Your water heater can last many years with proper care and maintenance. No matter how well you look after it, though, you can’t expect it to last forever. Sooner or later, you’re going to need to replace your water heater. It can be difficult to tell when exactly the right time to replace your water heater is. If you take a look at the symptoms below, though, you will be able to tell much more easily when it’s time for a new system.
Chronic Difficulty Meeting Demand
You probably have had at least a little experience with running out of hot water, especially if you’ve shared a home with other people before. It’s normal for tank water heaters to run out of hot water if they’re put under heavy demand for a long enough period of time. However, the system should still be able to provide at least a moderate amount of hot water on demand after a period of rest. If your water heater is having trouble supplying hot water at all, even when there is nothing else placing demand on it, then it might be time to consider getting a new one. That loss of output can often happen as a system ages, and the wear and tear on it prevents it from heating water as effectively.
Water heaters are more resistant to problems than other systems, but even they need repairs every once in a while. You shouldn’t worry about your water heater if you need to have it repaired once every few years or so. You should start to worry if you need to repair it multiple times in the same year, though. That kind of frequency with repair issues indicates that the water heater is on its last proverbial legs. The parts in the system are beginning to wear out and break down at a rapid rate, and that will only increase as the system ages. It’s better to install a new system now than to wait for your current one to break down permanently.
Assuming you do everything right, and all other circumstances are ideal, you can reasonably expect your water heater to last you between 10 and 15 years. Once a water heater passes that age bracket, it begins to have all sorts of issues similar to those discussed above. As the system ages, it becomes more and more costly to maintain. Eventually, it wears down to the point where it cannot continue, and breaks down permanently.
If your water heater is older than 15 years, we highly recommend that you consult with a professional about replacing it as soon as possible. You might be able to get a few more years of use out of it, of course. However, in most cases it’s pretty likely that you’d be better served by installing a new system now than to try and wring a couple more years out of your old one.