Hot Water Heater Life Span

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by smitty52, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. smitty52

    smitty52 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I have a 40 gal, gas hot water heater that is now about 11 years old.
    I know the avg lifespan is supposed to be about 10 years.
    My question is, if it works fine, appears to be fine from the outside, am I taking a chance on it bursting/leaking unexpectedly or should i be fine for a number of years yet?

    Should i drain off some sediment from time to time or could I possibly be causing a problem?
  2. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Change it now, right now, this very minute :D

    Na, just keep an eye on it and change it when it leaks. draining sediment is always a good idea, especially with a gas water heater. It keeps oxygen from being trapped in the sediment and rusting the tank as well as cutting down on that hissing a popping sound.
  3. Wait till its an emergency.....

    I really think that you should wait untill it becomes a dire emergency..

    its much more expensive and exciteing that way !!!


    If you tweak that old heater out of its last breath,
    I can almost %100 guarantee it will fail when you

    have a bunch of your family staying over

    on X-mas this year or next year....

    [​IMG]
    the look on your wife and your mother-in laws face will be
    priceless.-----its just one of those memories you will never forget

    here you are .... scrambling around x-mas morning mopping up a huge
    flood and begging a plumber to come out and install a heater that day..
    ......for any price .that day....


    and you got 6 -8 people in your home
    all wanting to take a shower.....


    the sight of your mother-in law in a half open bath robe
    is truely un-forgetable

    (the horror....the horror of it all)


    Fella, these are priceless
    X-MAS memories that you dont want to miss out on...


    so keep that water heater going...
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2008
  4. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    Do you mean draining a little water out of the bottom of the hot water tank throught the drain valve? Like in a steam boiler? How often, how much?
  5. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    The average life expectancy for a water heater is 14 years as a general rule of thumb counting both fuel burning and electric.

    Fuel burning water heaters last less then that but many live way beyond their life expectancy.

    Just keep an eye on yours and flush the sediment out annually.
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    I would not recommend you flush the tank now unless you live in a soft water area and definitely not if you live in a hard water area...many times people start flushing a tank when it is old and crud and other things can cause the drain valve to start leaking...also if there is a large build up on the bottom only a fraction of the build up will come out...in general I don't recommend flushing a tank unless it is started and done on a regular basis from the time it is first installed...
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The risk of continuing with the old one is not high. The more common failure modes are failure to heat, and small leaks. Sudden catastrophic flooding can happen, but is much less common, in my experience. Of course a small leak can be very bad if you are away for hours, or days.

    It is all risk/reward calculation.
  8. What is a Hot Water Heater?


    I don't believe there is such a thing. Delete this thread as it's inacurrate.



    And mark, that woman is HAWT! You got her phone number? Is she single? Likes peppercorn muffins at the local library?

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2008


  9. The efficiency of that tank as it ages, given the lack of proper draining, the lack of anode rod replacement and the caked sediment in the bottom of the tank due to improper maintenance allows that device to operate inefficiently without anyone knowing how bad.


    11 years would put you around the dip tube failure era. Not draining it regularly puts that heater as a V8 cadillac operating on 6 cylinders, and you think the longer the tank sits in operation, the better.

    Not so.


    The new energy standards provide a better R-Value on the insulation they install around those heaters, along with the known fact that a clean inside of the tank will heat that water like it was designed to.


    You don't understand how badly it's operating so you'll move to let it be. IF you knew how bad the efficiency was, you'd replace it immediately. This is a lack of knowledge concept that only a handful understand, comprehend.
  10. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    To flush or not to flush, that is the question.
  11. Probedude

    Probedude New Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    CA
    I was wondering when someone was going to post about this.
  12. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    It's a heater that heats water. Hence, hot water heater.
  13. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,054
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    It would actually be more accurate to call it a cold water heater. No need to heat hot water.
  14. Probedude

    Probedude New Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    CA
    But the response is
    "If you already have hot water, why do you need to heat it?"

    "HOT water heater" vs "water heater"
  15. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    My HW tank was on its last legs in my new rental house, and since it was 15 yo, I thought it was a no brainer to replace it. Not so, said the landlord, he has a tank that is 50 yo in one of his other rental units, so this one is just a pup.

    The thermostat had to be turned all the way up to get any hot water out of it, and it was on all the time. Well, my first gas bill was $60.00, and, since it was June, the only thing that was using gas was the HW tank. He relented and got a new tank. My bill went down to $18.00.

    I'm guessing that, either the dip tube had snapped off, or it was so full of lime, it formed an insulation barrier to the water.
  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,265
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    tank

    Asking how long a heater will last is like asking "how high is up?" The same make and model heater can last 2 years or it can last 25 years. There is no way to determine ahead of time how long, or at any point how much longer. And, there is little, if any, difference between brands as can be seen by the quantity of each that is replaced.
  17. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Whirlpool heaters Are complete junk in comparison to all others and seem to have a shorter life span than all others...for what ever reason...just my NSHO
  18. WV Hillbilly

    WV Hillbilly New Member

    Messages:
    178
    Location:
    WV
    Just for the heck of it I thought I would post this . Back in the 90's I received a call to replace an electric water heater that quit heating . I arrived at the persons home & the man told me that he had bought the home in the 50's & the water heater was there when he bought the home . It wasn't leaking & I asked him if he wanted me to check it out & see why it wasn't heating . He said no , because of the age he wanted to replace it & he would go get a new one while I removed the existing one . He left & I started removing the heater . The first thing I did was turn off the electric to the heater . I had to follow the wire to find the power source . It turned out that there was a small disconnect switch on the outside wall of his house & it was turned off . Turned it back on & the heater worked fine . Only explanation they had for it being turned off was that they had a boy mow their yard & he must have turned it off . I replaced the heater with the new one anyway . The old heater was 40 something years old & if I remember correctly it was a Rheem . The electric water heater in my rental house was there when I bought the house in 1991 & is still chugging right along . The house was built in 1982 & I expect the heater is the original . That would make it about 26 years old . Offhand I can't recall the brand name . I have also replaced leaking heaters that was only a couple years old but that was the exception rather than the rule . I won't get into the efficency , bad water problems , ect , but as a general rule I wouldn't replace an 11 year old heater just because of its age . Just my opinion & it's worth exactly what you paid for it .
  19. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    RUGGED started it...

    A tank used to heat water is a water heater...it will heat water reguardless of the incoming temp of the water and the water it heats will always be cooler than the water becomes after it is finished heating the water.
  20. Yep!


    It's definitely a "proceed with caution" scenario when someone posts those 3 words. They obviously don't have a clue and signifies their experience level.

    So I respond in candor most times not allowing the full flow of knowledge to reach my fingertips to assist. :D
Similar Threads: Water Heater
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Expansion Tank & System Pressure After New Water Heater (Rising Pressure) Friday at 4:01 PM
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Nortiz tankless water heater - water not hot enough Nov 14, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Relocating Baseboard Hotwater Heater Oct 13, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Water Heater Discharge Tube Question Oct 12, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice 14 YO Rheem hot water heater ONLY drips water when heating Aug 29, 2014

Share This Page