When a water heater is not working properly, it can disrupt the comfortable running of the home, this is the reason we pay particular attention to them during a home inspection. One question that will often come up regarding water heaters is how long do they generally last before needing to be replaced? The short answer is that you can usually expect a water heater to last for about 10 years, however, let's consider some reasons why the lifespan of a water heater can be drastically reduced.
The correct installation of the water heater is an important first step when it comes to its longevity. To save money, homeowners often resort to installing the water heater themselves, only to find out that it is not as simple as they thought. This is especially the case with tankless gas heaters. Thought must also be given to where the water heater is installed. It should always be positioned upright and placed in an area that has good ventilation. Do not install a water heater in an area that has a high risk of flooding as this can cause the heater's exterior pipes to rust which will reduce its efficiency and lifespan. Another thing to have in mind when deciding where to install the water heater is future inspections and maintenance. You will want it to be easily accessible.
Perhaps one of the more obvious things that will affect your water heater's lifespan is the amount of use it gets. The more water it has to heat, the harder it has to work which will increase the level of wear and tear.
How can you tell if you are buying a good quality water heater or not? Like most goods, you get what you pay for so, the more expensive the water heater, the longer it is likely to last. Another good indicator is the length of warranty the heater comes with. A longer warranty generally means the water heater has been built better and will have a longer lifespan.
Devereaux Van Dyne, Certified Professional Home Inspector