A rusting water heater with a pool of water at the base.

What’s the Life Expectancy of My Water Heater?

On average, storage tank water heaters have a life expectancy of around 10 to 15 years. Meanwhile, most modern tankless water heaters are rated to last for at least 20 years. However, maintenance can have a big impact on a system’s durability. Poorly serviced water heaters often fail much sooner than expected. Here are a few red flags that indicate your unit is due for replacement.

5 Symptoms of a Failing Water Heater

Dirty, Discolored Water

If your hot water starts to look dirty, don’t wait to call a licensed plumber. Your system could be suffering from internal rust. Storage tank units are designed with a sacrificial anode rod designed to inhibit corrosion. Unfortunately, far too many homeowners fail to replace this critical part at the recommended intervals. Once the tank begins to rust away, your only option will be to purchase a new water heater.


Leaky water heaters can cause a lot of property damage. This is why you should regularly inspect your unit for leaks. Often, leaks stem from a loose drain valve or pipe connection that needs to be tightened. However, a pool of water underneath your appliance could also indicate that it is corroding from within. 

Related: Check Out These Products to Increase Your Water Heater's Efficiency

Strange Noise

Water heaters are designed to operate quietly. When you start to hear strange sounds, there’s obviously something wrong. As mineral deposits begin to build up, it’s not uncommon for a water heater to become noisier than usual. The system may simply need to be drained and flushed. On the other hand, your water heater could be on its last leg.

Poor Heating

Poor heating is a definite cause for concern. When multiple people need to shower within a short period, old water heaters often can’t handle the extra workload. If you begin to run out of hot water regularly, it’s time to call a licensed plumber to check things out.

Steeper Energy Bills

An old, worn-out water heater can cause your monthly energy bills to rise. Over time, efficiency will only become worse.

The Richmond water heater installations pros at Mercy Plumbing are prepared to help! Call (832) 734-9731 to schedule your appointment.