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How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

water heater in modern boiler room

We get quite a few calls from people asking how long a water heater should last. It’s an important question as some people want to know how long they can expect their current water heater to last while others want to be proactive and get theirs replaced before any problems occur.

Water Heater Lifespans

Most water heaters can last anywhere between 6 and 13 years. If your water heater is more than 12 years old, you should expect it to fail any time.

The lifespan of your water heater depends on a few things:

  • Water Quality: Lower water quality means more minerals, which causes more buildup, which can decrease a water heater’s lifespan.
  • Water Heater Maintenance: Whether this is performed by a professional or you undertake it yourself, regular maintenance can significantly extend the life of your water heater. 
  • Water Heater Repair: The longer you wait to repair your water heater when it isn’t working properly, the more likely it is to have a shorter lifespan.

When Do I Need to Replace My Water Heater?

With such a wide lifespan range, how can you know when you need to replace your water heater? Ultimately, it’s your decision, but there are a few things to look out for that can indicate it’s time for a new water heater:

  • Your water is a strange color or seems tinted. This is often an indication that there’s rust in your water heater, which means it’s nearly time to replace it.
  • There are strange sounds coming from your water heater. Strange noises can indicate that sediment has built up inside your tank.
  • There’s water under your water heater. If you see signs of dampness, your water heater has a leak somewhere.
  • You get intermittent hot water. This can indicate a number of different issues, most of which are best solved by replacing your water heater. 
  • You have less hot water than you had before. This typically mans that one of your tanks isn’t working. Replacing the heater can actually be easier than getting a new tank.

Santa Cruz Water Heater Experts

Call us at Rosenthal Plumbing if you want someone to assess your water heater or are thinking about water heater replacement! We’ll help you get the perfect new water heater for your Santa Cruz area home.