How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

A reliable source of hot water is essential for running a modern household. Yet how often do you stop to think about how long your water heater will last? Many homeowners don’t realize that just like any appliance, their water heater has a finite shelf life, and it’s important to understand how long they typically last in order to know when it’s time to replace it. Today we explore the lifespan of a water heater, examine key signs that its lifecycle is drawing to a close, and offer tips on ensuring your unit lasts as long as possible. So if you’re wondering, “How long do water heaters last?” read on for all the answers you need!

A Water Heater’s Life Expectancy

As a Cincinnati or Kentucky homeowner, you rely on your water heater to provide hot water for your daily needs. But have you probably asked yourself, “How long do water heaters last?” The truth is the lifespan of a water heater can vary depending on several factors.

A Traditional Tank-Type Water Heater

Traditional storage tank water heaters have an average lifespan of 8-12 years. Such heaters use storage tanks to hold the hot water supply. The tank can rust and corrode over time, leading to leaks and other problems. However, you can stretch your heater’s life up to 15 years with proper maintenance.

How Long Do Tankless Water Heaters Last?

This question is best answered by considering the individual circumstances of each unit. Tankless water heaters have a longer lifespan of up to 20 years. They heat water on demand, meaning they don’t have storage tanks. Water flowing through a tankless heater causes rust or corrodes the unit over time. Unfortunately, they will eventually need to be replaced due to wear and tear.

Check Your Water Heater’s Serial Number

When determining the age of a water heater, one of the most critical pieces of information to have is the serial number. It can tell you the manufacturer, the production date, and other vital details about your water heater. You can find your unit’s serial number on the label or sticker on the side of the unit, often near the bottom.

The serial number’s location may vary depending on the manufacturer, but it’s usually in a spot that’s easy to find and read. The serial number format can also vary depending on the manufacturer, although it mostly consists of letters and numbers. Some manufacturers include the production date as part of the serial number, while others may have a different date code you’ll need to look for.

Signs Your Water Heater Might Fail

Most people question themselves, “How long do water heaters last?” They worry that these units will malfunction when they least expect it. It is unlikely your water heater will fail without warning. In most cases, multiple signs reveal that it is deteriorating or coming to the end of its lifespan. They include;

  • Leaking: If you notice any water around the base of your water heater, it’s probably leaking and needs replacement.
  • Age: When your water heater is approaching the end of its expected lifespan, it’s a good idea to start thinking about a replacement.
  • Rust and corrosion: In case you notice any rust or corrosion on the inside of your water heater, that may be a sign it’s reaching the end of its life.
  • Strange noises: If your water heater starts making strange noises, such as rumbling or popping, it may indicate that the unit is wearing out and needs to be replaced.
  • Reduced hot water: Whenever you’re not getting as much hot water as you used to, it could be a sign your water heater has lost capacity and needs to be replaced.

When it’s time to replace your water heater, choose a quality unit that’s the right size for your home and needs. Besides, consider hiring experts.

Benefits of Replacing your Water Heater Before it Fails

Replacing your water heater before it fails can provide many benefits for homeowners. Some of them are;

Cost Savings

Waiting for your water heater to fail before replacing it can be more costly in the long run. If your water heater is approaching the end of its lifespan and showing signs of failure, it will likely need to be replaced sooner rather than later. You can avoid the added costs associated with emergency repairs and unexpected downtime by proactively replacing them.

Increased Efficiency

Newer water heaters are often more energy efficient than older models. Hence, upgrading to a newer, more efficient water heater could save money on your monthly energy bills.

Improved Performance

A new water heater performs better and lasts longer than an older, worn-out unit. It implies you’ll have a more reliable hot water source, which can be especially beneficial during the year’s colder months.

Increased Safety

As water heaters age, they can become more prone to leaking, leading to water damage and mold growth. Proactively replacing your water heater can reduce the risk of leaks and other potential safety hazards.


Newer water heaters have warranties that protect you from certain defects and failures. You may have peace of mind knowing that if anything goes wrong, you are cushioned.

Choose Herrmann Services For All Your Water Heater Repairs, Installations & Replacements

Now that we have answered the question, “How long do water heaters last?” It’s paramount to take good care of your water heater to help extend its lifespan. If you need water heater repair or replacement in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, look no further than Herrmann Services. With a team of experienced technicians, we can help you with all your water heater needs, whether a simple repair or a complete replacement. Contact us today at (513) 737-8423 or request a service online.

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