How Long Do Water Heaters Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 10-15 Years

Hot water heaters are appliances used to heat water and to keep it at a more or less constant elevated temperature. Just as importantly, they are also used for the purposes of having a steady and continual supply of water. This is one big difference that sets hot water heaters apart from traditional heating vessels such as kettles, cauldrons, pots, and coppers, with the latter being unable to provide constant stores of water.

Having a constant supply of hot water is of particular importance especially in temperate countries like the United States and in most European countries. Uses of hot water include cooking, bathing, cleaning, space heating, and the like. In the above-mentioned countries, natural gas heaters which are piped along the course of cities and towns are extremely prevalent and widely used, because of their convenience, ease, and relatively low costs.

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Generally, a new water heater will last an average of 12 years, give or take, with proper maintenance and service. However, many factors play a part in determining how long the hot water heater will last, including these little-known facts. Factors that affect the water heaters lifespan include Tank vs tankless, the quality of the water (hard water can lessen lifespan by 2 years or more), and how often it is used.

The lifespan also depends on the type of water heater people have. Tank water heaters will last on average 8 to 12 years, while tankless can last even longer, up to 20 years. There are also electric and gas hot water heaters that will vary in lifespan, but in general gas ones last 8-12 years, while an electric heater could last upwards of 10-15 years.

There are a few key signs that can let people know it is time to replace the hot water heater. First, if it’s over 10 years old and a person notice some of the following issues, it’s probably time to consider replacing it.

One of the first signs the hot water heater is failing is an insufficient amount of hot water through the faucets or shower. If a person runs the shower and within minutes and he is only getting cold water, it could be a sign of sediment build-up.

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Another common issue—especially in tanks that have not been properly maintained—is regular wear and tear. If people find your water heater leaking or making knocking noises, it’s a good sign it’s out of commission. Also, when rusty water runs through your faucets, and the tank is over 10 years old, go ahead and get a new water heater.

Water heater typeLifespan
Tanks12-15 years
Geysers10-12 years

Why Do Water Heaters Last So Long?

Replacing your hot water heater before it dies could actually save people from a lot of pain and strife. People can avoid the unexpected expense and can budget for a new water heater if they know it’s nearing the end of its lifespan.

People also avoid the pain of having to be without water while you wait for it to get repaired. Lastly, take time, do research, figure out how long do water heaters last, and pick the right heater that suits all of the needs.

People may go with a tank, tankless, storage, or solar—whichever you think works best for your home. But, a better bet may be researching the most reputable brands out there because along with the type of heater, want to consider price, customer service, and reliability the most.

Some of the most reputable and popular brands people will find when they search for the best water heaters include A.O. Smith, Rheem, Westinghouse, GE, Whirlpool, and Kenmore. Some of those brands are familiar household names that have supplied homes with top-of-the-line appliances for decades. That familiarity can be enough to prove where they stand when it comes to reputation and quality.


Water heaters repair can be costly. Therefore, if people find themselves having to receive more than one repair on it, replace it, and should make sure they give it the proper maintenance it needs to last.

Taking into account lifespan, location, usage, and hard water, people can estimate pretty well how long your hot water heater is going to last. Industry experts say it may be a good idea to replace the hot water heater up to two years before its expected lifespan.


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