Possibly one of the most forgotten household appliances in terms of care and maintenance is the humble hot water system. Many forget about it really until the hot water stops flowing usually in the cold of winter. It’s wise to think ahead, which raises the question, how long do hot water systems last?
Whether you have a new hot water system installation or it’s getting on in years, the fact is we could all keep ours going a little longer than usual if we did more to look after it. Here is a look at their lifespan, how to extend it and more.
The average lifespan of a hot water system
The average lifespan depends a little on the type of hot water system you have. A continuous flow gas-powered hot water system can last 15 to 20 years with proper care. An electric hot water system has a lifespan of 8 to 12 years depending on whether it is a tank system or tankless. Your hot water system warranty is a good sign of how long it will last.
Extending the lifespan
As mentioned the variation in lifespan changes depending on its care. You could double its lifespan if you regularly have it serviced and maintained and respond quickly to issues as they happen. The minimum you can do is put it in an insulation jacket which reduces heat loss by between 25% to 45% but there is more. Here are four easy tips to extend the answer to how long do hot water systems last. It is best to have a local plumbing professional do these for you although there’s absolutely no harm in inspecting the unit yourself.
Check your TPR valve
The pressure valve is there to open and release the pressure as the heat builds and to prevent damage. When there are is a buildup of residue or sediment that can lead to the valve getting clogged. So check it a few times a year to make sure it is good. Just turn off the power and then open and close a few times. There should be some water being released when you do it. If there is not then you might need a new one.
A professional should do a maintenance flush yearly
Sediment happens, especially if you are in an area with hard water. It can do damage from corrosion as those particles sit and layer up and it makes the system have to work harder which lowers the lifespan. A maintenance flush gets rids of the sediment.
Anode rod needs checking
This attracts minerals that turn into sediment so it protects the system. But the rod has a lifespan of 3 to 5 years in tough areas, perhaps a bit longer elsewhere. So it should be checked annually and then replaced when it needs it.
Follow a consistent maintenance schedule
When you are consistent with the schedule you could avoid having to replace it for a lot longer. It is worth the investment. Also, take a look at your hot water system warranty to see what applies.
Replacing your hot water system
When it comes to the end of how long does a hot water system last and you are looking at replacements it is a good idea to consider your budget, how much hot water you need, how energy efficient you want to be and to talk to professionals about what they think would be best.
It can be hard when the time comes as it is a big investment but keep in mind with a new system you could actually save some money back on your bills so it is worth it. You also need to think about whether to have a water tank or go tankless. Also as well as the usual gas or electric hot water decision or you might decide for the third option more people are looking at, solar!
If you are looking at getting the most out of your system then you need to put a little money into maintaining it each year. Also, a hot water system warranty can help cover the cost of certain work for a time. This does just delay when you have to invest in a new hot water system, it prevents dangerous accidents and lessens to chances of you having problems with your hot water system throughout the year.