Is it Time to Tune-Up or Replace Your Water Heater?

How Long Does A Water Heater Last?

Based on the manufacturer’s service life, your water heater life expectancy is between 8 and 12 years and around 10-15 years for electric models. This timeline can vary based on how the unit is maintained and environmental conditions in your area. Having routine maintenance performed, such as an annual water heater tune-up and flush, can extend the life of your unit.

Here are a few tips to extend the life of your water heater and warning signs that it might be time to replace it.


  • Do you see rust or sediment in your water? Displacement happens when sediment sinks to the bottom of the tank causing overheating, which in turn corrodes the steel tank.
  • Can you hear popping or banging noises as water heats? This is caused when pockets of water are caught between layers of sediment heats. The water turns to steam and erupts like a mini-volcano. One way to avoid these issues and extend the life of your water heater is to get an annual tune-up which includes flushing the tank.


Water heaters have parts that should be inspected and replaced when necessary. An anode, an electrode through which conventional current flows into the water heater, acts as a sacrificial lamb and is designed to corrode. Once gone, the steel tank and metal fixtures within are at risk for corrosion. To keep your family supplied with hot water for cooking, bathing, the water heater should be inspected and the anodes replaced every 1-2 years.

Valves can also become compromised over time. The pressure release valve and the drain valve can wear over time and reduce the efficiency of your water heater, as well as cause property damage when leaks arise. These elements should be evaluated yearly as well.

Water Quality

Knowing if you have hard or soft water and the effects on your water heater will extend the life of your appliance and may help avoid costly repairs. According to a study by the US Department of Energy, soft water has little impact on the efficiency of water heaters but can reduce the life expectancy of the unit by up to 50%. Hard water reduces the efficiency of your appliance but doesn’t reduce the life expectancy unless sediment covers the heating element in the bottom of the tank. Knowing what kind of minerals and possible pollutants are filtering through your system will help you determine what maintenance needs to be performed.

The plumbing professionals at Hawthorne Plumbing, Heating & Cooling recommend an annual water heater tune-up. This service includes flushing of the water heater, inspection and testing of all components, tightening of all connections, calibrating control settings and more.

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