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The average lifespan of a water heater is 8 to 12 years. Some heaters do last longer than that, however. One way to maximize your water heater’s life is through maintenance, which can potentially extend its life by an extra 5 years. First, though, I should mention that most of the topics I’m going to cover here are explained in the owner’s manual, which goes into detail about the maintenance required for your specific water heater.
Water quality is incredibly important to the longevity of a water heater. One of the best things that you can do when it comes to its longevity is simply put really good water into it. If the water has iron, hardness, sediment, etc., it will settle and accumulate in the bottom of the heater, causing premature failure.
Next, flushing your water heater at least once a year is very beneficial. (Some people do it as often as every six months.) There are lots of water heaters out there that have never been flushed. You don’t need to be in a panic if that’s the case, but flushing does allow any sediment at the bottom of the heater to be removed before it has a chance to build up and cause blisters in the inside of the glass lining.
Another factor that affects the lifespan of your water heater is the anode rod, which is there to attract the minerals in water that could cause harm to the tank. The anode rod is made from a softer metal, so it will actually diminish (wear away) instead of the metal tank itself. After the rod is diminished, it can be replaced to extend the life of the heater. As long as you have a rod in there, it will be able to do its job of protecting the tank.
The next piece is the temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve. As the name implies, its job is to protect the heater against excessive pressure and/or temperature. If it is not working properly and the pressure gets too high, it can cause the water heater to rupture. As long as it’s inspected and working properly, you shouldn’t have any problems with rupture due to pressure or temperature.
To keep your water heater working for as many years as possible, it should be maintained annually. This is a service that’s included for all our club members during each annual maintenance and safety visit. To learn more, contact us online or give us a call at 540-483-9382.