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The Home Depot

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > How Long Do Water Heaters Last?
How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Most people rely on water heaters to obtain hot water for bathing, showers, as well as doing their dishes and laundry. However, we rarely think about the way in which this utilitarian equipment functions until it either stops heating water or floods the home. While gas water heaters last for 10 years and electric ones last up to 15 years, it is best to examine them periodically and carry out regular maintenance to prolong their life and reduce any damage. By scheduling annual draining and flushing of the tank and other inspections, you can extend the life of the water heater and save yourself money and unexpectedly cold showers.

  1. 1. How to Make Your Water Heater Last

    Water heaters have a few main components –the thermostat and the water tank. All water heaters will also have an inlet pipe for cold water, and outlet pipe for hot water. Besides, a gas water heater will have a pilot light and a temperature and pressure valve. An electrical water heater will have a heating element while a gas water heater will have a burner. To ensure that your water heater lasts longer you need to protect all of these parts.


    If the tank of the water heater is corroded, it needs to be replaced to prevent leaks and water floods. To extend the life of the tank you should drain the tank once a year and flush it out to remove all the sediments. This should be done after switching off the electric supply or the gas. The inlet valve has to be closed and the outlet valve opened to drain out the water. Removing the sediments will also extend the life of the heating element. If you are using an electric water heater you should consider covering it with insulating material. This will lower the electric bill and extend the life of the thermostat as the water temperature will not fluctuate.


    The temperature and pressure valve as well as the pilot light of a gas water heater have to be inspected every quarter and changed if damaged.

  2. 2. Contributing Factors

    The life of your water heater depends on the quality of the original product, the maintenance schedule, and the quality of water in the pipes. While you cannot do much about the water quality, you can purchase a better quality product and save yourself the hassle and expense of frequent replacements. Additionally, you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for annual draining and flushing of the water heater tank. This is especially important if you are planning to close your home during the winter. If so, you should disconnect electricity supply to the water heater and close the inlet valve before draining it. Remember to fill the tank before switching it on once you are back from your vacation.

Most people become aware of the utility of their water heater only when it fails. Having to endure cold showers as we are getting ready for the day or trying to wash dishes and do the laundry using cold water can be unpleasant and unsatisfactory. Additionally, a damaged water heater can provide discolored water or even flood the house causing extensive damage to floors and furniture. Sometimes, the gas can leak from a gas water heater, exposing the residents to danger. All of these can be prevented by regular maintenance of the water heater.

The water heater should also be inspected every quarter for signs of wear and tear. However, a corroded water tank is a sign that the water heater needs to be replaced. As water heater installation requires one to deal with gas or electricity as well as water, it is better to retain the services of a skilled plumber for this work. This is because improper installation can damage the water heater or cause injuries to the residents.

The importance of a water heater is felt only when it malfunctions. This piece of equipment can last longer if you schedule regular maintenance time for it. Additionally, this maintenance and inspection will also lower the energy bills as the water heater will function more efficiently.

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