How Often Should a Water Heater Be Replaced?

water heater Abilene, TX

A water heater is an important part of everyday life. Likely without even realizing it, each person in a household can end up using the water heater up to 20 times a day. Doing the dishes, taking showers and even washing your hands all depend on warm water.

Nearly all water heaters have a lifespan of about eight to 10 years. However, depending on a variety of factors, it might need to be replaced much sooner. On the other hand, with the right location in your house and regular maintenance, some water heaters can last longer than their recommended expiration date.

Know how to decode the age of your water heater

On the upper portion of the water heater, there will be a sticker with the serial number on it. The date it was manufactured will begin with a letter. For example, if the combination of numbers and letters begins with a B, that stands for the second month in the year, February. The first two digits of the serial number represent the year it was made. So, if the serial number begins with B08, the water heater was manufactured in February 2008. These numbers can vary, so always be sure to check the manufacturer website to find the exact code.

Signs it may be time to get a new water heater

Over 10 years old

Although some water heaters can last up to 13 years, it is not recommended that you wait this long to get a new one. However, if it is placed in a safe location in the house where it will not cause damage due to a leak, waiting until this happens might work for you.

Keep in mind that newer models of water heaters will be much more efficient and save you money in the long run. So, although holding on to that old rusty water heater until it kicks the bucket might seem like it saves you money, it is actually doing the opposite.

Rusty water

The water from the water heater filters through the hot side piping in the house before it reaches the faucet. If you find that rusty water is flowing through only the hot pipes, this may be a sign that your water heater is rusting from the inside.

Old, rusted galvanized piping can mimic this sign, so make sure the water is only coming from the hot pipes, not every pipe. To find out if the problem is indeed originating from the water heater, drain about 15 gallons directly from the heater. If the rust persists past 10 gallons, the water heater is the culprit, not the pipes.

Water pooling around the heater

As a water heater ages, it goes through a constant cycle of heating and cooling. This expansion and contraction of the metal can begin to create small fractures in the water heater. These fractures close once the water heater cools down, but when it heats up again, the cracks expand and can leak. Moisture around the water heater may signify this issue.

Rumbling and noise upon use

Sediment begins to settle around the bottom of the water heater as it gets older. This sediment goes through the same heating and cooling as the water and hardens over time. This causes the water heater to make rumbling or groaning noises as it heats up.

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