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Home Owners: How long do water heaters usually last?

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Home Owners: How long do water heaters usually last?

Old 11-08-04, 04:30 PM
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Home Owners: How long do water heaters usually last?

I have a mini water heater that is elevated and stored in my closet (of all places). It's a mini because it's for a condo. It was built in June 1993 - no signs of it failing and when I had the condo inspected there was no issues with the inspection.

I just want to do preventative maint - i don't want to come home to a busted water heater... especially since it's in my closet w/ all of my clothes.

I've called around and gotten quotes ranging from $500 for a low, $1000 for a high. Average is about $700, installed.

I've been hearing from everyone that water heaters generally only last 10 years. Is this true or false?
Old 11-08-04, 04:36 PM
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Ours lasted 12..and then our water started to turn really brown from the lining starting to wear away.
Old 11-08-04, 04:40 PM
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I hear if you drain them every couple years by way of the spigot deal on the bottom they could last for many many years.
Old 11-08-04, 04:43 PM
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One of our neighbors had to replace their water heater last week in a house that was built in 1993. Theirs was just under 11 years old. I was looking recently and I seem to remember seeing something about the lifespan being 10-15 years. Just did a search and found average lifespans listed as 12-13 years.
Old 11-08-04, 04:46 PM
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Thank you very much for not calling it a Hot Water Heater.

My parents just replaced the one that came with their house and it was 27 years old. I used to work in the hardware business and I seem to remember being told that the small (mini) ones didn't last anywhere near as long as the full size units.

Last edited by Green Jello; 11-08-04 at 05:14 PM.
Old 11-08-04, 05:13 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far - this sums up my research.

Since I have to replace this sucker... what about the price? $700 a decent range?

Any particular brands I should watch out for? Sought after?
Old 11-08-04, 05:47 PM
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I hear this advertised on radio. It sounds like it could save you money in the long run with heating costs. It's a Japanese product so the quality is probably good.

The cheapest one is probably good enough for your needs.


http://www.noritzamerica.com/

Last edited by Giantrobo; 11-08-04 at 05:50 PM.
Old 11-08-04, 05:58 PM
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I too heard about the Noritz tankless water heaters on the radio so I looked them up recently. They seem to be much higher priced than other tankless heaters. Bosch is another brand of those that seems to be quite a bit less. Other than the high cost, they seem like a great solution. One issue with the tankless heaters is that they apparently require larger vent tubes than standard water heaters and that could be an issue in some cases.
Old 11-08-04, 06:42 PM
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i haven't heard of these tankless waterheaters - thank you for bringing this up. i will start researching this - if i can get tankless it would save a ton of space - and i don't have much space in this closet as it is!

seems like the price for the smallest one is 800 bucks, plus installation which would bump it up to the low $1000s.

anyone use this in their house? Any other brands of tankless water heaters i should research?
Old 11-09-04, 01:54 AM
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Ours is a '93 and I'm really hoping we don't have to replace it soon because they cost a lot. It looks like that may be the first major appliance to go though.

No problems with it at all so far though... the previous owner had the thing serviced every 6 months or so according to the stickers, which is very unusual, so maybe it will last longer than most.
Old 11-09-04, 03:50 AM
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I've lived in my home since Jan. 1987 and I still have my original water heater going strong.
Old 11-09-04, 06:54 AM
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So how many of you use a jacket around your water heater to insulate it? And how did you fit it? I have been meaning to get one for mine.

If it ever goes, I'm getting a tankless one. I could have a small bult in pantry if I got rid of the monster heater we have now!

But if it ain't broke.....
Old 11-09-04, 10:13 AM
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Originally posted by MitzEclipse
Thanks for the replies so far - this sums up my research.

Since I have to replace this sucker... what about the price? $700 a decent range?...
How does $200 or $250 sound? This is the price if you do the work yourself.

The other option would be to call around to plumbers, tell them that your father (or whoever) had bought you a water heater and you want the plumber to hook it up, how much would they charge? I assure you that the price won't be $500, though it might be $100 or so.

When you buy the water heater from, say, Lowe's (or Home Depot, Menards, etc), there may be a sign next to it saying "let us install it for $x". Keep in mind that whatever that price is, you can get it done for less if you call the plumber yourself. When I had a garage door installed a year ago I paid Lowe's $275 to do it (though I got a $50 rebate). When the installer came I recognized his company as being a well-known garage door company in my town (subcontracting for Lowe's in this case). I asked him how much they would charg to install a garage door if I had called them directly, it would have been $100 or $125.

Last edited by Heat; 11-09-04 at 10:16 AM.
Old 11-09-04, 12:55 PM
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Thanks for the tips again all...

I was planning on using this company that my parents and a coworker used. they seem to be the best quality and price in town. and they will install a tankless from home depot/lowes

To give more information, I have a 47 gallon water heater mini-tank that heats water in my 650 sq ft condo. The mini-water heater is elevated and is situated inside my closet. The current mini water heater was built and/or installed 9/93. I do NOT have gas in my condo, i only have electricity. The condo is an apartment style condo - on the 4th floor, in downtown seattle.

I would like to get something that I just need for the condo... something that will power the 1 shower, 1 dishwasher, and 2 faucets (kitchen/bathroom).

What kind of capacity will suffice? I went to home depot.com and there is an electrical tankless hotwater heater for about 450 bucks. See this link:

http://www.homedepot.com/prel80HDUS/...renderer=basic

Would this suffice? or should i be looking for something totally different? Are electric water heaters just as good as the gas water heaters? What about comparing to the tank water heaters? What about noise from the tankless water heaters? are they silent? Noisy?

Thanks for your help and tips!

Last edited by MitzEclipse; 11-09-04 at 01:01 PM.
Old 11-09-04, 01:23 PM
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Installing an electric water heater is relatively easy, see these links:

http://www.lowes.com/lkn?action=howT...tNavAppliances

http://id.essortment.com/waterheaterele_rzek.htm

If you do it yourself you will be saving some major bucks.

As for the tankless water heater, I know nothing about them. By the way, the link you provided above (to the water heater at Home Depot) didn't work.

As for which brand is better, etc, I really don't know, I've not shopped for water heaters before (though I probably will soon be, my gas water heater is ~ 18 years old).
Old 11-09-04, 04:03 PM
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We had to replace our 16 year old water heater last year.
Old 11-09-04, 06:59 PM
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Mine went earlier this year. It was a 50-gallon gas model from Sears, installed in 1974. My home warranty covered the cost and installation of a new one, and I'm hoping that I won't have to worry about it for another 30 years.
Old 11-09-04, 07:06 PM
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The harder your water is, the shorter the lifespan of your water heater will be.
Old 11-09-04, 07:13 PM
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Do you think it's going to just bust open one day? If it suddenly stops working either the elements or thermostat is out which are pretty easy to replace. Seems like a waste of money to buy a new one when there is nothing wrong with your current one. Draining it every few years will prolong it's life too.
Old 11-10-04, 01:19 AM
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I just want to jump on this discussion with a couple questions of my own.

Power consumption. Is is usually worth it to replace an older water heater with a newer one? Will it save a lot on the electric bill? How easy is it to install?

I have also heard that there are some sacrifice parts in a heater that should be replaced regularly (every few years) designed to extend the life of the heater. Anyone know anything about that?

Thanks.
Old 11-10-04, 07:44 AM
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I need to replace the pressure relief valve on mine. How hard is that to do? I have the part but have been puting it off for close to 6 months now.
Old 11-10-04, 12:42 PM
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Originally posted by schlitz100
Do you think it's going to just bust open one day?
That's what happened to our neighbors a week or two ago. They found their garage flooded.
Old 11-10-04, 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by tanman
I just want to jump on this discussion with a couple questions of my own.

Power consumption. Is is usually worth it to replace an older water heater with a newer one? Will it save a lot on the electric bill? How easy is it to install?

I have also heard that there are some sacrifice parts in a heater that should be replaced regularly (every few years) designed to extend the life of the heater. Anyone know anything about that?

Thanks.
If you have electric, you can't improve efficency much. The heater is in the water and all the heat goes into the water. The amount of insulation around the tank can reduce losses a bit, but you can buy a wrap-around insulation blanket.

With gas, efficiency is how much of the heat goes in the water vs, up the chimney. Newer models can be more efficient.

Some water heaters have a replacable zinc or magnesium anode which 'sacrifices itself' to protect the steel tank from corrosion (on some it is inside and you can't get at it). I don't know much about replacing them, but replacement should extend the life.

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