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Extend Your Water Heater Lifespan With Our Maintenance Tips

shower head and tankless water heater

Water heaters have an important job to do. People use hot water for showering, bathing, cleaning, cooking, and washing dishes and clothes, among other things. With the exception of cooking, since you can use a stove to heat up water, those things require a functioning hot water heater.

It’s also true that hot water heaters can be costly. Therefore, it’s important to know how to make a water heater last longer. With good maintenance, your water heater will last longer, and you’ll save money on bills, repairs, and, of course, new water heaters.

When things do break down, you can rely on Four Seasons Plumbing for Asheville water heater repairs.

The Average Life Expectancy of a Water Heater

The typical water heater lifespan is 8-12 years for tank gas heaters and 10-15 for tank electric gas heaters. However, it’s not unheard of for a well-kept water heater to last longer than 15 years, even up to 30 years.

There are several factors that can influence how long a water heater will last:

  1. The type of water heater you have matters and not just according to which type you’re using. Traditional tank water heaters are less expensive, but tankless water heaters tend to last longer.
  2. Unit quality is also an important factor. Name brands and higher-quality models usually have thicker tanks and better insulation than budget brands do. As a result, those better models typically have a longer life expectancy.
  3. Water quality is another determinant of your water heater’s lifespan, and it’s one many people don’t consider. Hard water is water that contains minerals, and those minerals build up on the heating element and inside of the tank. This can lead to leaks and a shortened lifespan for the water heater.
  4. Finally, you have the frequency and quality of maintenance to consider. Not surprisingly, hot water heaters that receive regular inspection and maintenance will last longer.

With that said, let’s now look at some maintenance tips for your water heater so that you can extend its lifespan.

Tip #1: Flush the Tank Frequently

Whether you have hard or soft water, sediment will build up in a tank over time. As more sediment builds up, the tank is more likely to overheat. That will result in expensive repairs, and it will also reduce the lifespan of the water heater.

It’s important, then, to flush the tank out regularly in order to get that sediment out. So, just how regularly should this be done? The standard recommendation is to flush the tank out once per year. If you have hard water, though, it’s a good idea to flush it out at least twice a year to manage that increased buildup.

Flushing out a water tank isn’t that hard to do, but it does take time and it can be messy if you’re not careful. Let a professional like Four Seasons Plumbing take care of that as part of your scheduled maintenance will save you time and trouble.

If you think your tank needs flushing, contact us today to schedule a service!

Tip #2: Watch the Pressure Relief Valve

If the water heater gets too hot, the pressure relief valve acts as a safety device to release pressure. A pressure relief valve that’s damaged or not working properly can contribute to the tank rupturing. This is a messy and expensive problem to deal with.

Check the pressure relief valve regularly to make sure it’s working. If you think it needs repair, call a professional like Four Seasons Plumbing to handle this. It’s a potentially dangerous repair and not recommended as a DIY job.

Tip #3: Check the Water Pressure

When water pressure gets too high, it can cause stress to the tank and shorten its lifespan. In most homes, the water pressure should be 50-70 psi and definitely under 80 psi.

Checking water pressure is easy; all you need is a simple valve that you can screw onto a spigot. However, dealing with excessive pressure is another matter and something best left to qualified plumbing services. 

New water heaters have expansion tanks to handle excess water pressure, but many older ones don’t. Installing an expansion tank with your water heater is something a professional plumbing service can take care of for you so that you have peace of mind with your water heater.

Tip #4: Improve Water Quality

If your area has hard water, you can’t change that, but there’s something you can do about it. You can have an experienced plumbing service like Four Seasons Plumbing install a filtration system or a water softener. This won’t just protect your tank from corrosion and damage and extend its lifespan; it will also result in better water quality for your home.

Tip #5: Follow the Manufacturer’s Maintenance Recommendations

Manufacturers usually recommend yearly professional servicing for water heaters. While people sometimes don’t want to spend the money on that, this actually pays for itself over time.

Routine maintenance by a qualified expert makes sure that all parts are working properly. It’s a way of identifying potential problems and addressing them before they become big, expensive problems. This helps keep your water heater running properly so that you can rely on it and get the most life out of it.

Another benefit of following the manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedule is that it helps you remain compliant with warranty requirements.

Tip #6: Recognize Signs of Water Heater Trouble

Knowing the signs that something is wrong with your water heater is a good way to know when to call a plumber before a really serious problem develops. Here are several things to watch for:

  • The unit is old – 8 years or older.
  • Water is leaking from the tank.
  • The water isn’t as hot as it usually is.
  • Hot water runs out more quickly than it normally does.
  • You’re hearing strange noises coming from the heater.
  • Discolored water is coming out of faucets and showers.
  • If you have a gas water heater, the pilot light keeps going out.

Remember that Four Seasons Plumbing can handle all of your plumbing needs in the Asheville area. Contact us today to set up a visit!

Max Rose - Owner of Four Seasons Plumbing


Max Rose

Max Rose is the owner of Four Seasons Plumbing, a plumbing company in Asheville, North Carolina.