Your water heater works hard for your family, so it’s natural to want to do everything you can to prolong the life of this important appliance. Here’s what you need to know about water heater life expectancy and the best practices to help keep the hot water flowing longer.
What is the Life Expectancy of a Water Heater?
Typically, the average water heater life expectancy is around 8-12 years. That can seem like a rather short amount of time, but your water heater works year-round to keep your family supplied with hot water. Of course, the type of model you have (tankless vs tank), the water quality, and even installation quality can affect the lifespan of your unit.
What You Can to do Extend the Life of Your Water Heater
All water heaters will eventually reach the end of their lifespan and need replacing. However, there are several proactive steps you can take to extend your water heater life expectancy and avoid unexpected breakdowns.
Flush Your Water Heater
Every day, your water heater is working hard to supply hot water to showers, washing machines, and dishwashers. Over time, as it’s busy working, sediment will build up at the bottom of your water heater tank. The layer of sediment separates fresh water from heating elements, meaning your appliance has to work harder to fulfill your household’s water demands. This extra work can cause the unit to overheat, and this can shorten its lifespan. If that wasn’t bad enough, sediment can also corrode the tank’s walls over time, eventually causing leaks.
To avoid these issues, flush your water heater at least once a year. Since we’re in Arizona with very hard water, it’s even better if you flush your water heater more often. The flushing process can involve unfamiliar components and take some time, so it’s best to have a professional flush and cleanse your tank properly.
Keep an Eye on the Pressure Relief Valve
The pressure relief valve is a safety valve located on either the top or side of the water heater. Its purpose is to automatically open and release water if the pressure or heat inside your water heater gets too high. If the valve malfunctions, however, the excess heat and pressure will continue to build up in the unit. Worst-case scenario, this pressure can cause your water heater to rupture or explode.
It’s important to inspect the pressure relief valve regularly to ensure it’s working properly. Valves that no longer open as required will need to be replaced. A professional can come and inspect it to ensure it’s in proper working order, and if it’s not, perform the repairs needed.
Check the Anode Rod
The anode rod is a long metal tube that helps prevent your water heater from rusting. It attracts corrosion so that your heater doesn’t develop rust on the inside. Eventually, the rod will become corroded after years of fighting rust and leave your unit vulnerable to corrosion, greatly shrinking its lifespan.
This small but mighty rod has the power to help extend your water heater life expectancy. Because of that, you’ll want to check the anode rod regularly (we recommend annually) and replace it before rust has a chance to start spreading to the rest of the tank.
Install a Water Softener
Arizonans are very familiar with our hard water and the damage it can do to appliances, clothes, skin, and pipes. Hard water can also greatly affect the lifespan of your water heater. When heated, the minerals in the hard water form sediment deposits in the bottom of the tank, as we mentioned above. Only with hard water and its large quantities of minerals, these deposits form faster and can shorten your heater’s lifespan.
As we said, flushing your water heater can help, but with our hard water, it’s fighting a losing battle. This is where a water softener can come in and save the day. A water softener removes these minerals beforehand and reduces the risk of mineral content buildup in your system. Not only will a water softener help extend the lifespan of your water heater, but it will also help you have softer hair and skin, cleaner clothes, and less scale buildup.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
One of the best ways to protect the life expectancy of your water heater is to keep up with routine maintenance and tune-ups. These maintenance checks allow professionals to inspect your unit for pre-problems, like small cracks or a little leak and will fix them up before they get bigger and cause more damage to your system. Professionals know what to look for and will reduce the likelihood of redundant repairs.
City Plumbing Services is Here for You and Your Water Heater
With the right care and maintenance, you can help extend your water heater life expectancy! If you’re in the market for water heater maintenance or need some repairs, our team is on it. We can also offer water softener system installation and other residential plumbing services. We’re located in Cave Creek but are ready to help those in Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Surprise, and most of the East Valley of Arizona.