Your water heater is probably the most underestimated system in your home. Think about it – without your water heater, you don’t have any of the following:
- Warm showers
- Toasty baths
- Sanitized dishes
- Sanitized towels and sheets
- Hot water, period.
Given the importance of the water heater, do you actually know a good amount about it? We’re here with a few things to think about when it comes to servicing, maintaining, and replacing your water heater.
The usual lifespan of residential water heaters is 10-12 years.
Natural gas and electric water heaters will commonly last about a decade before you need to think about replacing the appliance. If you are not sure how old your water heater is, the date the equipment was manufactured will be shown in the serial number which you can find on the identification tag on the water heater tank.
Maturing water heaters are nothing to take lightly. A water heater that is ten years or older is at higher risk of getting a leak and resulting in water damage to your home. If your water heater sits in your attic or above the ground floor, the possibility of catastrophic damage increases. Make sure you have your water heater maintenance yearly to avoid any leaks from causing damage to your home.
The most typical failure of residential water heaters that will require replacement is a leaking tank.
It is best to have your installer place the water heater in a drain pan with piping that enables the pan to drain outside of your home and decrease the potential of water damage. Each water heater should have a functional and accessible turn-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 close by.
If a water heater is “undersized,” in particular a gas water heater, the tank will breakdown in a shorter amount of time.
When a gas water heater is regularly drained of hot water due to significant hot water utilization, the gas burner fires more frequently which can produce heavy condensation on the outside of the tank. The condensation can create more rapid breakdown of the steel tank. Additionally, the extreme heat from the gas burner on the underside of the water heater tank can also deteriorate the glass lining on the inner section of the tank, which decreases the lifespan of the water heater.
Water Heater sizing is an essential replacement consideration.
All water heaters are under pressure from the water supply, and as water is heated, it expands creating even more pressure. When considering replacement of a water heater, it’s typically better to go with a larger 50 gallon tank, rather than a 30 or 40 gallon tank, presuming the location will accommodate the larger size. The larger tank will also give you more hot water capacity.