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How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

A hand reaching under a running shower to test the water temperature.

You depend on your water heater for a lot of things. Think about how miserable you would be without your hot shower in the morning!

The water heater is a staple in your home, one you don’t think about until there’s something wrong with it.

Sometimes all it needs is a repair by a plumbing professional. But eventually, your water heater is going to be beyond help.

Many people are surprised when they have to replace their water heaters, mostly because they don’t have a clue how long their lifespan is.

So how long do water heaters last?

A Water Heater Should Last Between 8- 20 Years Depending on the Type

The length of your water heater’s life will depend on not only how well you take care of it, but what kind of water heater it is.

Hot Water Tanks

A properly installed and high-quality hot water tank will last between 8 to 12 years. Like everything else, time and consistent use will wear down the tank.

The inside of your tank will go through a process called electrolysis, which means that corrosive particles are pulled to an anode rod to protect the tank lining. That rod will eventually stop doing its job, and the lining will begin to corrode. This isn’t a health risk – it just means that your tank is reaching the end of its life.

Check out the water heating options between boilers vs. water heaters!

Tankless Water Heaters

A tankless water heater can last as long as 20 years. This system is used on an as-needed basis, which means that it isn’t constantly in use, like a hot water tank. This gives it a longer lifespan.

When Should You Replace Your Water Heater

Keep an eye out for these signs that you should replace your water heater.


As we mentioned before, age is a big factor when it comes to determining whether or not it’s time for a replacement.

Keep track of when you purchased your water heater, or get the date from the home’s previous owners if you’ve inherited an existing system.

Tip: You can also check your water heater’s serial number if you don’t have the date available.

It Starts Leaking

When something leaks that’s not supposed to, that’s always a bad sign. A tank filled with hot water? Definitely not good.

This sign is more specific to hot water tanks, as tankless water heaters have a water supply shutoff.

A leaking hot water tank won’t just cause damage to your home; it could also end up causing your utility bill to skyrocket.

It’s important to check your water heater tank regularly for leaks. The older the tank gets, the more likely it’ll develop problems like leaks.

It’s Making Odd Noises

Are you hearing clunking, banging, and other weird noises from your hot water tank? This is another sign that your water heater needs to be replaced.

Water heater tanks often get sediment buildup, which will eventually impact the way your water heater sounds.

If you do hear loud noises coming from the tank, call a professional to come to check on it. The diagnosis may be a new system.

The Water is Discoloured

Discoloured water is a clear sign that your water heater needs some attention. Always be on alert for tinted or rusty-looking water.

When you see discoloured water, the first thing to do is double-check where it’s coming from. If it’s only your hot water that’s tinted, its a sign that your water heater needs to be looked at. Sometimes all a hot water tank will need is to be flushed out – particles from the water can accumulate on the bottom over time.

Try having a professional flush out your hot water tank, then check the water again. Still discoloured? It’s probably time to replace it.

If all of your water (hot AND cold) is discoloured, this could signal a bigger plumbing problem.

We Have Plenty of Options for Your New Water Heater

Whether you’re interested in a brand new tank water heater or looking to transition into a tankless water heater, we have them all.

We’ll give you a professional quote on our installation services, and help you choose the make and model that is right for your home.