January 5, 2021

No matter the season, it’s important to have a reliable supply of hot water on-hand in your Sacramento home at all times. If you’ve noticed that your water heater doesn’t seem to be performing as well as it once did, you’re probably wondering if a replacement is on the horizon. To better determine the state of your water heater, it’s important to understand the factors that contribute to a water heater’s longevity. To understand just how long a water heater typically lasts, take a look at this insider’s guide to water heaters from Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning.

Typical Lifespan of a Water Heater

The most common type of water heater is called a tanked water heater. This type of water heater collects water in a large tank while it’s heated and then stores the water until you need it in your home. These water heaters from Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning are reliable, simple to install, and inexpensive to obtain.

The main problem with a tanked water heater is that the water that sits in the tank can corrode the lining of the tank, leading to leaks. To help slow this process down, all water heaters come equipped with an anode rod. This rod sits in the middle of the tank and attracts corrosive materials to itself. Thus, while the anode rod is working, your water heater is unlikely to fail.

Typically, your water heater can last for a few years after the anode rod is exhausted, putting the typical lifespan of a water heater at around 8-12 years. You can, however, purchase more expensive water heaters with more expansive anode rods. These water heaters typically last 15-20 years, depending on the rating of the anode rod.

Signs of an Aging Water Heater

When your water heater is in its final stage of life, it will begin showing various symptoms to let you know that replacement is imminent. One obvious sign of an aging water heater is leaking coming from the water heater. If leaks are coming from your water heater, it indicates that the anode rod has been completely exhausted and that the water heater’s lining has been completely eaten away by rust. A leaking water heater could fail entirely, meaning that you need to have it replaced as soon as possible by Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning.

Another easy-to-recognize symptom of an aging water heater is a lack of hot water. The burners on a water heater are one of the components that fail most often. Typically, the burners or heating elements on a water heater are not economical to replace. Therefore, if you notice that you run out of hot water more quickly than you used to, or you don’t have any hot water at all, it’s likely that you’ll need to replace your water heater in the near future.

Banging noises and dirty water are other symptoms you should watch for if your water heater is getting older. Anytime you notice any of these issues, it’s a good idea to have Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning stop by and take a look at your water heater to see what is going on.

Tankless WAter Heaters

When considering the lifespan of your water heater, it’s important to know that there are multiple types of water heaters, some of which have a longer lifespan than others. The other main type of water heater from Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning is called a tankless water heater. As the name suggests, this type of water heater doesn’t store the hot water in a tank. Instead, it creates hot water on-the-fly, allowing you to enjoy unlimited hot water for your various household needs.

Since very little water is stored in a tankless water heater, its components tend to corrode much more slowly. Ultimately, you can expect to get about 20 years out of most tankless water heaters. With proper maintenance, a tankless water heater may last even longer, meaning that you can enjoy a significant return on your investment.

Warranty Coverage Is Available

When you buy a water heater, it’s important to consider warranty options since a water heater is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in your home. The first warranty to consider is the manufacturer’s warranty. This is where you’ll really want to read the fine print when you purchase a new water heater.

If you’re looking at two water heaters that seem similar in everything except price, it could be that the warranty on the more expensive model is more robust. Since water heaters can go bad in the first few years of operation, it’s quite helpful to have a solid manufacturer’s warranty so that you aren’t faced with significant out-of-pocket costs.

It’s also good to think about a home warranty to cover your water heater. Modern home warranties can be customized to cover specific components, including the water heater. By purchasing this coverage before your water heater fails, you can have confidence that you won’t face any major expenses whenever your water heater reaches the end of its life.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Water Heater

Rather than worrying about replacing your water heater, it’s much simpler to take steps to protect it so that it exceeds its expected lifespan. As a homeowner, the best way to do this is to drain the tank of your water heater at least once a year.

Draining the tank will remove many of the corrosive materials that have accumulated in the tank during the last year. This will get them out of your tank before they have a chance to corrode the lining. You can also have your water heater inspected and maintained professionally by Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning.

Keep a Timeline in Mind

Given the finite lifespan of a water heater, it’s important to understand how many years your water heater has left. This will help you plan for replacement costs so that you can put some money away over time. In many cases, the plumber who installs your water heater will write the installation date on the water heater so that there’s never any doubt about the age of the water heater.

If your water heater doesn’t have a date on it, though, you can try to find the serial number on the water heater so that you can look it up online. This will help you understand if your water heater is still covered by a warranty, if there are any recalls on your water heater, and much more.

Making Your Home a Great Place to Live

At Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, we want your home to be a place that you enjoy hanging out. That’s why we do all we can to maintain and improve your home’s comfort, including the water heater. We can also help by installing, repairing, and maintaining your home’s furnace and air conditioner and installing water purification solutions. In business for over 30 years, the pros at Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning have been delighting customers throughout the area with knowledgeable and courteous service since day one. That’s one reason why we’re able to maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. To learn more about water heaters, contact us at Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning today.

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