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Hot Water System Lifespan

Hot water systems are pretty useful, especially during the cold season. You wouldn't want it to break down on you when you need a hot refreshing bath. More so, you should get good value from it. That is why you should make sure you get an excellent hot water system. As such, you may ask: "How long does a hot water system last?"

This post will consider the factors affecting a hot water system's lifespan. You can also read up on some signs of hot water system replacement. In addition, you can get some tips on how to make your hot water system last.

Factors Affecting A Hot Water System Lifespan

Before buying or replacing your hot water system, you may think about the following factors:

  • Types of hot water systems.
  • Construction material.
  • The quality of the water system.
  • The water quality in your area.
  • Level of the intended usage.

Types of hot water systems

Specifically speaking, there are two categories of hot water heating systems.

  • Instant water heaters (or continuous flow hot water systems).
  • Storage hot water systems (or tank water heaters).

Similarly, there are four types of hot water system services.

  • Electric hot water system.
  • Gas hot water system.
  • Solar hot water system.
  • Heat pump hot water heaters.

The expected lifespan of hot water systems can depend on whether it is electric, gas, solar, or instantaneous. It can also depend on whether the hot water system uses a storage tank or not.

Over time, the stored water is likely to corrode the tank. Conversely, instant hot water units may last longer since they do not hold water and use a simple mechanism. Many Australian homes use storage tank hot water systems.

Construction material

The material type is another important criterion of consideration. This factor may relate to the possibility of tank corrosion. Below are some guidelines on construction materials and their respective lifespan:

  • Glass and enamel-lined tanks – From 5 to 10 years or more.
  • Stainless steel tanks – From 8 to 12 years or more.
  • Heat pump hot water systems can last for roughly ten years or more.
  • Copper tanks usually last for up to 25 years or more.
  • Specific hot water systems have a tank with an expected lifespan of 15 years or more.

The quality of the water system

The higher the quality of your hot water system, the longer it can last. Commonly, hot water systems need replacement because of corrosion of the water tanks. As such, buying a high-quality tank can increase your hot water system lifespan by several years.

The water quality in your area

Some areas have poor water quality – or hard water. Such hard water can cause more frequent corrosion on the tank of hot water systems. In turn, this affects the hot water system's lifespan. That is why people who live in such areas should provide regular maintenance to extend the lifespan of their tanks.

The level of the intended usage

The heating elements of hot water systems undergo more strain with heavier usage.

How Long Does A Hot Water System Last?

Electrical hot water systems

On average, electrical hot water systems last between 10 and 15 years.

Gas hot water systems

The life expectancy of gas hot water systems is slightly shorter. On average, they last for between 8-12 years.

Solar hot water systems

You can typically expect your solar hot water system to last for 10-20 years.

Instant hot water systems

These can last for an average of 20 years.

Storage hot water systems

On average, these water systems have a life expectancy of roughly ten years.

Heat pump hot water systems

Heat pump water heaters have an average life expectancy of 15 years.

However, take note that the other factors also influence the life expectancies of electric or gas systems. After all, they have different stress levels and impact on heating components.

Hot Water Heater Replacement Signs

You do not have to refrain until a complete breakdown occurs. Replacing your hot water system can save you a lot of last-minute hassles. You can simply take action if you spot sure signs. Here are some of the signs.

The water is less hot

The water may be less hot than usual. Possibly, it may be running out too quickly. For example, your hot water now runs for three minutes instead of the standard ten.

However, do not hurry to replace your water heater. First, check the thermostat or heating element of the hot water unit. Low hot water pressure may have contributed to the situation. Likewise, the heating elements may have reduced efficiency.

A noisy tank

Aging hot water heaters can make hissing and sizzling sounds. Again, do not hurry to replace the hot water unit. First, check the relief valve. However, note that water hammers in pipes can cause thunderous noises.

Signs of corrosion

You may notice signs of corrosion in the tank. This can include accumulated rust or sludge.

Other common hot water system issues include the following:

  • Rusty water or brown-coloured water coming from the tap.
  • The water may be muddy or may contain sediment.
  • Water may start to pool around the base of the water heater.
  • Limescale may accumulate on plumbing surfaces.

Generally, if you think your hot water heater is malfunctioning, invite hot water heater experts to check it.

They may simply replace a faulty part. Other times, they may perform some plumbing inspections and suggest some drainage solutions for fixing blocked drains. Furthermore, they may tell you it's time to replace the hot water system.

How To Make Hot Water Systems Last

Some regular maintenance can indeed make your hot water system last longer. You can take the following steps.

Regular plumbing maintenance and replacements

  • After installation, get licenced local plumbers to check your hot water heater regularly.
  • They can quickly replace the anodes in hot water tanks to increase their lifespan.
  • Replace your pressure and hot water tempering valves as necessary.
  • In addition, replace hot water tanks showing signs of wear and tear.
  • Moreover, regular inspections can reveal cracks and corrosion. This is useful if your hot water system leaks.
  • Emergency plumbers can perform some water leak detection on your hot water system. Then, they rectify the issue.
  • Do a maintenance flush every year. This takes care of accumulated sediment. This is quite relevant if you have hard water.
  • Likewise, local plumbers may use water softeners.

Upgrade hot water units when due

A frequent breakdown can signal you need to upgrade your hot water heater. Perhaps, it has lasted between 10 to 12 years. Confirm this by checking the manufacturer's label for the manufacturing date. It should be on the upper section of the cylinder.

Sometimes, you may only see a serial number. Look it up on the manufacturer's website.

Tips On Buying A Hot Water System

The capacity of the unit

Your hot water system should not be larger than your household needs. This way, you can save some initial and running costs.

Government regulations

Check government regulations in your area when replacing old systems with similar ones. There may be some restrictions due to green initiatives.

Insulation jacket

You can add an insulation jacket for new hot water system installations. This helps to reduce heat loss.


Check if your hot water heater is still under warranty with the manufacturer. If yes, you can contact them. If the warranty covers the water heater problem, you may save some money.

Reputable brands of water heaters

When purchasing a brand-new water heater, you should consider all factors. Think about pricing, customer service options, reliability, and brand. Here are some reputable and popular brands you could opt for.

  • Rheem hot water systems
  • Bosch hot water systems
  • Thermasol hot water systems
  • Dux hot water systems
  • Rinnai hot water systems
  • Vulcan Hot Water systems

Hot water installations

Ideally, it would be best if you utilised a qualified plumber for your hot water installations. They can fit the system correctly and ensure it functions well.

Get Help From Plumbing Professionals

The process of getting a hot water system installed or having hot water replaced can hold some risks. That's why it is recommended first to turn off the power to the water system. If you do not feel confident performing tasks like installing a new tank, you should call plumbing professionals.

The same suggestion applies when troubleshooting various kinds of hot water systems. Meanwhile, there are multiple repairs and plumbing maintenance issues they can help you with.

  • Kitchen plumbing: That blocked sink can be fixed in a bit of time.
  • Bathroom plumbing: They can handle leaking taps repair in easy steps. Likewise, you can leave your leaking shower repairs to them.
  • Toilet plumbing: You do not have to stress over changing a toilet cistern or any leaking toilet.
  • Drainage solutions: After performing drain inspections, they may implement solutions such as pipe relining.
  • Emergency plumbing: For instance, you can call them to fix blocked drains or blocked stormwater drains.
  • Gas fitting services: These plumbing companies usually have competent gas fitters to meet your needs.
  • Plumbing Installations: You can patronise them for various plumbing installations. This can include water filter installations or dishwasher installations.

Contact Local Plumbers

There you have it. From the above guide, you should know how long your hot water system can last. Ultimately, your hot water system can do more for you with the proper maintenance and servicing.

If you come across a problem in your hot water system that you cannot figure out, don't hesitate to get in touch with local plumbing experts. A DIY solution might not get to the bottom of the issue. You might even cause more damage, which will cost you a lot of money to fix.