The water heater is probably the most underappreciated appliance in your home. Think about it – without your water heater, you don’t have any of the following:
- Hot showers
- Warm baths
- Disinfected dishes
- Clean towels and sheets
- Hot water, period.
Given the significance of the water heater, do you really know a good amount about it? We’re here to give you a few 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 water heater. 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 ID sticker on the water heater tank.
Older water heaters are nothing to mess around with. A water heater that is 10 years or older is at greater risk of springing a leak and causing water damage to your home. If your water heater is in your attic or above the first floor, the potential for catastrophic damage rises. Always have your water heater maintenance yearly to keep any leaks from damaging your home.
The most common breakdown of residential water heaters that will require replacement is a leaking tank.
It is best to have your plumber install the water heater in a drain pan with piping that enables the pan to drain outside of your home and lower the possibility of water damage. All water heaters should have a functional and reachable 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 switch off should be located nearby.
If a water heater is “undersized,” in particular a gas water heater, the system will breakdown in a shorter period of time.
When a gas water heater is routinely emptied of hot water due to heavy hot water use, the gas burner fires more often which can create heavy condensation on the tank exterior. The condensation can create more expeditious deterioration of the steel tank. Furthermore, the extreme heat from the gas burner on the bottom of the water heater tank can also cause damage to the glass lining on the interior of the tank, which decreases the lifespan of the water heater.
Water Heater sizing is a crucial replacement consideration.
The water supply creates pressure for all water heaters, and as water is heated, it expands creating even more pressure. When thinking about replacing a water heater, it’s generally better to go with a sizable 50 gallon tank, rather than a 30 or 40 gallon tank, providing the location will accommodate the larger size. The bigger tank will also provide you more hot water capacity.