Hot water is one of modern life’s most important inventions. You probably turn on the hot tap a dozen times a day, but how often do you really think about where it’s coming from? Most of us hardly notice our hot water systems until something goes wrong. Luckily, water heaters are simple appliances, and they can last for decades without developing serious issues. In this article we’ll answer the question “How many years does a water heater last?” and look at some of the ways you can prolong the life of your system.
How Many Years Does a Hot Water Heater Last?
Most hot water systems last between 7 to 15 years. The lifespan of a hot water system depends on the type of heater, how it’s used, the quality of water in your area and whether the system receives maintenance. The various types of hot water heaters have different lifespans:
- Electric hot water heaters last 10 to 15 years
- Gas hot water heaters last 8 to 12 years
- Tankless gas water heaters last 10 to 20 years
- Solar hot water heaters last 20 to 30 years
- Heat pump hot water heaters last 15+ years
The lifespan of a hot water system largely depends on the heating technology that’s used. Electric hot water heaters are reliable because they’re incredibly simple. On the other hand, gas water heaters are subject to other stresses and often have shorter lifespans. When choosing a hot water system make sure you take its life expectancy into account. Saving a little bit of money on a cheaper system may end up costing you more if it has to be replaced sooner!
Signs Your Hot Water System Is Failing
Hot water systems are long-lived appliances, but they do fail eventually. In most cases, a hot water heater will gradually develop problems that can be fixed with minor repairs. We’d strongly recommend booking a maintenance appointment for your water heater once per year. With a few quick checks, an experienced plumber can extend the life of your water heater by years, saving you from the expense of replacing the entire unit. In between services you should keep an eye out for the symptoms of a failing hot water system:
- The water comes out at inconsistent temperatures
- The hot water tap only produces cold water
- Strange smells or loud noises coming from the hot water system
- Murky, brown or rust-coloured hot water
- Water leaks occurring around the tank or pipes
- Signs of corrosion or rust on the system
- In the case of gas hot water heaters, yellow pilot lights
How to Extend the Life of Your Hot Water System
You can expect to get 10+ years of life from most hot water systems, as long as they’re serviced regularly. Like any other appliance, neglecting your water heater can lead to problems, and you might find yourself replacing it prematurely. You can extend the life of a hot water system with these three simple steps:
- Test the TPR valve. The Temperature and Pressure Relief (TPR) valve is designed to prevent buildups of pressure in the tank. TPR valves become blocked by sediment and mineral deposits. Check the TPR valve regularly by turning the system off and then opening and closing the valve a few times. A little bit of water should run out – just be mindful that it could be hot. If no water comes out then it’s time to book a service.
- Check the anode rod. Most hot water systems use metallic heating elements to warm the water. Sacrificial anode rods are used to protect these metal parts from corrosion. Anode rods need to be checked and replaced on a regular basis to prevent the system from being ruined by rust.
- Flush the tank. Water contains small particles of dirt and minerals. These build up over time, creating a layer of sediment that forces your water heater to work harder. It’s a good idea to have your hot water tank flushed and inspected once per year by an experienced plumber.
Book Your Hot Water Maintenance Appointment with S&J Plumbing!
Hot water systems are a serious investment. While you can expect to get 10+ years of life from most systems, it’s not the kind of appliance you want to replace regularly. The best way to extend the life of your water heater is to invest in maintenance with S&J Plumbing! The S&J team are experienced plumbers working all over Brisbane. Our team comes fully equipped to handle all sorts of hot water issues, and we always aim to fix problems on the spot. We have decades of experience and have seen it all. We know just what to do to keep your hot water and plumbing systems in top condition! Get in touch with us online if you’d like to make an appointment, or phone us on 1300 600 508 if you need our emergency plumbing services.