When is a water heater old enough to proactively replace?
A lot of my home inspection customers are worried about their water heaters rightly so. Water heaters can be in good shape visually but the internal components may be failing due to age. The first step is to find out how old the water heater is. Some water heaters will clearly state their age on the label, while others hide information within a code. Buildingcenter.org can be very helpful in determining the age of coded mechanical equipment such as water heaters and HVAC equipment.
My uncle says his water heater is 20 years old…
But will you uncle pay for your remodel when your old water heater floods your house? Consider the fact that most water heaters have a 10-year warranty. That’s how long the manufacturers are willing to stand by their product. After that all bets are off. While water heaters can fail at any point in their lives, the average life span is 10 – 12 years. Failures can range from a pinhole leak in the piping to a complete internal failure which floods the home and causes many thousands of dollars worth of damage. Therefore, when a water heater reaches 10 years old it should be considered fully depreciated and in need of replacement. Take a family photo with it and change it out!
Changing out a water heater is expensive, right?
The cost of replacing the water heater in the Sarasota area averages around $1,000 depending on the model and plumber. This means the water heater costs a homeowner $100 a year or roughly $0.27 a day. While you can prolong the life of a water heater by replacing the anode rod and flushing the sediment regularly, the safest practice is to have the water heater professionally replaced at or before the age of 10 – 12 years. Additionally, we recommend that any water heaters that are on the same level as the home’s internal living area placed into a drainage pan that is routed to the exterior in case of failure. Another fact to consider is that many condo associations require replacement of the water heater every 6 to 8 years as a way to mitigate water damage issues which can affect many adjacent condos from a leaking water heater.