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How Long Should Your Water Heater Last?

Written on: May 18, 2018

Discovering your water heater is leaking is like having a bucket of cold water dumped on your head…sometimes literally. You know your water heater isn’t going to last forever but is it already time to think about replacing it? How long should your water heater last?

Baseline Expectations

Tank-type water heaters should last between five to 12 years. Tankless systems last longer – up to 20 years. There are two main factors affecting the length of your water heater lifespan: water quality and the maintenance on the appliance. By assessing and improving the quality of your home’s water supply and initiating regular maintenance early in the water heater’s life, you can make it last as long as possible.

The Water’s pH Level Matters

One of the top factors that influences water heater lifespan is your water supply’s pH levels. As a rule of thumb, the higher the water’s pH, the higher the mineral content. Water with a high mineral content is termed “hard water,” and it will make appliances fail sooner.

If you’d like to find out if you have hard water, Williams Energy provides water testing kits to reveal the specific mineral content levels at your home. You don’t have to live with hard water – you can proactively work to extend the life of your water heater (and dishwasher and washing machine) by installing a water softener.

Maintenance Helps Your Appliance Last

You may wonder: is there anything you can do to keep your water heater lasting the full length of its expected lifespan, or longer? Good news: the answer is yes.

One of the top preventative maintenance measures is regular water heater draining. You don’t have to drain the whole tank. Just letting out a few gallons will remove the sediment that gathers at the bottom. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and it can prevent sediment from eating at the tank lining and causing leaks. You can do it yourself or depend on Williams Energy to take care of it for you.

While you’re at it, check the temperature setting. Running the appliance too hot can make it degrade faster than you’d expect.

Another way to make your water heater last is to replace the anode rod, the component responsible for picking up all the corrosive elements in the water supply. This is a higher expense, and it has to be completed earlier in the tank’s life. If this service is performed after the tank has aged considerably, it might not be worth it – it could cause an irreparable leak.

Schedule Service

Williams Energy wants to help you keep your water heater online as long as possible. You deserve to get the most value out of your home systems. Whether you need maintenance, repair, or replacement, schedule service with our responsive plumbing team today.