What is the Life Expectancy of a Hot Water Tank?

What is the Life Expectancy of a Hot Water Tank?

What is the life expectancy of a hot water tank? Is it 5, 10, or 15 years? Turns out it depends on where you live and how you treat your water heater and water. We’re going to help you answer this question so you can accurately plan for your water heater replacement!

The Basics of Hot Water Tanks

Water heaters come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and configurations. The types available include Conventional tank water heaters, tankless water heaters, heat pump water heaters, and solar water heaters. They may be powered by natural gas, propane, electricity, or by the sun.

How a Water Heater Works

A water heater works by heating water that is stored in a tank and releasing it when needed for showering, washing dishes, or doing a load of laundry. If you have an electric hot water tank, then it’s powered by electricity, which means that there’s a constant supply of energy being used to keep the water at a consistent temperature. When the hot water in the tank is depleted, the tank is refilled with cold water and the heating process begins.

Cold water is brought into the tank through a tube called a dip pipe and heated by electrical elements that boil it. The hot water then rises to be distributed throughout your home via another type of pipe called heat-out. 

How Long Do Hot Water Tanks Last?

The life expectancy of a hot water tank varies depending on its size, how often it is used, and how well it is maintained. A standard 40-gallon tank will last between 10 and 15 years while larger tanks (50 gallons) have a lifespan of up to 20 years.

If you live in an area with hard water, the life expectancy of your water heater may be much shorter than if you lived in an area with soft water. Hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can cause lime to build up on tank parts (this is called scale). The more scale that builds up over time, the slower your hot water tank will heat and the less efficient it will become.

If you have a gas water heater, it’s important to have it serviced every year or two by a professional plumber. This will ensure that your unit is in good working order and prevent any leaks from occurring. If you have an electric model, you should also check the temperature of your hot water periodically. These will be the areas where you’ll begin to see problems as your tank ages.

Proper Maintenance of Your Tank Will Extend Its Life

Proper maintenance is crucial in extending the life of your hot water tank. This includes cleaning the filter and drain hose regularly so that dirt doesn’t clog them up and prevent water from flowing through them properly. You also need to check for leaks periodically as well as any rusting on the bottom of the tank (which indicates corrosion). If any damage is found during an inspection, it should be repaired immediately.

When Should You Replace Your Old Unit?

As water heaters age, they can become less efficient. The manufacturers recommend replacing them every 10 years to reduce energy waste. Modern appliances tend to use less energy due to technological advancements.

For example, newer models are better insulated and transfer heat more efficiently. These improvements can save you hundreds of dollars each year on energy bills.

If your tank is less than 10 years old but is showing signs that it may need to be replaced, consulting a qualified plumber can help you determine whether it’s time to invest in a new unit.

While it’s impossible to tell exactly how long any given water heater will last because there are so many variables involved in this equation, most experts say that the average lifespan for these appliances is 12-25 years. The starting cost to replace an old model with a new one starts roughly around $1895 or more depending on the size and features of the unit.

What to Expect from a Tankless Water Heater

Gas and electric water heaters operate much the same way, but what about tankless water heaters?

Unlike a standard tank heater, which stores hot water until it’s needed, a tankless heater uses electricity or gas to heat water as it’s consumed. The most common type of tankless heater is an on-demand system that heats water as it flows through the unit (rather than storing it in a large storage tank).

This is more efficient than traditional storage tanks because you don’t have to waste energy heating all of your hot water at once, then waiting for someone to use it all before refilling the storage tank again. This option works well for small households of 6 people or less.

It is best to have it inspected by a professional every year or two. This way, if any problems develop, they can be caught and repaired before they become major issues. Having it serviced regularly can help it last as long as possible.

The average lifespan of a tankless water heater is 25 years. It may last longer if you use it less frequently or if you maintain it regularly. But if you use your tankless system heavily, you may need to replace it before that time.

Hot Water Tank FAQs

Should I replace my 15-year-old water heater, even though it still works?

A water heater that is 15 years old, or older, may not meet today’s energy-saving standards. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, you should consider replacing it with a newer Energy Star appliance. You may be spending more money than you need to on utility costs.

Can a water heater last 20 years?

Yes, a water heater can last 20 years or more. Many water heaters made today are designed to last for decades if properly installed and maintained. Some homeowners have found that their units will often function well beyond the average life expectancy limits.

What type of unit should I buy, gas or electric? 

Electric water heaters tend to work more efficiently than gas ones and require less maintenance. They’re also easier to install and maintain because they don’t require a vent pipe or chimney. However, if you live in an area where the electricity goes out frequently, it may be a better choice to go with a gas-powered unit rather than rely on backup batteries or generators.

Now that you know a little more about water heaters, and water heater replacement, you have all the information you need to make an informed choice when it comes to replacing your old one.

You can trust the certified technicians at Always Plumbing to help assess your old water heater and provide you with an estimate to replace it with a unit that will provide all the hot water needs for your home. Contact us today by calling 780-489-8118 or by submitting the contact form.

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