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Old 04-26-2010, 11:08 AM
 
351 posts, read 707,822 times
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Default What's the general life expectancy of a hot water heater?

What do they cost to replace, plus labor? I seem to remember buying one for about $250 at my old house, but that was with the free labor of my dad who doesn't live nearby anymore.
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
4,475 posts, read 8,090,496 times
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Typical these days is supposed to be 10-12 years. More than that is bonus territory. We had to replace one this winter, and I want to say tank + labor was around $750 for a mid-level 50 gallon tank. Installer took care of the permit and hauled away the old tank. In theory we could have fixed the drip and replaced the heating coil for less, but it was at least 20 years old, and repairing didn't make sense at that age.

One nice thing is that it does seemed to have caused a drop in our electric bill. The old heater was old enough that I suspect we were getting a real loss in efficiency in terms of how well the heating coil was doing, and the new one seems to be much more efficient.
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:21 PM
 
Location: somewhere where i dont know where i am
73 posts, read 279,816 times
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usually they last a day past their warranty! prices vary, a 40 gallon 10 year gas water heater averages about $1000 in the boston area.
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Australia
7,625 posts, read 1,413,848 times
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I've had 3 water heaters over the years... all different brands and different sizes. Each of them expired in their 11th year. My current water heater will have its 11th birthday next year!
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Old 04-26-2010, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
11,397 posts, read 25,413,162 times
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Coil efficiency is always 100% for an immersed coil. You more likely saved because of improved insulation. They have improved that significantly.

I must be blessed with water heaters, I've never had to replace one of my own, and most were in the bonus time category and then some. Maybe they know I have a couple of spares and if they don't behave they'll land on the junk pile?
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Central Fl
2,900 posts, read 6,344,757 times
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There are a few variables here.
1) quality of the heater
2) Water quality

I know a town in NY that has such bad water that water heaters never last more then 5 years, even with anode replacement. I have seen other heaters last over 25-30 years.........but that is rare.

According to NAIB 1997 and Freddie Mac 2002, they state average life span for an electric water heater is 10-15 years, and a gas one 15-18 years. I think that could be optimistic.

Personally, I think anything over 10 years is closer to end of expected useful life. At my Florida home, where I am only there a couple of times a year, I replaced mine last year. It was about 14 years old, and was working fine and had no leaks.........but since I could do it myself, I decided to replace it on MY time, so I would not have an emergency when I was 1300 miles away.

I bought a good 12 year warranty heater with two anodes, better copper elements and good insulation and glass lining. It cost me about $325, and I installed it myself. I do not know how much a plumber would charge...I suspect it would be 2-3 times that cost. With electric water tanks, I suggest staying away from the "fancier" ones that have the circuit board controller on the top of it. They are problematic and difficult to replace when they go bad. Keep it simple.

I have also installed a few tankless water heaters, but that is a whole different topic.

Frank
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
597 posts, read 1,978,099 times
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Water heater lifetime depends on a lot of things, like where it is installed, the quality/chemistry of the water coming into it, and if you flush the sediment like the manufacturer suggests. Water heaters installed in a damp crawlspace don't last as long as water heaters installed in a dry garage, or in an interior room. Water heaters that have several inches of sediment at the bottom of the tank don't last as long as water heaters that are drained once a year (or the house has a filter). And, although I don't know which ones are better than others, the brand probably matters as well.

Replacement cost depends on gas vs. electric, how accessible the water heater is, whether or not you get a permit, and whether or not other work has to be done to meet code. Impossible to estimate sight-unseen.
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,958 posts, read 7,728,192 times
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Other than the quality of the heater you buy the ph of the water matters to a great degree. Hard water (lot's o lime) will kill any heater quicker than soft water will. In fact, hard water will kill a water heater so quick you need to put quick disconnects on the pipes!

We have very hard water where we live and I've had 5 water heaters in 40 years due to the water.

P.S. A water softener will help but I can't climb stairs to add salt to a softener so we don't have one.
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:41 PM
 
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Then again anyhtign beyond the warrnmty period now days is normal. But then agian the cost of the heaters hasn't risen much in years.
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:49 PM
 
Location: South of Houston
419 posts, read 1,183,083 times
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We just replace a 24 year old electric one about 2 years ago and we're on well water. Total cost, including haul out the old one, was about 400 bucks. The unit is on the 1st floor and easily accessible via an exterior door. I believe most of the cost of any installation is location of the HW heater. Yeah, it's gonna cost you more if its in the attic.
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