We all know that water heaters are a necessary evil. No one ever looks forward to the day when their water heater gives out and they have to go through the hassle of replacing it. But how long does a typical water heater last, anyway? And more importantly, is there anything you can do to make your water heater last longer?
A 50-gallon water heater is one of the most common sizes. It’s also one of the best water heaters to install in an average-sized home because it can produce enough hot water for multiple showers, laundry loads, and dish washes, while still saving on energy costs.
A 50-gallon water heater normally lasts for about 10-12 years, depending on how well it has been maintained. The age of your water heater is not the only thing that determines its lifespan, though; what you do (or don’t do) can also affect how long your water heater will last.
Before talking about how long a 50-gallon water heater typically lasts, let’s first run down some of the factors that will affect how long a water heater lasts.
Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Water Heaters
There are many factors that can impact the lifespan of your water heater. We’re only going to mention some of the more important ones here.
Water Heater Size
The larger the tank, the more energy it uses to heat up and keep hot all that stored water. Heating a smaller volume of water will obviously take less time and energy. A smaller tank also won’t be able to hold as much hot water at one time, which means you’ll have to do more frequent loads of laundry or dish washes.
If your family is constantly showering and doing laundry, this will also impact the lifespan of your water heater because it will be on for longer periods of time than if your family consisted of only 2 or 3 people.
Number of People in Your Household
More people means more showers, laundry loads, etc., which also means a shorter lifespan for your water heater. But the number of people in your household shouldn’t be the only factor you consider when trying to figure out how long a water heater will last because it isn’t always indicative of how often your water heater will be used. Your water heater could easily be put to use several times a day if you have young children, but may only have to work hard if you have older kids who are looking to save money on their energy bills by taking quick showers instead of spending half an hour in the shower every morning.
Heaters with more warranty time tend to last longer than those with less warranty time. Warranties usually cover malfunctions and defects only. Keep in mind, though, that a longer warranty does not necessarily equate to a longer lifespan, and vice versa.
Corrosiveness of water:
The more acidic your water is, the less time your heater will last because it corrodes the interior lining of the tank. Remember that most homes have very moderately-corrosive water, so this won’t be a huge factor in the lifespan of your water heater.
How to extend the lifespan of a 50-Gallon water heater?
Well, it’s not rocket science. Some of the most common way to make your 50-gallon water heater last longer includes:
This may sound like a no-brainer, but there is more to an installation than just plopping down a new one and hooking it up. The pipes that connect the tank to the faucets and appliances should also be properly sized and installed according to local codes.
Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (T&P valve)
If your water heater is too hot, it can cause the T&P valve to open up. The main purpose of this valve is to relieve stress from the tank whenever there’s too much pressure inside. This means that it’s important to drain down the water heater and flush out the sediment every few years.
Furthermore, this valve should be inspected and tested annually to make sure it’s working properly. If you need a new T&P valve, have one installed by a professional plumber. You can find an experienced plumber on ServiceSeeking.com
Fix any Leaks Immediately
Leaks will cause the water heater to use more energy as it tries to heat up your entire house’s supply of hot water whenever there’s a leak somewhere in the system. This won’t affect how long a water heater lasts because it only extends the time wasted while waiting for warm or hot water, but it certainly isn’t going to help anything at all! Repairing leaks as soon as they happen is important if you want to make your last longer.
Descale your water heater:
Though this may seem like a strange idea, “descaling” is one of the best ways to extend the lifespan of your water heater. If you do not descale it once or twice a year, then sediment from hard water builds up and damages the tank. Descaling gets rid of this build-up, thus making your heater work more efficiently.
Descaling can be done by purchasing a commercial descaling product or by using household vinegar and baking soda. Both of these products are readily available, so it’s up to you to decide which one you want to use. The process is simple: Just mix the solution with water in equal parts inside the tank and turn on the tap at the bottom of the tank. Let this sit for around 30 minutes, then turn off the water and let it drain out of the mop spout at the bottom.
Reasons why my water heater is leaking?
The main reason why water heaters leak is because of corrosion. The inside lining of the tank is made of metal, but it’s unfortunate that this metal corrodes over time. What happens during each day and night cycle? Your water heater gets hot until it runs out: When the heating element turns off, the water in the tank cools down and condensation occurs. This water corrodes the lining, so if you have poor quality, low-end heater chances are it’ll be toast in a few years.
Leaks from the base:
Other leaks can occur from holes or cracks at the bottom of your water heater where all the connections are made. If you’re having this problem, then take a look at the connections and valves. If you see any corrosion or damage, then get a plumber over to fix it up right away.
A crack in your tank:
Maybe you want to cut down on costs and purchase a new low-end water heater (who’s going to know? but before you do ask yourself if there is a crack somewhere in the tank. If there is, then you’re going to end up with a massive flood! As such, before purchasing a new water heater check for cracks, and if there are any, it’s best to call your local plumber.
Leaking from the T&P valve:
The T&P valve allows gas and air to escape whenever there’s a water pressure build-up in the tank. When it does this, it automatically releases the gas and shuts itself off before letting out any water. This prevents damage to your house or your heater, so if you hear hissing sounds when hot water is running then get someone to fix it ASAP! If you don’t, then you can expect your heater to corrode or rust, causing serious damage.
Regular maintenance is the key factor in prolonging the life of a water heater. A little bit of elbow grease can go a long way when it comes to this job!
With that being said, I hope that this article was helpful in clarifying how long a 50-gallon water heater lasts. If you have any questions about the lifespan of your current or prospective water heater purchase, don’t hesitate to comment down below!