My 40 gal gas water heater is about 13 yrs old. Water is hot and it
works fine. The only sign of age is exterior paint starting to flake
off with rust underneath. (Its kind of strange...the flake bits are
perfectly round...like tiny polka dots.)
What is the average life of a gas water heater? I don't want to
replace a perfectly good heater with lots of life left, but I don't
want to play Russian roulette and come home from work one day to a
swimming pool in my basement!
What are the signs that its time for it to go?
I remember this being asked in a newspaper column by someone saying he
had a 15 year old water heater. The answer in the newspaper column was,
as best as I remember, "15 years, TICK TICK TICK!"
As for a warning sign: Often, but not guaranteed, is that hot water
runs out much more quickly. What happens (at least sometimes) is that a
tube in the tank that helps the water heat up evenly falls out of place
due to corrosion, and this has the effect of simulating a much smaller
tank capacity. Whenever I noticed the water heater running out of hot
water easily because of this, the water heater leaked in a matter of
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Yes they do. Electrics heat the water at a slower rate and the element is
immersed. That makes for a lot less stress on the tank then basically
having a fire under it that gets hot quick and then cools.
Personal experiences only here based on home and multiple rental unit
ownership over a 35 year period. I have seen them last 30 years and I have
seen them die in 5 years. My overall average is about 15 years of service.
As others have said usage and water quality are a factor.
I have never had one fail in a dramatic fashion. All of my tank failures
have dripped, some for months, before I replaced them. more common is a
burner or control valve failure.
Your small round dots may be caused by condensation when the incoming water
is cold and there has been a high use.
Based on my experiences I would not replace the unit until it failed to
deliver the water I needed or showed some visible signs of failure. Side
note: I always turn my heater to pilot and shut off the water main when I
am on vacation.
gas last less than electric, around here 10 years is good life. I
replace mine about that time.
new designs are much more energy efficent and if a flood can damage
stuff your better off replacing early.
WHs are realtively cheap appliances, divide purchase price by 10 year
life.... very low.
I prefer to pick and choose replacement time, after the one died
christmas eve during snow storm, 20 degrees and howling wind,
houseguests coming the next morning.:(
My dad on city water used to replace his every 10 years (gas). Regular as
clock work. OF the three houses I've owned, I replaced one at 10 yrs (gas,
city water), and two others were still going strong at 18 years (well,
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