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Water Heater Life Expectancy & Troubleshooting Tips | Home Matters | AHS

The average electric hot water heater can last between 8 to 12 years. Here are 6 signs to help extend your water heaters life expectancy.

Contractor with water heater

Whether washing a load of clothes or taking a quick shower, we’re used to having plenty of hot water ready whenever we need it. You can expect the average electric hot water heater to last between 8 to 12 years.

Whether you have gas or electric, sometimes things can go wrong and that once overlooked modern luxury can suddenly become a major headache. The following early warning signs will help you identify if your hot water heater is in need of repair or replacement.   

6 Signs to Replace a Water Heater

Rusty Water

Your hot water heater is susceptible to corrosion. It’s true, that steel tank can and will eventually give way to rust. If you’re seeing rusty water, your hot water heater is sending you a clear sign that leaks could be on their way. Be aware – rusty water could also be a sign of corroded pipes. Either way, rusty water is a precursor to bigger problems and should be addressed immediately.


No Hot Water

While finding yourself in the middle of an ice-cold shower can be quite a wake-up call, there are other possibilities. First of all, your pilot light could be out. Second, your circuit breaker could be tripped. If both of those are fine, your heater could be at the end of its lifecycle.

Warm Water

Warm water is nice, but you didn’t buy a Warm Water Heater. If your water temperature is taking a dive, your heating element could be in danger of going out. Make sure your thermostat temperature is between 120 to 140 degrees, anything lower could provide warm, but not hot, water.



Banging, clanging, thumping – any loud, unexpected noise is a bad sign. As your hot water heater ages, you might hear slight noises as your hot water heater warms up, but pronounced sounds could be indicators of larger issues such as sediment build up in the bottom of the tank. As sediment builds up it can wear your heater down, causing inefficiency and accelerated wear and tear.



As time moves on and your hot water heater reaches the end of its lifecycle, the odds are you’ll be looking at a leak. Or leaks. After thousands of heating cycles, the inner-body of the tank will succumb and begin to expand. While the initial cracks and fissures may be small, they will widen with each ensuing cycle, resulting in costly leaks.

If you do find yourself in a situation where a new hot water heater is needed, take a moment to review your options. Maybe this is a chance to upgrade to a new tankless heater?  This is also a good opportunity to review your water heater warranty coverage. When you invest in an American Home Shield you will ll enjoy robust coverage for your water heater. Many parts and components of your water heater are covered. By staying informed and aware of water heater issues, you can avoid nasty leaks and cringe-inducing cold showers. 


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