Water heaters are a critical part of any heating system. Without them, you wouldn’t have hot water for your bath, dishwasher, or sink. If you’ve had your water heater for a while and it seems to be slowing down, its lifespan might be on your mind. You might ask – how long should a water heater last?

A water heater that operates with the traditional tank should last anywhere from 8-12 years. A tankless water heater is different – this one can last up to twenty years if taken care of properly.

Are you interested in learning more about the lifespan of your water heater? You’ve come to the right place! Read on to learn more about the lifespan of a water heater and how you can plan for replacement when the time comes. There’s quite a bit to cover, so let’s get started!

How Do You Know When Your Water Heater is Dying?

We’ve covered how long a water heater should last. However, this can vary from system to system. If you’re uncertain of the age of your water heating system, there are a few signs you can look for that indicate your water heater might be on its last limb. Let’s go over a few of these so you can get ready for the water heater replacement process.

Some signs of a dying water heater include:
  • Foul-smelling water: If your system pumps out water that smells nasty, bacteria may have overtaken your system. Cleaning can solve this issue, but sometimes it might be too late.
  • Banging sounds: Banging sounds indicate calcium buildup. By the time the bangs start, it’s usually too late to fix this calcium layer. Clanking in the system is one of the strongest indicators that a water heater is about to die.
  • Lack of hot water: old water heaters can be finicky with the hot water they provide. Your water heater may be dying if it doesn’t produce what it used to in the past. This case is especially true if a lack of hot water happens more and more frequently.
  • Hard water: Hard water can damage the water heating system. This damage is noticeable by the white limescale appearing on the plumbing. This buildup can shorten your heater’s life by almost two years.

Anything that seems out of the ordinary could be an indication that your water heater needs replacing.

If you notice banging sounds, no hot water, and signs of hard water, it might be time to consider getting a new water heater system. Contact a plumber if you feel like you need a professional opinion. A Lennox water heater is one of the best choices if you end up needing a replacement for your home.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Water Heater?

Replacing a water heater can be expensive, which is why it’s critical to wait until your water heater is completely done before replacing it. On average, it costs about $1,200. This price can vary depending on the type of heater installed and the company hired to complete the process.

Water heater replacements are not cheap, so it’s critical to ensure that repairs aren’t possible before deciding to invest in a new system. If your repairs cost more than $1000, it makes more sense to replace them. If they’re cheaper than that and your heater is young, go for repairs instead.

Is it Possible to Plan for a Water Heater Replacement?

It’s possible to plan ahead of time for water heater replacement. Planning is critical because it gives you time to set aside money for this large expenditure. There are a few things you can do to ensure that you are somewhat prepared for the end of your water heater’s life.

Some of the ways you can prepare for replacing a water heater include:
  • Noting age: Check out your water heater’s age so you know how much time it has left. Plan for it to die a year or two before the average.
  • Watching for signs: Watch for the signs we talked about above.
  • Setting aside money: Set aside money, a little at a time, to save up enough for a quality water heater replacement.

These will keep you organized and ready at all moments.

It’s critical to contact a plumber to see if your system needs repairing or replacing. They’ll help you make the right call for your home.

How Can You Make Your Water Heater Last Longer?

There are several things you can do to make your water heater last longer. By taking these actions, you can keep your water heater for much longer than anticipated.

To make your water heater last longer, you can:
  • Flush the tank: Once a year, you should flush the tank to get rid of anything building up inside the system.
  • Space it out: Give the water heater space where you put it to allow simplicity when performing maintenance.
  • Install insulation: Add insulation to the water heater to prevent condensation and keep the water warm when it gets cold.
  • Add a water softener: Install a water softener to prevent hard water from destroying the pipes.
    Get it maintained: Get a yearly maintenance check from a professional to fix any issues.

These will make your water heater last longer.

If you take care of your water heater, it will care for you. Check on it often for the best results.


Water heaters are a critical part of a home, and they should last at least ten years. Several signs can indicate the end of a water heater’s life, and there are several things you can do to improve a water heater’s lifespan.

We hope this information was helpful! If you take care of a water heater, it should fill your home with hot water for a long time. There are plenty of ways to clean out the system and prevent life-shortening damage from happening.


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