What’s the Life Expectancy of a Water Heater?

Florida seems like its always hot out, but we cant live without our hot water. Second only to air conditioning, water heating is the second highest user of electricity in a Florida home.  Accounting for as much as 18% of utility bills. And while it may seem as though your water heater can withstand the test of time, it’s not made to last forever.

It’s not a matter of if, but when your water heater will eventually stop working and worse, LEAK! Make sure your Insurance has your back.

The Problem with Aging Water Heaters
Blankit HeaterWater heaters typically contain a sacrificial anode rod, which is a magnesium rod several feet long  that’s screwed to the top of the unit to prevent rusting. Over time, these rods get smaller and smaller, without this protection the tank will rust from the inside out. The outer shell you see on the outside is merely a cover for insulation around the true steal pressure tank on the inside. Even a ‘glass lined’ tank will begin to rust, an example of this is your bathtub, how many times have you seen rust around the ‘glass’ porcelain on a tub? Never trust the outer tank and never underestimate the age of the water heater by its outside appearance.

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, water heater failure is one of the top five sources of residential water damage, costing an average of $4,444 per incident after the deductible was paid. Remember that water damage can quickly lead to mold and health problems. No flood is ever easy to deal with.

As a result, most home insurance companies require a four-point inspection for older homes – and if the water heater is over 25 years old, they will request that it be replaced for the owner to obtain or renew coverage. The cost of a new heater is a fraction of the damage an old one can cause. A new heater will also have better insulation and can produce more heat.

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question. In addition to factors like water quality and general maintenance, water heater life expectancy depends a lot on the type of unit you have. Don’t risk it, change it. Most water heaters will leak before the elements stop heating.

Conventional Storage Water Heater
Conventional storage water heaters are the most popular type of water heating system for the home. They operate by releasing hot water from the top of the tank when you turn on the hot water tap. Meanwhile, cold water is replaced through the bottom of the tank, to eventually heat up. The true storage tank will be on the inside and needs to drained every six months to prevent sediment build up and reduced capacity.

Water Heater Life Expectancy: 10-15 years ESTIMATED- Usual Manufactures Warranty 6-10 Years

Tankless Water Heater
Tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank, and provide hot water on an as-needed basis. When you turn on the hot water tap, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit, where it is then heated and released. Tankless Units are a great option if your electrical panel can handle the increases electrical load of an tankless unit. Usually this requires at least a 60 amp dedicated breaker. Please consult a licensed electrician and plumber before installing a tankless unit.

Water Heater Life Expectancy: 15-20 years ESTIMATED Usual Manufactures Warranty 10 Years on Water Carrying Components, 1 Year Electrical.

Heat Pump Water Heater
Working like a refrigerator in reverse, a heat pump water heater uses electricity to transfer heat instead of generating heat directly, making it more energy efficient than a conventional water heater.

Water Heater Life Expectancy: 10-15 years ESTIMATED- Usual Manufactures Warranty 6-10 Years

Solar Water Heater
Solar water heaters use the sun’s heat to provide hot water in a home. They are a cost-effective way to generate hot water since the fuel they use – sunshine – is free.

Water Heater Life Expectancy: ~ 20 years ESTIMATED- Usual Manufactures Warranty 10 Years

Tankless Coil and Indirect Water Heater
Tankless coil and indirect water heaters use a home’s space heating system to heat water. A tankless coil water heater provides hot water on demand without a tank, while an indirect water heater requires a storage tank.

Water Heater Life Expectancy: 10-11 years

Is It Time to Replace Your Water Heater?
Here are six ways to detect if you need to replace your water heater:

The water is a rusty or non-clear color
The water isn’t getting hot enough, or isn’t getting hot at all
The water has a strange odor or metallic taste
You hear loud popping noises while the water heater is operating
There are leaks surrounding the water heater, which could indicate a serious problem
The water heater is more than 10 years old or nearing the end of its life expectancy
If you need to replace your water heater, we recommend hiring a professional to install it. This will ensure that the equipment is installed properly and to code.

Preventing Water Heater Failures
While there are steps you can take to improve the overall health of your water heater, like draining it twice a year and testing the pressure-relief valve, the best way to prevent a water heater failure and subsequent water damage is to replace it when it has neared its life expectancy or if it has continuous issues. Know where your water heater is. Your water heater may be in your garage, in a closet, under your ac unit in a closet, under your kitchen counter, or in a laundry room. Find where yours is today and check the manufacturing date. Remember, the outside tank will show no signs of the inner tanks true condition.

Blankit has created a homeowners guide to help answer all of your most pressing questions about your homes mechanical systems. Sleep safe and sound knowing your protected with Blankit!


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