The water heater is probably the most underappreciated appliance in your home. Think about it – without a water heater, you wouldn’t have any of the following:
- Steamy showers
- Hot baths
- Sanitized dishes
- Sanitized towels and sheets
- Hot water, period.
Given the importance of the water heater, do you truly know much about it? We’re here with some things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining, servicing, and replacing your water heater.
The typical lifespan of residential water heaters is about ten to twelve years.
Natural gas and electric water heaters will commonly last about a decade before you need to look into replacing the system. If you are unsure what age your water heater is, the date the equipment was manufactured will be reflected in the serial number which is located on the label on the water heater tank.
Maturing water heaters are nothing to take lightly. A water heater that is ten years or older is at higher risk of getting a leak and resulting in water damage to your home. If your water heater sits in your attic or above the bottom floor, the possibility of catastrophic damage rises. Be sure you have your water heater maintenance annually to keep any leaks from causing damage to your home.
The most typical failure of residential water heaters that will need replacement is a leaking tank.
It is a good idea to have your installer place the water heater in a drain pan with piping that lets the pan to drain to the outside of your home and decrease the potential of water damage. Every water heater should have a functional and accessible 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 disconnect should be located nearby.
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 regularly drained of hot water due to heavy hot water utilization, the gas burner fires more often which can produce heavy condensation on the outside of the tank. The condensation can result in more speedy breakdown of the steel tank. Also, the extreme heat from the gas burner on the base of the water heater tank can also take its toll on the glass lining on the inner section of the tank, which reduces the life expectancy of the water heater.
Water Heater sizing is a significant replacement factor.
All water heaters are under pressure from the water supply, and as water is heated, it extends creating even more pressure. When thinking about replacing a water heater, it’s generally better to go with a bigger 50 gallon tank, rather than a 30 or 40 gallon tank, as long as the location will fit the larger size. The 50 gallon tank will also provide you more hot water capacity.