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February 10, 2023

How Long Does a Water Heater Last?

How long does a water heater last for a typical Indiana household? Most Greenwood homeowners want to get the most out of their water heaters and avoid the inconvenience of early replacement costs. However, it is impossible to know when to start shopping for a new unit without some helpful background information about your particular unit, its location, climate considerations, and more.

Below, Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing provides a brief guide on the average water heater’s lifespan and how to know when a replacement might be around the corner.

Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing is one of Greenwood’s water heater services that offer first-class water heater installation, maintenance, and repair across the greater Greenwood, IN, area. Contact us today for premium water heater services and more!

What Affects Your Water Heater’s Useful Life?

Figuring out your water heater’s lifespan isn’t as easy as looking at the manufacturing date. Several aspects affect a water heater’s longevity, including, but not limited to:  

  • Water heater model
  • Quality
  • Maintenance frequency
  • Usage habits
  • The area’s water quality and more

For example, high-efficiency tankless water heaters often last longer than traditional tank models. However, if the tankless water heater is in an area with poor water quality, it will likely break down faster than one with high-quality water. The easiest way to estimate the lifespan of your current unit would be to ask local professionals like the heating and cooling team at Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing.

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

A better place to start might be to evaluate a few different types of water heaters. There are several water heater variations, each with unique factors affecting how long they can maintain peak performance.

Traditional Tank Water Heaters

Typically, traditional tank water heaters rely on an anode rod inside their tanks to attract corrosive elements and protect the unit’s interior lining. Water heater specialists refer to the process as electrolysis. However, anode rods can only handle so many corrosive particles before breaking down, which will leave the water heater vulnerable to deterioration.

Most units last 8 to 12 years before requiring a replacement model, but tank water heaters will not last long without an anode rod. If you suspect the rod might be on its last legs, a professional heating and cooling company will need to evaluate the tank’s condition to determine whether you need a replacement.

Tankless Water Heaters

How long does a water heater last when there’s no tank involved? Tankless hot water heaters do not feature the same anode rod. They also do not run continuously to produce hot water like a traditional tank model.

The differences typically mean longer lifespans. However, these models are still not invincible to corrosion. They typically experience deterioration after 15 years, though well-maintained tankless water heaters may last 20 years or longer before giving out entirely.

How To Estimate Your Hot Water Heater’s Age by Serial Number

The team at Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing often hears from Greenwood residents who have purchased homes with water heaters preinstalled. How can you determine the unit’s age with almost no information on hand? Evaluating a water heater’s serial number is one of the best ways to discover its manufacturing date.

Nearly every water heater manufacturer includes a serial number in the upper area of the product. A serial number features a letter (between A through L) followed by two numbers. 

  • The letter indicates the month the manufacturer constructed the unit.
  • The number represents the production year.

For example, if the manufacturer created the water heater in January 2020, the serial number will typically read “A20.” If the serial number is L22, the water heater’s manufacturing date was during December 2022. If the water heater’s serial number reveals the unit’s age is past its recommended useful life, you may need to start shopping for a replacement.

Signs You Need to Replace Your Hot Water Heater

Some water heaters display warning signs as they start to go wrong, alerting homeowners to start looking for a new and improved model. If you notice any of the following, consider replacing your water heater as soon as possible:

Strange or Loud Noises Coming from the Unit

Faulty water heaters make unusual rumbling or banging sounds before breaking down. If the area has hard water, the tank accumulates sediment buildup at the bottom of a water heater. It hardens as the tank nears the end of its useful life, slamming into the tank’s structure to create banging sounds during operation.

How long does a water heater last with sediment buildup? Professional technicians recommend flushing the tank once or twice a year to prevent this accumulation of sediment because it usually spells the end of the water heater. On top of decreasing the system’s lifespan, Greenwood homeowners that do not flush their unit’s tank will also usually nullify the warranty.

Bad Smells In The Property’s Hot Water Outlets

Water heaters provide warm water to bathe and cook. However, bacteria inside a water heater’s tank make this water smell and taste odd. Absorbed metal in the water can aggravate this contamination.

Does your home’s hot water taste or smell strange? Call professional plumbers to clean the tank and remove potential pollutants.

The Hot Water Turns Red or Yellow

Rust inside the water heater contaminates the water and alters its color to a yellow or red hue. At this point, it looks as bad as its tastes. Although rust-infused water won’t cause health problems, it is best to avoid drinking, bathing, and cooking with it when possible.

Notably, water heater tank rust should only affect the hot water. If your property’s cold water discolors, you likely have rusting galvanized pipes.

You Run Out of Hot Water Too Quickly

Most well-functioning water heaters supply hot water for long periods without issues. Although every hot water heater has its limits, most households can perform their daily routines without running out of hot water. However, faulty or poorly maintained water heaters will not produce as much warm water.

How long does a water heater last without maintenance? Not long. If you don’t want to face uncomfortably cold water right in the middle of a shower, regular maintenance from a team like Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing is essential.

Professional plumbers can sometimes resolve the issue by repairing the unit, but it is often better to replace older water heaters when they stop heating water efficiently.

Utility Bills Increase Without An Explanation

Failing water heaters often require more energy to warm the water, a shift that will significantly increase utility costs. While flushing a traditional water heater’s tank can sometimes resolve the issue, it doesn’t always help with rising energy bills. In this case, upgrading to a new, more energy-efficient water heater might be the only solution.

Have you noticed a sudden spike in your energy bills? Energy-efficient heating elements could save you plenty of money over time. These models operate optimally for an affordable, more sustainable option for Indiana’s homes and businesses. 

Contact Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing for Professional Water Heater Repair, Replacement, and Maintenance Services in Greenwood, IN

Our professional technician can assess your water heater and help you determine whether an energy-efficient model would be worth your time and money. We also offer professional water heater repair, replacement, or maintenance services in and around Greenwood, IN. 

How long does a water heater last after these signs your water heater is going bad? Find out from the professionals at Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing. Call (317) 535-5073 today for exceptional water heater services in Greenwood, IN, and the surrounding areas!

Author Bio:

Brittany Katterjohn

Brittany is a marketer, entrepreneur, and writer with previous business development experience in the home maintenance industry. She currently manages the marketing for Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing and has a passion for helping people by simplifying seemingly complicated topics related to home maintenance and repair.

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