Bob Vila Radio: This Is When You’ll Need to Replace Your Water Heater

Rather than waiting for the worst to happen—like a cold shower—be proactive and learn about the history and condition of your water heater.

By Bob Vila | Updated Oct 25, 2018 1:26 PM

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‘Ever wonder how long your water heater will last? Well, that depends on quite a few factors.

Water Heater Lifespan




One is the type of heater you have. Traditional tank-type heaters usually last 8 to 12 years. They have an anode rod inside that protects the lining of the tank by attracting corrosive particles. Once the rod itself becomes corroded, the lining is next.

On the other hand, tankless water heaters—also known as ‘on-demand’ heaters—can last 20 years or more. Since they don’t have to keep large volumes of water continuously heated, their innards aren’t as exposed to corrosion.

Hard water, with its high mineral content, is tough on water heaters. Heaters also tend to have shorter lives if they’re located in unheated garages and crawl spaces, where they have to work harder to heat the water.

If you notice tinted water coming out of your hot water faucets, or a significant drop in temperature, or your heater is making strange noises, you may want to start thinking about replacing it.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!