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Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

How Long Water Heaters Are Really Meant to Last


You might not realize it, but your water heater may be getting close to the end of its service life, or already past the point where it should’ve been replaced. Understanding how long water heaters are supposed to last is important if you want to get the most out of your investment in yours. 

We’re your local experts when it comes to water heaters in Clarksburg, and we’re going to look into how long water heaters are supposed to last. This will help you understand when it’s time to replace your current unit.

Early Water Heaters

Early water heaters were simple devices, often constructed with materials like cast iron that contributed to their longevity. It wasn’t uncommon for these heaters to last for several decades. Advancements in technology and changes in manufacturing materials have lowered water heater lifespans. 

This may sound like a disadvantage and the opposite way technological progress is supposed to work. But those older water heaters were extremely inefficient and wasted large amounts of power. They could also be hazardous. Even with shorter lifespans, newer water heaters are better investments.

Now let’s look at the lifespans of the two most common types of water heaters.

Gas Water Heaters

Gas water heaters are a popular choice for many households because of their efficiency and quick heating capabilities. The average lifespan of a gas water heater depends on various factors. Regular maintenance, water quality, and environmental considerations all play a role in determining how long these appliances will last. When a gas water heater receives regular maintenance with regular tank flushes and prompt repairs, it will have a service life of about 12 years.

Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters, while working similarly to their gas counterparts, have longer lifespans on average. This is because using electricity puts less strain on components than the combustion of gas. Electric water heaters will last for around 15 years with proper care and maintenance.

Signs of Aging and Wear

Because your water heater may fail before its estimated service life, keep a close watch for these signs you’ve got a water heater that’s too worn down:

  • Rust-colored water
  • Unusual noises
  • Decrease in water temperature
  • Decline in hot water volume
  • High energy bills
  • Leaks

On their own, these symptoms may indicate a need for a repair. But multiple ones occurring at once in an older water heater usually mean a replacement is best.

Time to Replace

Maintenance and proactive repairs will help immensely with getting your water heater to its full service life. But eventually, replacing your water heater will be the most cost-effective and sensible option. If your water heater is at its estimated service life or is showing multiple signs of aging, it’s a good time to contact our team for an assessment. We’ll look over your water heater and give you several options for how to proceed. We’ll explain the pros and cons of all options so you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

Call or click to talk to a team member at Tucker’s Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing today. Your Whole House Approach to Comfort.

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