How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

How long does a water heater last? These things are hardly affordable, so this is a valid question you should consider when looking for a new one.

It is important to understand that there are two main types of water heaters, each with a different lifespan. There are tankless water heaters and tank storage water heaters. Their lifespans differ because they work in different ways. Tank water heaters constantly heat water, while tankless water heaters only heat water when it is needed.

This guide examines the durability of two water heater models as well as the factors that can affect their longevity.

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?


All water heaters, tank or tankless, are designed to last more than ten years. But it all depends on how well you maintain the heater. Identifying and resolving typical issues early on will significantly increase the lifetime of your water heater.

Tank Water Heater Lifespan

Conventional tank water heaters have an estimated lifespan of 8-12 years. However, if used and handled properly, it will last for 15 years or more. An anode rod in the tank attracts corrosive agents in liquids, shielding the tank’s internal lining against corrosion.

After using the tank water heater for a long time (about ten years), the rod becomes eroded and no longer functions properly. The corrosive particles accumulate on the internal lining of the tank, including the bottom, and destroy it. At that point, the tank can begin to leak.

Tankless Water Heater Lifespan

Tankless water heaters use sophisticated systems that allow them to outlast tank water heaters. These heaters have a 20-year estimated lifetime. Some, on the other hand, will last for up to 30 years if properly maintained.

The power of this kind of heater to heat water on demand has given it the moniker “on-demand water heater.” Unlike tank water heaters, they do not have to work continuously to keep the water warm, extending their lifetime. Tankless water heaters will corrode over time, but the process is much slower.

Signs of Trouble

The last thing you want is for your water heater to break down when you need it the most (especially in the winter), so be aware of some warning signs:

1. Rusty water


If you see brownish or tinted water running from your water heater, it may be either of two things: your water heater is rusting on the inside, or your home’s plumbing is rusted.

2. Gurgling/rumbling

Sediment accumulates in the hot water tank over time. If it is heated repeatedly, the sand becomes stiff and begins to bounce about, creating rumbling or gurgling sounds. These noises aren’t healthy, and they can lead to overworked water heaters, leaks, internal damage, and other problems.

3. Cold water

A hot water heater’s purpose is to provide hot water, so if your heater is turned on but you’re still getting cold water, it’s time to call an expert.

4. Moisture/water

If you find water or moisture near your hot water heater, it may indicate a crack or leak. Depending on the location of the crack or leak, you might need to repair the water heater.

5. Age

When it comes to water heater warning signs, age is always a factor. If yours is more than ten years old, you should think about replacing it before it begins to leak or create other issues.

Water Heater Maintenance


Water heaters today are designed to require little or no maintenance, but these maintenance tips can help you extend the life of your water heater.

  • Drain the water heater twice a year to remove any debris that has accumulated and is causing corrosion. This improves the efficiency as well.
  • Lift the valve’s handle and let it snap down to test the pressure relief valve. This can cause a blast of water to be released into the overflow drainpipe. If it doesn’t, replace the valve.
  • Reduce the thermostat temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Overheating damage to the tank is reduced as a result of this.

When Replacement Is Necessary

If you choose to replace your water heater, you can use the same model. However, you should think about switching to a bigger tank or a tankless heater.

Find the following features when shopping for a water heater:

  • Gallon Capacity: 40-gallon and 50-gallon heaters are the most common.
  • Recovery Rate: The number of gallons of water the heater will heat in an hour.
  • Dimensions: A certain width and height may be required based on where you’ll install the unit in your home.
  • Energy Efficiency Ratings: A sticker on the side should list the estimated annual cost of operating the unit. High-efficiency models can reduce costs and save energy.

Check the nameplate on the side of the existing water heater when making repairs or buying a new one. You’ll find useful details such as tank size, insulation R-value, assembly instructions, working pressure, model, and serial number. If you have an electric water heater, the nameplate will also mention the heating elements’ wattage capacity and voltage.

Wrapping Up

Keeping a close watch on your water heater will help you determine when it is time to replace it. If your water heater starts to leak, rust, or make odd sounds, start saving for a replacement. You don’t have to wait until it completely breaks down. When shopping for a new water heater, look for one that is energy-efficient to help you save money on heating costs. You will save thousands of dollars by using Energy Star-certified water heaters.