know enough about it? We’re here to give you a couple 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 commonly last about a decade before you need to think about replacing the system. If you are not sure what age 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.
Older water heaters are nothing to ignore. A water heater that is ten years or older is at more risk of getting a leak and causing water damage to your home. If your water heater sits in your attic or above the first floor, the potential for catastrophic damage rises. Make sure you have your water heater maintenance yearly to avoid any leaks from damaging your home.
The most common failure 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,” especially a gas water heater, the system will fail in a shorter period of time.
When a gas water heater is consistently emptied of hot water due to substantial hot water use, the gas burner discharges more often which can create heavy condensation on the tank exterior. The condensation can result in more rapid deterioration of the steel tank. Also, the exceptional heat from the gas burner on the base of the water heater tank can also take its toll on the glass lining on the interior of the tank, which lowers the life cycle of the water heater.
Water Heater sizing is an essential replacement consideration.
The water supply cause all water heaters to be under pressure, and as water is heated, it expands creating even more pressure. When considering replacement of a water heater, it’s usually better to go with a bigger 50 gallon tank, rather than a 30 or 40 gallon tank, presuming the location will accommodate the larger size. The bigger tank will also give you more hot water capacity.