How to know when to replace gas Hot water heater

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Andrew McIntyre

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I have a 50-gallon gas hot water heater tank- It is about 12 years old- Looks like it is in perfect condition. No leaking around the tank. However, I have noticed lately that it takes a lot longer for the water to get hot- Is this a sign I need to replace the unit. This is the only problem I can tell with the heater. I typically do flush of the tank once a year and drain and refill
 

Reach4

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What if it leaks? If not a big deal, I would keep in in service until it leaks.

If you are in a condo, you should replace before failure.
If the WH is in a utility room with a floor drain, I would let it go. I expect 30 years or so with a gas WH, but others have very different experiences. I am not a pro, but I have had more than 30 years on the only WH I installed. Still going as far as I know.
 

Terry

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Most gas water heaters will only last 15 years.

Where your water heater is makes a big difference. What happens if it fails when you are out of town? Is it in a safe location for that?
Do you plan on replacing on your time schedule, or on a holiday weekend with company over?

As a plumber that installs water heaters, and having to replace water heaters less than 15 years old several times in my own homes, I would say that 10-15 years is average.
 
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Tuttles Revenge

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Yep.. Risk assesment is how to gauge when to replace a water heater and definitely schedule at Terry points out.

Most water heaters fail slowly so adding a simple battery operated moisture alarm is a cheap way to be notified that its time to replace. I have only seen a couple water heaters burst and both were likely due to extreme neglect.
 

John Gayewski

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I would say use what you have until it fails. You could even keep an eye out for a great deal and when one comes along but the replacement and store it until failure. Other factors are mentioned above. But most water heaters develope a slow leak that you just notice one day.

Have you flushed the heater recently? How are you measuring the recovery rate which you say seems slower?
 
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