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Thread: hot water tank life span

  1. #1
    DIY Member rburt5's Avatar
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    Default hot water tank life span

    About how long does a typical hot water tank last? Mine is from 1996 and I'm thinking about starting to save up for a new one. My house has very hard well water - in case that matters.

  2. #2
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Start saving, most last from 7 to 10 years. Yours is over do.

    John

  3. #3
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Assuming it's a NG WH, and assuming my samples are representative of all NG WHs, the avg. replacement age is 17 yrs, +/- 3 yrs.
    Wearout age, when you get an increasing failure rate for each component, is equal to or longer than this.

    Given that it has survived this long, you have an even chance of making it to ~19 yrs.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 12-22-2009 at 02:09 PM.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member curlysir's Avatar
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    It depends on your location and quality of water. In the Texas panhandle where I lived for 30 years, 10 years life was very unusal, 6 to 7 was average. Water was hard and corroded the plumbing and appliances. Where I live now in east Texas I replaced a 12 year old heater that when I examined it after removal was in good shape. I replaced it based on my previous experience which did not apply in this location. Water here is much better and plumbing has much longer life.

    From your descripition I would say yours is getting close to the life expectancy.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    It probably also depends on how hard you run it. If you have 6 people in a household, use several times the Energy Guide quantity of hotwater and crank the temp. up it will likely die much sooner than a heater running 30 F cooler and fired less frequently.

    While running a higher temp could result in less total water throughput there are at least two major negatives with regard to heater life: 1. Wall/flue temps will be higher, and corrosion rates generally increase rapidly with temperature. 2. The mineral carbonates in water generally have retrograde solubility--meaning that they precipitate more easily at higher temperatures. The is the opposite of most other solids which dissolve more readily as the solvent (water) becomes hotter.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default life

    They last from ONE DAY to 25 years, depending on whether it is gas or electric and how much water you use.

  7. #7
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I've installed a couple on one day'rs.
    Kind of disappointing when that happens.

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default Heater

    The only good thing is that the manufacturer does give a slight cash payment when it happens.

  9. #9
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Default one day

    "infant mortality" failures, due to factory defects
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_curve

    Anybody have replacement ages for resi. NG or resi. elec. WHs that I can add to my spreadsheet?

    The reasons for failures are another issue.

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