How Long Do Water Heaters Last

how long do water heaters last

How long do water heaters last? It is the most related question one might ask If they are in a state of shopping for a new water heater. Additionally, one may reach a point where the old water heater has stopped working and need replacement with a new one.

It has been observed; the most traditional water heater can last from 8 to 12 years. However, you can have additional extra years to keep all the precautionary measures in mind while performing routine maintenance and primary care.

The Average Lifespan of Different Types of Water Heaters

The Average Lifespan of Different Types of Water HeatersThe type of water heater plays a vital role in sustaining the water heater’s lifespan. There are different types of water heater that can hold various types of lifespan expectancy. Generally, the conventional water heaters have tanked, and they’re expected lifespan can last till ten years. Hence, water heaters are available in gas and electric. The gas heaters can be seen as environmentally friendly, but their components can break or wear out quickly. On the contrary, the electric water heaters will last for longer years than gas water heaters.

The other types of water heaters are tankless. These types of water heater can provide you on-demand hot water. Instead of storing the water into a tank container, these tankless water heaters offer ready to go hot water when needed. The lifespan of such water heaters is around 20 years. Generally, they are not running 24/7 to keep the water warm.



Typically, there is a predefined lifespan mentioned by the manufacturers. Hence, the average lifespan of different types of water heaters are as follows:

Type of Water Heater *Average Life Span of Water Heater
Tank Gas 8 to 12
Tankless Gas 20 years
Tank Electric 10 to 15
Tankless Electric 20 years

*However, few factors will interfere with the water heater lifespan. Hence, you should be careful while using them.

Unlike traditional steel tank heaters, the models that have been equipped with fiberglass tanks are popular with high lifespan expectancy. Similarly, higher-end water heaters also come up with a lifetime grantee. This warranty includes a big deal to be considered. Hence, the damaged tank can be replaced instead of repair.

Although everyone wants to define a tempting desire to pick a low priced model, mostly investing in low priced-model tanks, offer short warranties that can last till four to six years lifespan. Hence, instead of pushing towards low-priced tanks, it will be an excellent option to pay some extra cash on high- priced model tanks that at least have an eight to twelve-year lifespan warranty.

In addition to the extended-lasting warranty, the high-priced tanks mostly have good quality anode rods. Indeed, anode rods are an essential component, as it keeps your water heater in an excellent working condition. Although you can also have the upgrading option for anode rods within low-priced units to avail of this feature, you have to pay additional charges of the rod and the installation of the anode.

Factors Affecting The Lifespan of Water Heater Lifespans

These are the factors that affect the overall life expectancy of your water heater. Hence, these factors will determine the number of years you could expect from the water heater.

1. The type of water heater (electric or gas)

Regardless of electricity, natural gas is quite economical and environment friendly. Typically, the gas heaters have a longer lifespan over the electric water heaters. Additionally, they mostly cost low, which operated.

2. Traditional water heater tank over tankless water heater

Both traditional water heater tanks and the hybrid water heaters start showing their aging signs after the use of 10 years. Hence, if your tank model breaks down at this time, replacing it will be a good option. Rather than a repair, a replacement will be more cost-effective. But, over traditional water heaters, how long do tankless water heaters can last? Typically the lifespan of these heaters is 20 years as they don’t hold the water supply always, so they can efficiently operate for a longer time.

3. Quality of Water

The water that contains more dissolvable minerals such as hard water can lead to lower down the lifespan expectancy. On the other hand, a whole-hose water softener will generally enhance the lifespan of your water heater.

4. The place of water heater installation

The place of installing a water heater is essential to improve lifespan. Hence, if the water heater placed in rough areas such as crawlspace or garage, it will be challenging to maintain the hot temperature. And during winter it will be tough for water to get warm. Moreover, the water heaters placed at these locations will face more chances to worn out faster. On the contrary, you can enjoy hot water if you install them in temperature-controlled areas.

5. Maintenance of your water heater

As per manufacturer recommendation, the maintenance of your water heater must be done annually? Most people can get facilitate by service until they have a valid warranty. However, you can prolong this maintenance service for many several years.

Why Did The Water Heater Stops Working?

Repairing water heaterThere are numerous reasons for which a water heater at your home stop working. Over-pressurization is one of the most common reasons behind such failure. Over-pressurization is created due to the load and high pressure on the inlet or excessive heating.

One can avoid this failure issue by putting the heat of the tank at 140 degrees or lower. Installing an adjustable valve can also decrease the flow of the water heater.

The other most common issue of causing water heater failure is sediment buildup. The chemicals and contaminants within the water lead to corrosion or rust, which can cause leakage. So, if you care about your water heater correctly, either high priced or lower-priced water heater will last longer. Moreover, while going for new water heater shopping, make sure you select a model with good quality anode rods as these rods work amazingly by attracting the contamination in water and save your water heater from corrosion damage.

Repair vs. Replace

When should you replace the water heater?

It will be difficult for you to identify the issue that is going on within the water heater. One of the early signs of hot water issues is the lack of hot water. Hence, when you take a look at water heaters, you might notice dripping, leakage, or there can be a noticeable large puddle. Although, you have to think to fix the water heater or replace it?

There will be a common misconception about the water heaters that have been stopped functioning needs to be replaced. However, the truth behind this myth is the only time, replacement of the water heater is necessary when the tank is leaked.

The most common problems in water heater occurred due to the replacement of its components. Typically, replacing a water heater is more expensive than fixing it. Hence, if your family is extending with the need for a water heater, it is better to switch to tankless water heaters. Setting up the tankless heater or picking the tank water heater with a larger capacity.

Hence, it’s better to remove the water heater, when it touches the average time of 10 years, your base tank got a leak, and/or working erratically. So, before you initiate the replacement process, make sure that you don’t have an electrical problem that includes a tripped breaker or a blown a fuse. These issues can also be the reason for the failure of your unit.

Additionally, regardless of the water heater that runs well, the experts recommended purchasing the new water heater after ten years. The unexpected leakage will cause the waterflood that will lead to significant damage.

When should you repair the water heater?

When should you repair the water heater?Typically the regular maintenance can help in extending the lifespan of the water heater. However, there are still some situations where you need to repair the water heaters, such as replacing heating elements or pressure-relief valves. Moreover, when the water tank is leaked or has been used for more than 8-12 years, it’s better to upgrade and improve your energy consumption.

Based on the manufacturers’ recommendations regarding the service life, the average expectancy of the water heaters is around 8 to 12 years. Although, this lifespan can vary based on the maintenance schedule, location, installation quality, and design of the water heater unit.

Following the suggested tips can help you troubleshoot different types of heaters (electric or gas water heaters). Also, these tips will help you in keeping your water heaters for a longer time.

Types of water heaters:

Electric water heater:

Electric water heaterTypically, the average life expectancy of an electric heater is 10-15 years, a few years longer than gas water heaters. Both electric and water heaters work in the same way with a slight difference. Here in the electric water heaters, the water is heated by an electrical system. The lower and upper heating elements have heated that can extend into a water tank.

The electric heater’s lifespan can also improve by adequately maintaining and repairing the broken elements—the tendency to replace the electric water heater due to too much sediment. The sediment started to buildup at the bottom of the water tank. It is possible to drain the tank due to sediment early. However, this process is very less active.

How to use Electric Water Heaters?

  • Make sure that power is connected correctly. Reset the thermostat
  • To remove the sediment from the tank properly lushes the heater.
  • Properly insulate the pipes of hot water.
  • Replace the thermostat and heating elements over the time
  • On the thermostat, set-up the settings to raise the temperature.

Gas water heater

Gas water heaterAs per the pros mentioned in electric water heaters that mostly last long more than a year or two than gas water heaters, this statement is not true all the time. Typically, gas water heaters are more economical and environmentally friendly as compared to electric units. However, gas-powered water heaters have more tendency to fail and wear out due to their components.

The gas water heaters are budget-friendly and can easily replace the old model with the new model.

How to use Gas Water Heaters?

  • Make sure the gas is connected correctly, and the light of the pilot is lit.
  • To remove the sediment from the tank properly lushes the heater.
  • Properly insulate the pipes of hot water.
  • To replace the thermocouple, properly clean the gas burner. The thermocouple is a safety device that automatically shuts down the gas if the pilot flame goes out.
  • On the thermostat, set-up the settings to raise the temperature.

Troubleshooting some common water heater problems with possible solutions:

Not having proper hot water:

The most common problem that most people face while using a water heater includes a low amount of hot water. Or water is not heated as per the desired requirements. This water issue can occur due to a faulty thermostat or a defecting heating element inside the water heater. So carefully check the water heater.

Sizzling and hissing noises:

These noises can occur if the sediment has collected in the tank. So, properly drain the tank unit. All water clears. Soak and remove elements in the white vinegar pan for up to one hour. And scrape off the collected scale.

Leakage of the pressure-relief valve:

The best option to handle the leakage of the pressure-relief valve is to replace it.

Leakage of water supply pipes:

Tighten up the fittings of your water heater’s water supply pipes. If you still face the leakage issue, then shut down the water connection and replace the fittings.

Maintenance of Water Heater:

Nowadays, the latest water heaters are designed in such a way that they do require zero to low maintenance. However, we have highlighted a few maintenance tips that can be useful to prolong the water heater life. These tips include:

  • You can get rid of sediment that can cause corrosion by properly drain the water heater twice a year. Also, removing and thoroughly cleaning will increase the water heater efficiency.
  • Make sure to test the pressure-relief valve through lifting the handle of the faucet and snapping it back. If doing this will release the water burst into the overflow drainpipe, then your pressure-relief valve is working fine. Else it’s time to install the new pipe.
  • Keep the temperature setting on the thermostat low to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing this can reduces water tank damage due to overheating.

Selecting a New water heater unit:

Upgrading to the latest water heaters can provide a high level of energy efficiency. This energy efficiency will always work as a great deal of money. The modern heaters are quite efficient and can save up to 20% than the old models. In addition to energy efficiency, they provide fantastic heating quality and heat the water fast. The use of fiberglass insulation has become part of all the new modern water heaters. Hence, turning these versions of water heaters more useful and reliable.

The Energy star water heaters have cost you some extra dollars than the regular units. However, the initial cost of these water heaters can be absorbed quickly in high performance and low energy usage. So, initiate your research by looking at the affordable water heaters within your budget and comparing them with similar models.

We will suggest you look for units with high-quality anode rod, which contains the larger diameter hex anode. Or the one that has a half-length outlet rod in hot port.

Signs when you have to switch for shopping new models:

These are the few indicating signs that will provide you signals of buying the new model.

The water heater age:

Suppose your water heater has completed the ten year age, then it’s the right time to start looking for the other options. Doing early research can save you time before you stuck into a serious problem. Replacing the model at the right time is always a good choice.

Quality of water:

When do you turn on the faucet to use it, do your water contains tint in it? If your answer is yes, then this indicates that your water is contaminated with some rust. Also, this tint in water can lead you towards a load of rusting material in your water heater. Typically, these are one of the initial signs of water leakage.

Gurgling sound:

The gurgling sound from the water heater indicates the level of sediment buildup inside the water tank. And the start of sediment to heat up that can be explored inside the tank.


It’s essential to analyze the water heater for building-up dampness or moisture regularly. If not correctly check, your heater will face huge signs of intermittent leakage.

Hot water shortage:

Surprisingly the cold shower is also the indicating sign that highlights the replacement of the old water heater with the new one. The water heater reaches its end if there is a lack of hot water.

Water Puddles: 

If you find any water puddle around your water heater, then you have to replace your water heater tank with the new one on as soon as a possible state.

Factors while replacing the water heater:

If you are on a mission to replace the water heater with the new model, you either have the option to return with the same water heater or upgrade it with the available possibilities. For instance, you can pick it to decrease or increase the water heater’s holding capacity based upon accommodation or your family requirement. Also, you can go for a tankless water heater option.

Whatever the reason and option you choose, make sure you consider these following factors:

  • The capacity of gallons is critically essential. Typically, you will have 40 and 50-gallon water heaters as commonly available in the market.
  • The water heater in an hour will heat recovery rate or the amount of gallon.
  • Make sure you know the dimension of your new water heaters, such as width, height, and physical space. Keep the physical space where you will install your water heater in mind. Make sure you already have enough space for your heater to fit in, or you have to upgrade the capacity.
  • Checking the Energy efficiency ratings will help you in estimating the operating cost of each model.
  • Look for the water heater that has a warranty.

The moment you are replacing or repairing the water heater, carefully track the nameplate inserted at the side of your current model. This nameplate is the quick summary of your model that holds all the related yet essential information about your water heater. The information will include the tank capacity, installation guidelines, model number, insulation R-value, working pressure, and serial number. Moreover, if you have an electric water heater, then your nameplate will also include voltage and wattage capacity of the heating elements.

This reliable information can serve you as an initial point where you will understand your basic requirements and search for the new water heater or replacement parts.

Moreover, you also know the answers to these questions before purchasing to tackle the installation of water heaters.

  • How to dispose of the old water heater? Try to get information about local code that governs the disposal of these appliances.
  • Will you physically handle the water heater? You cannot deny the fact that water heaters are massive in size and are heavy. Hence, you must need a helper or an assistant.
  • Do you have all the necessary tools that can perform an installation job? The installation of a water heater requires an adjustable wrench, screwdrivers, and piles. If you are onto installing the copper pipe, you might need a propane torch.
  • Can you perform the installation process on your own, or you have enough time? The moment you initiate the installation process by yourself, then there is no step back. You have to finish it till the end.

Cost to Install a Water Heater:

Although purchasing the new water heater is more of gambling, you are not sure about the product. Purchasing the right product will be more robust if you are on a low or tight budget. Buying a new water heater can cost you somewhere between a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars. The price of your water heater varies on the type of water heater you are interested in buying. You can stick to traditional water heaters, or you can upgrade it with tankless.

Furthermore, the cost to install traditional water heaters gas or electricity varies a little bit. The primary reason for cost variation is the type of water heater itself. However, the labor cost of installing the water heater is quite standard. The price solely depends on the contractor or the area you want to install. Although, if you want an emergency installation, you may charge with some more dollars.

Most homeowners pay around $700 to $1500 for the installation of water heaters. Still, this price varies on different factors.

Hidden Costs that may be charged

When you replace the water heaters, you have to observe the expected cost of bringing the complete water heater to your home. You must be sure about the price, either it is inclusive with water heater cost or exclusive. So before estimating the final expense, double-check the delivery charges.

Installing the water heater is relatively cheaper than the price quoted by the plumber. Make sure you are installing the water heater by yourself or negotiating over the reasonable price being charged by the plumber.

Moreover, you may face some other unexpected costs too. This cost will include some or all of the following:

  • The cost of water heater brackets and/or mounts
  • Draining pan placed under the unit
  • The size and type of ventilation system
  • Upgrading of pipe (plumbing) to code


1.    How long do tankless water heaters last?

The tankless water heaters provide ready to go hot water when needed. As they are not running 24/7 to keep the water warm, the lifespan of these water heaters can last up to 20 years.

2.    What are the signs that a water heater is going bad?

These are the few indicating signs that will provide you signals that your water heater is going bad:

  • The water heater age
  • Quality of water
  • Gurgling sound
  • Dampness
  • Hot water shortage
  • WaterPuddles

3.    On average, how long do water heaters last?

On an average lifespan of different types of water, heaters can last as follows:

Type of Water Heater *Average Life Span of Water Heater
Tank Gas 8 to 12
Tankless Gas 20 years
Tank Electric 10 to 15
Tankless Electric 20 years


4.    How often should I flush my water heater?

As per the manufacturer’s recommendation, you should flush the water heater at least one or two times a year.

5.    What are the factors that should consider while replacing the water heater?

While picking up the new water heater model, make sure you analyze and double-check these following factors properly:

  • The capacity of water heater per gallon
  • Recovery rate, i.e., the amount of gallon heated in an hour
  • The dimension of your new water heaters, such as width, height, and physical space
  • Checking the Energy efficiency ratings
  • Water heater warranty