Hot Water Heater

Old Jan 5th 2008, 5:14 am
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Default Hot Water Heater

How long should a hot water heater last?

We have a two person office, and I think we are replacing water
heaters every 4 years.

We don't have much need for hot water (dishes, hands, etc.) and
often leave the water heater turned off at the electric box to save

There is a good deal of iron in the water, and even though we
have a filter on it, when the current heater started leaking (from
the bottom) there was evidence of iron build up.

Any suggestion would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Old Jan 8th 2008, 6:12 am
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Default Re: Hot Water Heater

Hi bostun,

The manufacturer would likely know the correct answer to your question. I have always estimated the life of a water heater at 10 years but there is no math to substantiate and that is just my observation. I have seen heaters that were 30 years old and still working. When I did a lot of water heater installations years ago it was not rare to have one leak within a month of installation. It varies widely.

The manufacturing process has improved since those days. Still it is a manufactured item and the processes that affect the life of the tank are difficult to perfectly control; such as the welding of the tank and the finishing process that involves the spraying of a glass coating inside the tank. That, combined with the shipping and handling of the tank, guarantees that not all tanks will arrive at their destination in the condition that the builder intends or desires. I suspect your experience has been more the luck of the draw rather than your water condition but I would quiz the installer and get his/her input. There may be something unique to your area they are aware of.

The normal standard warranty of most present-day water heater is 6-years so your tank should be under warranty. You would still have to pay the labor to install the new tank but if the tank leaks in the warranty period the manufacturer will provide a new tank to replace it with.

If you have data on what your water contains you could call the heater manufacturer and they may have information that would help. If your installer does a lot of heaters they will have an idea of what is going on and will be able to help you I am certain. However one thing that I do believe is that heaters that are not used much are more subject to corrosion and consequently failure. You allude that your heater may have long periods of non use and that may contribute to the longevity or lack of it. I have not evidence to back that notion with so it is just my thought. I believe that the manufacturer would have some helpful suggestions if you would give them a call. I understand that these days it is much easier to say than do (the telephoning) but if you are lucky you could get through to the engineering department.

I plan on doing just that myself (calling one of the manufactures) so if you want to get back to me in a few days I may have some better information. Or you may have other questions; do not hesitate to follow-up or you can email me direct at [email protected] .

Another thing you may consider is the point of use heaters. They are much smaller and can be less expensive. Due to the style of their construction they generally outlast the normal tank type heaters and are much less expensive to operate. They do not have great volume but for many offices they are adequate.

Good Luck
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