There is no hard and fast rule when to expect your water heater to go out because there are too many variables to consider. Most of the time you can expect your water heater to go out well before its warranty expiration date, however, it all depends on how much you use your water heater.
For every gallon of water that is drawn from a storage tank, it loses a gallon’s worth of heat. If you use your water heater less frequently, then your tank can hold more energy before having to release it into your water again. On the flip side, if you’re using hot water throughout the day and night then you might see an early demise for your older model that isn’t as efficient with energy.
When it comes down to it, you just have to watch the signs and keep a close eye on your water heater for any rot or rust spots that could signify that it’s leaking and trying to tell you something: It’s time for a water heater replacement!
Some of the signs that your water heater is on its way out are:
An eerie hissing noise that happens when you turn on your faucet or showerhead: It’s an early warning sign that something is wrong with the venting system for your heater. Don’t take any chances by ignoring this sound! Have a professional come out as soon as possible to take a look.
Rust or rot: This isn’t the most common sign, but it’s worth mentioning. Rust and rot can mean that your tank is rusting from the inside out and that eventually, much like a car muffler left out in the elements for years on end that rust will break loose and leave you with an even bigger mess.
A tank that’s been in the house for more than 10 years: The average lifespan of a non-tankless hot water heater is around 10 years, so if your water heater has reached this point then it might be time to get replacement quotes. You can try renegotiating with your energy company or wait until winter to get a better deal on a new heater once the old one is completely out.
An energy bill that’s starting to creep up on you: If you have an older model of water heater, then it might be time to get replacement quotes. Remember the days when your energy bill used to stay steady at a certain point? If your bills are starting to climb back up after being relatively consistent for years, then it’s time to start getting replacement quotes.
A tank that seems to be losing its energy efficiency: Is your water heater starting to lose its ability to hold a consistent temperature when you turn the faucet on? Can you hear the sound of rushing water in addition to feeling it? These sounds are warnings that your tank isn’t able to keep up with how much hot water you’re using.
Frequent issues with the pilot light: Oftentimes, water heater pilots go out because you haven’t been checking them regularly enough. Frequent relighting of a pilot light can lead to an early death for your heater, so turn that handle once every month and check the pilot before it’s too late.
If you’re noticing any of these signs in your home, then it’s time to start looking at replacement quotes. Even if you’ve had to relight the pilot light a few times, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Which is recommended: water heater repair or replacement?
Water heater repair is recommended if the problem is fixable and cost-efficient. If you can’t seem to pinpoint where the issue is or what needs to be replaced, it’s best to get replacement quotes from a professional before wasting more energy trying to figure it out on your own.
Water heater replacement is recommended if your tank has met its lifespan and replacing it will be more cost-efficient than repairing it.
The average life of a non-tankless hot water heater is 10 years. If your tank is older than that, then it might be time to start getting replacement quotes.