How Long Does a Water Heater Last? - Weather Master Heating & Air Conditioning Skip to content

How Long Does a Water Heater Last?

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So you’ve had your water heater for a while, and you know it doesn’t last as long as an HVAC system. But exactly how long DOES a water heater last?

Dependent on many factors

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to come up with one straight answer to this question! It makes a difference whether you have a traditional tank-type water heater or tankless. It makes a difference how efficient and top-of-the-line the unit itself is. And it makes a difference how well you’ve been maintaining it!

Tank-type heaters

Again, it’s hard to pin down an exact number, but often, a regular hot water heater with a tank lasts anywhere between 6 and 13 years. As it gets older, it can spring a leak, usually due to getting rusty and corroded.  if you’re curious about how exactly this works … or you want to be sure that we are not just making this up to get you to replace your water heater … here’s a behind-the-scenes explanation:

How a traditional (tank) water heater works

As you know, your water heater is a giant metal cylinder filled with water, with the heating implement on the bottom. And, you might also know that the way the water gets heated up is with a dip tube that takes cold water to the tank. The way the water gets warmed up is with an element or a burner at the bottom, and because heat rises, the hot water rises to the top, where the exit pipe is. From there, hot water flows to you!

But what you probably didn’t know is that the only reason your water heater doesn’t rust or corrode right away is, an awesome device called an anode rod. This rod is inside of the tank and is made out of aluminum or magnesium, with a steel core. The rod is able to magnetically attract corrosive particles that build up in the tank over time. By attracting the corrosion to itself, it helps your water heater last a lot longer.

However, after anywhere from 6 to 13 years, the rod itself becomes so corroded that it can’t draw corrosive particles to itself anymore. Those particles start to settle at the bottom of the water tank and eat away at the lining. Once this happens, it’s only a matter of time until your water heater stops working.

The most obvious sign your water heater needs to be replaced is that it springs a leak. But,  slightly brown water could also be a sign! If your water is tinted and not clear, PLEASE call us! (919) 853-7910

Should you go tankless instead?

Now, we know most people prefer a tank-type water heater to tankless, either because the former is more common, or because it’s cheaper to install. A tankless water heater usually costs 3 times more to install than a traditional water heater, because a tankless water heater works differently and requires more gas. It needs its own exhaust flue out to the exterior of your house.

But because a tankless water heater uses gas to create hot water immediately, a lot of people are starting to “warm up to it” (ha ha). Also, not only are they more energy-efficient, which reduces your monthly bills – they also often last 20 years! The market is trending towards tankless water heaters instead, and if you think this the right choice for you, you should know that we’re running a great deal on Rinnai® tankless water heaters right now!

We are offering $250 off any size high-efficiency water heater. We’re excited to offer you a great deal on a product line that’s not only more efficient, but can last you up to two decades! If you have any questions, either about a new water heater or about your current water heater, we are the best ones to call in Raleigh! Call us at (919) 853-7910 or contact us online.

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