No one likes cold showers. Especially, in our cold Minnesota winters.

For many homeowners, staying on top of their water heater’s condition is a priority. But how long do water heaters last? When should a homeowner expect their water heater to give out?

It depends a lot on the type of water heater you have, as well as how you maintain it.

Let’s dive in and get more specific answers:

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Knowing how long your water heater will last and when to replace your water heater involves several aspects. First, the signs of a failing water heater include tinted water, cold water, and clanking noises coming from the appliance, but we’ll get into those later.

Generally, a new water heater will last an average of 12 years, give or take, with proper maintenance and service. However, many factors play a part in determining how long your hot water heater will last, including these little-known facts. Factors that affect your water heaters lifespan include:

  • Tank vs tankless.
  • The quality of your water (hard water can lessen lifespan by 2 years or more).
  • How often you use it.
  • It’s located in a crawl space or basement where it takes longer to heat up.

The lifespan also depends on the type of water heater you have. Tank water heaters will last on average 8 to 12 years, while tankless can last even longer, up to 20 years. There are also electric and gas hot water heaters that will vary in lifespan, but in general gas ones last 8-12 years, while an electric heater could last upwards of 10-15 years.

3 Signs Your Water Heater Needs To Be Replaced

how long does a tankless water heater last

There are a few key signs that can let you know it is time to replace your hot water heater. First, if it’s over 10 years old and you notice some of the following issues, it’s probably time to consider replacing it. 

1. You’re Not Getting Enough Hot Water

how long do water heaters last

One of the first signs your hot water heater is failing is an insufficient amount of hot water through your faucets or shower. If you run the shower and within minutes you’re only getting cold water, it could be a sign of sediment build-up.

2. Sediment Buildup in Your Tank

Sediment can build up at the bottom of the tank in older appliances and affect the heating elements that give you consistent hot water. You can call a repair person to clean out the sediment and flush your system which could help alleviate the issue. An older appliance it may be best to replace.

3. You Know Water Heater Was Poorly Maintained

Another common issue—especially in tanks that have not been properly maintained—is regular wear and tear. If you find your water heater leaking or making knocking noises, it’s a good sign it’s out of commission. Also, when rusty water runs through your faucets, and your tank is over 10 years old, go ahead and get yourself a new water heater.

Water heaters repair can be costly. Therefore, if you find yourself having to receive more than one repair on it, replace it, and make sure you give it the proper maintenance it needs to last.

How often do you need to replace your hot water heater?

how long does a tank water heater last

Taking into account lifespan, location, usage, and hard water, you can estimate pretty well how long your hot water heater is going to last. Industry experts like Bob Vila say it may be a good idea to replace your hot water heater up to two years before it’s expected lifespan.

Replacing your hot water heater before it dies could actually save you from a lot of pain and strife. You avoid the unexpected expense and can budget for a new water heater if you know it’s nearing the end of its lifespan. You also avoid the pain of having to be without water while you wait for it to get repaired. Lastly, you can take your time, do your research, figure out how long do water heaters last, and pick the right heater that suits all of your needs.

Plus, as the years go by, and newer models are produced, chances are your 10-year-old water heater has been less efficient than any newer model for quite some time. It’s likely your water heater is either not meeting requirements, or is at least unnecessarily raising your utility bills due to inefficiency. Read more here about how efficient hot water heaters should be, plus how a new one can put money back in your pocket.

Which Brands of Water Heaters are the Best?

When it comes to water heaters, you do not want to cut corners and get something cheap. So yes, brands matter. But when looking for a new water heater, it can be overwhelming choosing between different brands and types of hot water heaters on the market. One way to start is by researching the type of hot water heater you want.

You may go with a tank, tankless, storage, or solar—whichever you think works best for your home. But, a better bet may be researching the most reputable brands out there because along with the type of heater, you want to consider price, customer service, and reliability the most.

Some of the most reputable and popular brands you’ll find when you search for the best water heaters include A.O. Smith, Rheem, Westinghouse, GE, Whirlpool, and Kenmore. Some of those brands are familiar household names that have supplied homes with top-of-the-line appliances for decades. That familiarity can be enough to prove where they stand when it comes to reputation and quality.

But, for a brand that specializes in a smaller line of products related to water heaters, filters, and other plumbing fixtures, A.O. Smith and Rheem may be your best bet. In fact, if you look for the top 10 best water heaters chances are you will see A.O. Smith and Rheem in any given list.

Avoid the sting of a sudden cold shower and contact us today to get a hot water heater that does the job.