Unfortunately there is no easy answer to the question of how long a water heater should last. As a plumbing service company, Plumbing Professors technicians have seen water heaters over 25 years old still doing a fine job, and heaters 2 years old that produced no hot water. First let’s understand the two main types of water heaters.
CONVENTIONAL WATER HEATERS (Gas or electric):
As general rule, the conventional water heaters of today are considered “old” when they hit their teenage years. Understand that this is just a general rule, the hardness of your water, the amount of use and even the location can sometimes impact the unit’s lifespan. One thing for sure, a water heater is a dangerous device and should be treated with respect and maintained properly to insure safe operation. Conventional water heaters are the most popular water heater.
TANKLESS WATER HEATERS (Gas or electric):
Again, as a general rule a tankless water heater will typically last twice as long as a conventional water heater but will also be more expensive initially. Tankless heaters can last 15 to 20 years with only occasional routine maintenance required. They will also take up significantly less space than a conventional heater and will produce a non-stop stream of hot water which is what makes it great for people that have need for large amount of hot water; like filling a hot tub, like washing your car at home, like a teenage daughter that take very long showers…. While not as popular as a conventional water heater, probably do to the higher upfront cost, tankless water heaters are gaining in popularity every year. Like a conventional heater, you need to treat your tankless heater with respect and keep it maintained to insure safe operation and lots and lots of hot water.