In Hot Water: How Long Does a Water Heater Last?

A long hot shower or soothing bath after a tiring day of work hits the spot. You dream of bath salts and a steamy bathroom. Imagine your shock and frustration when tepid water flows from the faucet, and you just can’t get enough hot water.

You may just have a water heater problem. Water heaters have a life expectancy too. So exactly how long does a water heater last?

Keep reading to learn about the average life expectancy of a water heater and how you’ll know when it’s time to start shopping for a new one.

How Long Does a Water Heater Last?

Typical tank water heaters last up to ten years. Tankless heaters last up to twenty years and beyond if you treat them right.

If you can’t remember when you purchased your water heater, you can determine the water tank’s age by looking at its serial number and consulting a water heater hub website. The first letters of the serial number will reveal the year and month your water heater was manufactured.

If your water heater is failing and you have an old water heater, it may be time to start shopping or call a pro like what you’d find at

Signs of a Failing Water Heater

You’ll know your water heater is failing if you just can’t get enough hot water. If you notice your water temperature dropping, you have your first telltale sign that the water heater is nearing the end of its life. You could have a failing heating element.

You won’t know if the heating element is failing until you call in a plumber. A few other signs indicate that your water heater is failing.

Discolored Water

Water should flow clear and clean from your faucet. When rust-colored water or brown water comes from your tap, your water tank may be the culprit. As your tank ages, sediment will build up and eventually damage the tank’s interior.

This sediment causes your water to turn brown or rust.

Water Leaks

As the sediment builds up, it corrodes your water tank from the inside. As the tank corrodes, it eventually cracks and leaks.

When your water pressure goes down or water turns cool, check your water heater. You may have an unwanted puddle under it. You clearly need a new water heater.

Odd Noises

Water heaters typically run quietly, with a gentle hum or little to no noise at all. When you begin to hear any sort of odd noises from your water heater, you may have a problem. It’s time to call your plumber in for a water heater maintenance call.

A plumber will give you a fair assessment and let you know if you should repair or replace your water heater.

Long Live the Water Heater

So how long does a water heater last? If more than ten years have passed since you purchased your typical water heater, it’s time to keep an eye out for the telltale signs mentioned above. Watch out for colored water, a leaky water heater, and odd noises.

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