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How Often Should a Water Heater be Replaced?

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Your water heater, quietly tucked away in a corner of your home, faithfully provides you with warm baths, clean dishes, and cozy showers. Yet, it’s easy to overlook this essential appliance until it starts showing signs of aging or, worse, fails when you least expect it. The question that lingers in the back of your mind is, “How often should a water heater be replaced?” Is it something you should be planning for, or can you trust in its reliability for many years to come?

My Buddy the Plumber, Electric, Heating & Air will explore the factors that influence the lifespan of your water heater, the telltale signs that it may be time for a replacement, and essential maintenance tips to extend its longevity. That way, you’ll have a clearer understanding of when to consider saying goodbye to your old faithful water heater and welcome a new one into your home. 

What Affects the Lifespan of Your Water Heater?

The lifespan of your water heater can be influenced by a variety of factors. Understanding these factors can help you gauge how long you can expect your water heater to last and when you might need to consider a replacement. Here are some of the key factors that can affect the lifespan of your water heater:

Water Heater Type

The type of water heater you have, whether it’s a tankless water heater, a traditional tank-style heater, or a heat pump water heater, can impact its lifespan. Tankless water heaters typically last longer, often exceeding 20 years, while traditional tank-style heaters generally last between 10 and 15 years.

Water Quality

The quality of the water in your area can have a significant impact. Water with a high mineral content, known as hard water, can lead to mineral buildup and sediment in the tank, reducing efficiency and potentially causing damage over time. Water softeners can help mitigate this issue.


Regular maintenance, such as flushing the tank to remove sediment and checking for leaks, can extend the life of your water heater. Neglecting maintenance can lead to premature failure.

Warning Signs Your Water Heater Needs to be Replaced

Recognizing the warning signs that your water heater needs to be replaced is essential to avoid the inconvenience of a sudden failure and potential damage to your home. Here are some common warning signs to watch for:

  • Age: Water heaters have a finite lifespan. If your tank-style water heater is more than 10-15 years old or your tankless water heater is over 20 years old, it’s a good idea to start planning for a replacement, even if it’s not showing other signs of trouble.
  • Rust or Corrosion: If you notice rust or corrosion on the outside of the tank or evidence of rust in the hot water, it’s a sign that the tank may be deteriorating and developing leaks.
  • Water Leaks: Any visible leaks around the water heater are a clear indication that the unit is failing and needs replacement. Water damage can be costly, so don’t ignore leaks.
  • Inadequate Hot Water: If your water heater can no longer provide an adequate amount of hot water for your household’s needs, even after adjusting the thermostat, it may be a sign that the heating element or tank is failing.
  • Strange Noises: Popping, banging, or rumbling noises coming from your water heater could indicate the buildup of sediment in the tank, reducing its efficiency and potentially damaging the heating element.
  • Discolored Water: If your hot water appears discolored or has a metallic taste, it may be due to rust or sediment inside the tank. This is a sign of deterioration and should not be ignored.
  • Fluctuating Water Temperature: If your hot water temperature fluctuates dramatically or becomes extremely hot or cold, it may be a sign of a malfunctioning thermostat or heating element.
  • Higher Energy Bills: As water heaters age and become less efficient, they may require more energy to heat water. If your energy bills have been steadily increasing without an obvious explanation, your water heater could be the culprit.

If you notice one or more of these warning signs, it’s wise to consult with a professional plumber or water heater technician to assess the situation. They can help determine if your water heater requires repairs or replacement and offer guidance on selecting the best replacement unit for your needs. Replacing your water heater before it fails completely can save you from unexpected disruptions and potential damage to your home.

Tips to Extend Your Water Heater’s Lifespan

Extending the lifespan of your water heater not only saves you money but also ensures a consistent supply of hot water in your home. Here are some tips to help you maximize the longevity of your water heater:

  • Regular Maintenance: Schedule annual maintenance with a professional plumber to inspect and service your water heater. They can flush the tank to remove sediment, check for leaks, and ensure all components are functioning correctly.
  • Adjust the Temperature: Set your water heater’s thermostat to a safe and energy-efficient temperature, typically around 120°F (49°C). Higher temperatures can cause accelerated wear and tear.
  • Use Anode Rods: Anode rods are sacrificial components that help prevent corrosion inside the tank. Regularly inspect and replace them as needed to protect the tank from rust and deterioration. Address Leaks Promptly: If you notice any leaks, whether from the tank or around valves and fittings, address them immediately to prevent further damage and water damage to your home.
  • Reduce Sediment Buildup: Regularly drain a few gallons of water from the tank to flush out sediment. This can help maintain the heater’s efficiency and reduce the risk of overheating.

By following these tips, you can help extend the lifespan of your water heater and ensure it continues to provide reliable hot water for your household. Remember that regular maintenance and proactive measures can save you money in the long run and prevent unexpected water heater failures.

Water Heater Services in the Greater Salt Lake City Area

In the Greater Salt Lake City area, My Buddy the Plumber, Electric, Heating & Air is your trusted partner for all your water heater needs. With our expertise and commitment to excellence, we’re here to ensure your water heater runs efficiently and reliably, providing you with the hot water you need. Contact us today for top-notch water heater services and experience the peace of mind that comes with a dependable home comfort partner. 

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Easy Maintenance & Exclusive Benefits

The My Buddy the Plumber’s Club is our comprehensive maintenance membership program that will protect your home comfort systems! From an in-depth home plumbing inspection to thorough furnace and air conditioning tune-ups, the club does it all. Our team will ensure your HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems are running safely and in top shape. Joining our club can also provide plenty of exclusive perks, such as:

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