How Long do Electric Water Heaters Last?

Electric water heaters function by using electrical resistance coils to heat water stored in a tank, providing a consistent supply of hot water for your household. Want to learn more about what you can expect from going electric? In this blog, we will talk about the lifespan of electric water heaters, key maintenance information, and important information to keep in mind before making the switch. 

Understanding the Lifespan of Electric Water Heaters

If you own or plan to invest in an electric water heater, it’s important to know how long they typically last. The lifespan of these heaters can greatly affect your budget, maintenance needs, and household energy management. Understanding their life expectancy will help you make informed decisions about potential replacements, maintenance, and energy usage.

  • Average Lifespan ExpectancyElectric water heaters are generally expected to serve efficiently for 10 to 15 years. This is an average estimation, and individual experiences may differ. Factors such as usage patterns and local water quality can influence the actual lifespan of these appliances. While some may last for over 20 years with proper maintenance, others may require replacement after just a few years.
  • Impact of Heater Model: The electric water heater model significantly influences its longevity. Various models come with different build qualities, designs, and technological advancements, contributing to their overall durability and functional life. For example, tankless water heaters may have a longer lifespan than traditional tank storage models. Similarly, electric heat pump water heaters are comparatively durable due to their advanced technology.
  • Quality of Installation: The way an electric water heater is installed also plays a role in determining its lifespan. A properly installed heater will likely face fewer operational issues, whereas a poorly installed one can suffer from increased wear and tear, reducing its efficiency and lifespan. This is why it’s essential to hire a professional installer who can ensure proper placement and connection of the heater.
  • Importance of Regular Maintenance: Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to mineral buildup, corrosion, and other issues that can significantly impact the functionality and lifespan of the heater.

How Regular Maintenance Can Help Electric Water Heaters Last

While some factors aren’t controllable, properly maintaining your electric water heater almost always results in a longer lasting and more efficient system.

  • Regular Descaling: Due to the buildup of minerals from hard water, it’s important to descale or de-lime the heat exchanger annually. This process involves circulating a vinegar or specialized descaling solution through the system to remove the buildup.
  • Cleaning Air and Water Filters: Regularly clean or replace the air intake and water filters to make sure the flow is not interrupted. Clogged filters can cause the system to work harder, reducing its efficiency and lifespan.
  • Checking the System: Inspect the water heater for any signs of wear or damage, particularly around electrical connections and components. If any issues are found, it’s important to address them promptly before they escalate into significant damage.
  • Hiring a Professional: For complex tasks or annual checks, consider hiring a professional to ensure your water heater is maintained correctly and safely. Professionals have the necessary tools and expertise to perform maintenance tasks effectively while also identifying any potential problems.
  • Consulting the Manual: Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific maintenance recommendations and instructions tailored to your model.
  • Timely Part Replacements: Proactive replacement of parts that show wear and tear, such as thermostats and heating elements, can prevent bigger issues. Keeping these components in good condition is key to the smooth operation of your water heater.
  • Address Minor Issues Early: Tackling small problems as soon as they arise, like minor leaks or unusual noises, can prevent them from turning into major repairs. Paying attention to these issues can save time and money in the long run.

By adopting a proactive approach, the lifespan of an electric water heater can be extended beyond its typical lifespan. This not only ensures consistent hot water availability but also lessens the risk of costly repairs or replacement, contributing to long-term savings. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when maintaining your water heater.

Signs Your Electric Water Heater Is Failing

While regular maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of your electric water heater, like any appliance, it won’t last forever. Understanding the warning signs that your water heater is nearing the end of its life can help avoid disruptive and potentially costly breakdowns. These indicators allow you to arrange for a replacement before complete failure. Here are some common signs that your electric water heater is starting to fail.

  • Inconsistent Water TemperaturesVariability in water temperature is a common red flag. If you’re experiencing water that’s sometimes hot, sometimes cold, without any clear reason, it could suggest element failure or a buildup of sediment.
  • Strange Noises: Banging, popping, or whining noises can indicate a range of issues, including sediment accumulation at the bottom of the tank or issues with the heating elements.
  • Leaks: Water pooling around the heater or moisture along pipes can signal leaks. Even small leaks can lead to bigger problems, so it’s important to address them promptly.
  • Rising Energy Bills: An unexpected increase in energy bills can be a symptom of a water heater working overtime to heat the water, possibly due to a failing thermostat or a sediment build-up.

If any of these signs start to appear, it’s time to seriously consider a replacement for your electric water heater. It’s always better to take proactive measures rather than dealing with an emergency, especially when hot water is needed in the colder months.

Advantages of Upgrading to Heat Pump Electric Water Heaters

If you are currently debating on switching to an electric water heater, upgrading to a heat pump electric water heater is an excellent choice for homeowners.  We recommend the Rheem Performance Platinum electric water heater.

  • Exceptional Rebates and Tax Credits: Electric water heaters are currently an excellent choice for energy savings, especially given the attractive rebates. Homeowners can benefit from significant savings with around $1200 in rebates and an additional $600 tax creditfrom the government. These incentives make them a financially appealing and environmentally responsible choice.
  • Long-Term Warranty and Advanced Features: These water heaters come with a 10-year warranty and are equipped with Built-in EcoNet Wi-Fi technology, which allows remote management of hot water and energy usage tracking, offering convenience and peace of mind.
  • Energy Efficiency and Environmental Benefits: Heat pump electric water heaters are extremely energy-efficient, reducing utility bills. Estimated annual energy cost savings of up to $315, which can amount to $3,150 over 10 years. They also have the added advantage of producing no carbon emissions, making them an eco-friendly option.

In light of President Biden’s discussions about outlawing natural gas tank heaters, switching to an electric water heater is not only a smart financial decision but also a step towards a more sustainable future.

Electric Water Heater Installation and Repair with Nearby Plumbing

The lifespan of an electric water heater is typically anywhere between 10 to 15 years. However, this range is not set in stone and can be influenced by several factors, such as the model of the heater, the quality of the installation, and the level of maintenance. Nearby Plumbing offers a full menu of electric water heater repair and installation services. If you’re ready to go electric or need help with a current water heater, contact us today for a free quote.