How Much Longer Will Your Water Heater Last
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How Long Does a Water Heater Last? A Guide

A Vredevoogd technician working on a residential water heater

A well-functioning water heater is essential for everyday comfort, yet most people don’t think about their water heater until it’s too late. If you’re wondering about the lifespan of your West Michigan water heater, find out more to help you avoid cold bursts of water and unexpected repair bills.

Water Heater Lifespan Explained

The average lifespan of a traditional water heater tank is eight to 12 years. On the other hand, tankless water heaters generally last 20 years or longer due to their design. Tankless units experience less wear and tear because they heat water on demand rather than storing it in a tank.

The factors that affect how long your water heater lasts include:

  • Maintenance: Regularly flushing the tank to remove sediment and replacing the sacrificial anode rod when it wears out can extend your water heater’s life.
  • Water quality: Hard water is tough on water heaters because of the mineral buildup it leaves behind. Installing a water softener may improve efficiency and help the appliance last longer.
  • Usage: High hot water demand forces your water heater to work harder, reducing the lifespan. Taking shorter showers and turning off the hot water when you don’t need it saves energy and reduces the strain on your water heater.
  • Installation: Professional installation is the key to preventing premature water heater failure.

Signs Your Water Heater Is On Its Last Leg

Replacing your water heater preemptively can prevent sudden and inconvenient breakdowns. Here are some common signs that your water heater might be nearing the end of its life.


If your tank-style water heater is over 10 years old or you’ve had your tankless unit for over 20 years, it’s likely nearing the end of its useful life. Consider replacing it before it fails completely.

Rusty Water

Copper-colored hot water may indicate the tank is corroding from the inside, impacting your water quality and leading to leaks. Rust around the water inlet or pressure relief valve is also a bad sign.

Insufficient Hot Water

A sudden drop in hot water supply or longer heating times might signal a failing heating element. Before you jump to conclusions, consider that sediment buildup might be to blame. Try flushing your water heater to see if that makes a difference.

Odd Noises

Another symptom of sediment buildup is rumbling, popping, or banging noises. As sediment heats up and hardens, it can move around the tank, causing noise and reducing efficiency. If flushing the tank doesn’t resolve the issue, it might be time for a new unit.

Water Leaks

Any water pooling around the base of your water heater is a cause for concern. Ensure it’s not merely condensation or a leaky valve that needs replacing. If the tank leaks, replace it immediately before it floods your house.

Frequent Repairs

If you’ve been scheduling repairs more often lately, putting your hard-earned cash toward a replacement might be better. The cost of repeatedly repairing your old water heater adds up fast, so a new unit might be more economical in the long run.

Schedule Water Heater Services With Vredevoogd Today

If your water heater is showing signs of wear or is over a decade or two old, it’s time to consider a replacement. Vredevoogd provides water heater repair and replacement services in West Michigan and surrounding areas, with experience dating back to 1964.

Our licensed, insured, and background-checked technicians offer same-day appointments and free replacement estimates. If you decide a new water heater is your best bet, we have various financing options to fit your budget.

Are you unsure about the condition of your water heater? Contact us today to request an expert evaluation or schedule water heater repair or replacement.

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Why Choose Vredevoogd?

Michigan’s HVAC & Plumbing Experts Since 1964
  • Serving the area for over 60 years
  • 24/7 emergency HVAC services
  • Same-day services
  • Licensed, insured & background-checked technicians
  • Free estimates & financing options
  • Military & veteran