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Ask F.H. Furr: How many years does a typical water heater last?

“… and what can I do to extend its life?” Submitted by Wanda W. of Fairfax, Va.

Most tanked water heaters last a little over 10 years, but in my opinion, it’s a good idea to start researching for a replacement after about seven years, especially when it comes to repairs for that age of heater. For the second part of you question, tanked water heaters, like anything else, can be made to last longer with proper care and maintenance.

I have a couple of suggestions that could potentially make your heater last a bit longer, try reducing the temperature to no more than 115F. This will provide comfortable hot water for most uses and add a few extra years onto the life of your water heater. Another great way to extend the life of your water heater is to remove sediment that gets in the way of heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. To do this, drain about a quart to a quart and a half of water from your tank every three months.

Because each water heater could be different, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations based on the type of water tank you have. But remember, if you need our help, we offer a plumber in your home absolutely FREE. So just give us a call at 703-690-0449 or email us at

Thanks, Wanda, for that great question! And if you have a question, feel free to submit below, and if your question is picked WIN a FREE gift card to Outback!

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