How Long Does a Water Heater Last: Factors Affecting Its Lifespan

A water heater is an essential appliance for any household as it provides hot water for various purposes. However, like any other appliance, it has a limited lifespan and will eventually need to be replaced. The question is, how long does a water heater last?

Reasons to Replace a Water Heater

How Long Does a Water Heater Last - ShopJourney
  • Age: Most water heaters have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years, depending on the type and quality of the unit. If a water heater is approaching or exceeding this age range, it may be time to consider a replacement.
  • Rust and Corrosion: Over time, the inside of a water heater tank can corrode and rust, leading to leaks and other problems. If a homeowner notices signs of rust or corrosion on their water heater, it may be time to replace it. You can check out
  • Leaking: If a water heater is leaking, it is a clear sign that it needs to be replaced. Even a small leak can cause significant damage to a home, including water damage, mold growth, and more.
  • Sediment Buildup: Over time, sediment can build up inside a water heater tank, reducing its efficiency and potentially causing damage to the unit. If a homeowner notices signs of sediment buildup, such as reduced hot water pressure or discolored water, it may be time to replace the water heater.
  • Efficiency: Newer water heaters are often more efficient than older models, which can save homeowners money on their energy bills. If a homeowner is looking to reduce their energy costs, replacing an older water heater with a newer, more efficient model may be a good option.

How Long Does a Water Heater Last?

Tank-Style Water Heaters

Tank-style water heaters are the most common type of water heater and have an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years. However, with proper maintenance, they can last up to 15 years. It is important to note that the serial number of a tank-style water heater typically contains the date of manufacture, making it easy to determine its age.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are becoming increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency and long lifespan. They can last up to 20 years or more, making them a great investment for homeowners. However, they may not be suitable for every climate, as they pull heat from outside to warm water for your home.

Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters have a similar lifespan to tank-style water heaters, ranging from 8 to 12 years. However, they may have a longer warranty period than gas water heaters. It is important to check the manufacturer’s warranty to ensure the water heater is covered for the expected lifespan.


Water heaters typically come with a manufacturer’s warranty that covers the cost of repairs or replacement for a specific period. The warranty period varies depending on the manufacturer and model, ranging from 6 to 12 years for tank-style water heaters and up to 25 years for tankless water heaters. Some manufacturers offer extended warranties for an additional fee.

How to Extend the Life of Your Water Heater

How Long Does a Water Heater Last - ShopJourney

Source: Plumbing & Mechanical

1. Flush the Tank

Sediment buildup can reduce the efficiency of your water heater and shorten its lifespan. To prevent this, flush the tank every six to twelve months. Simply drain a few gallons of water out of your water heater into a bucket to examine the water. If the water is full of dirt and debris, then you should perform a full cleaning of the water heater.

2. Replace the Anode Rod

The anode rod is a sacrificial metal rod that attracts corrosive elements in the water and prevents them from attacking the tank. Over time, the anode rod will deteriorate and need to be replaced. Check the owner’s manual for your water heater to see how often the anode rod should be replaced.

3. Insulate the Tank

Insulating your water heater can help it retain heat and reduce the workload on the heating elements. This can help prolong the life of your water heater and save you money on your energy bills.

4. Adjust the Temperature Setting

Setting the temperature too high can cause your water heater to work harder than it needs to, which can shorten its lifespan. Check the owner’s manual for your water heater to see what the recommended temperature setting is.

5. Test the Pressure Relief Valve

The pressure relief valve is a safety feature that releases pressure from the tank if it gets too high. To test the pressure relief valve, lift the lever and let it snap back into place. You should hear a gurgling sound as water is released into the drain tube. If you don’t hear anything, or if water continues to flow after you release the lever, then you should replace the pressure relief valve.


In conclusion, we recommend going for a high-efficiency water heater to conserve energy and reduce utility costs. Efficient models like heat pumps or solar water heaters offer significant long-term savings and contribute to a greener environment. If all else fails, head to our water heater buying guide to get yourself a new water heater today!

About The Author

Picture of Shervon


What's a housewife without her cooking utensils and cleaning tools to keep the house in good order? Happily married with 2 cheeky kids, Mrs Housewife spends nearly 24/7 of her time around her trusty kitchen appliances or cleaning equipment well enough to know the ins and outs of those items (some say she's too obsessed with baking, cooking & cleaning for the family, and wonder if she's married to those appliances instead of her husband).

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