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How long is a water heater supposed to last?

Thumbtack Editors
Answered

Your water heater is an essential part of your home, heating water for showers, dishwashing, laundry and more. On average, a traditional water heater will last 8-12 years. The general consensus is that it’s better to replace your water heater with a new one than to repair one that’s 10 years old or more. Older models are less energy-efficient and thus more costly to run than newer models with better technology. Here are some indicators of when it may be time to replace an old water heater instead of repairing it:

  • Leaks: If leaking is not caused by loose connections, the water may be seeping out through slight fractures in the metal of the tank that have formed over time.
  • Strange noises: Clanking, rumbling and other noises can mean that sediment has formed on the base of your tank, contributing to fissures leaks, and inefficiency.
  • Age: If it’s more than 10 years old, it’s probably time to replace.
  • Discolored or rusty water: Have a pro check it out; if the problem isn’t resolved by draining and cleaning, you’ll want to replace the heater.
  • Lack of hot water: Inconsistent heating and hot water supply that runs out too quickly likely means it’s time for a new unit.