Should You Proactively Replace Your Water Heater?

Plumber fixing a water heater

Your water heater delivers hot water throughout your home. If you’ve ever felt the icy grip of an unexpected cold shower, your water heater is often the culprit. But how can you know when to replace it? What can you do to avoid breakdowns? Let 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10 HBW) offer you some tips, info, and ideas.

Should You Proactively Replace Your Water Heater?

Not necessarily.

If your water heater shows no signs of wear and tear, provides hot water regularly, and isn’t making funny noises, it’s likely in good shape.

However, as water heaters age, they are more likely to break down. So, if your water heater isn’t brand-new, here are a few things to watch for.

How Long do Water Heaters Last?

The life span of your water heater will depend on a few things:

  • Is it a tank or tankless?
  • How often do you use it?
  • How well do you maintain it?

Generally, a tank water heater will last about 10 years, while tankless water heaters can last as many as 20 years.

Do I Have a Tank Water Heater or Tankless?

Most homes have tank water heaters, typically located in your home’s boiler room, crawl space, laundry room, or garage. They’re often about 5–6 feet tall and cylindrical. A tankless water heater will look more like a circuit breaker panel.

A tank water heater compared to a tankless water heater

Tank vs. Tankless Water Heater

How Do I Maintain My Water Heater?

One of the most effective ways to maintain a tank water heater is to drain it at least once a year. With a little bit of time and the right tools, you can do it yourself!

Draining your water heater helps eliminate mineral sediment, which can damage your water heater over time.

Use our step-by-step guide to successfully drain your water heater. The most important things to do are:

  • Turn off all power and water supply to the water heater first.
  • LET THE TANK COOL FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES AND AS MANY AS 2 HOURS. We can’t stress this enough to help you avoid scalding or burning yourself.
  • Use a heavy-duty garden hose, not a cheap one.

Tankless water heaters generally need less maintenance than tank water heaters. Experts recommend a yearly maintenance check from a professional, especially to do three maintenance tasks:

  1. Clean/replace the water line.
  2. Clean the air filter.
  3. Descale/flush the system.

If in doubt about tankless water heater maintenance, consult your installer or a local plumber.

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A/C Unit

How Can I Know Something’s Wrong With My Water Heater?

There are several signs that something may be wrong with your water heater.

  • Your water doesn’t get hot or takes forever to get hot. If draining it doesn’t solve the issue, you may need to call a professional.

If you have a Home Service Plan from 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10 HBW), we can help you find the right technician to diagnose and address the issue!

  • The tank feels hot to the touch.

Your water heater tank should always feel cool to the touch. If it’s hot, it may be in the middle of breaking down.

When testing your tank for temperature, use the back of your hand and slowly touch it to avoid burns. If you can feel heat before you even touch it, don’t touch it!

  • You notice water leaking out of it.

A leaky water heater can also cause lower water pressure. Check the base of your water heater regularly. You can also install a water monitor to help you keep track. In fact, some home insurance companies will offer discounts for having them!

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Protect Your Water Heater With 2-10 HBW

A big benefit of being a 2-10 Member is you can access coverage that protects your budget against water heater breakdowns. Your 2-10 HBW Home Service Plan could help you find the right expert and have a solution to an expensive, inconvenient breakdown to your water heater.


Protect more,
pay less with 2-10

Low-cost home service plans.

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