by Marcus Pickett
Water heaters that use hot water tanks usually last about ten years. Naturally, this is only an average. If you get lucky and maintain your hot water tank, it might last you almost twice as long. On the other hand, it’s not unheard of for a water tank to fail after only two or three years. Tankless water heaters last considerably longer. In fact, some tankless water heater companies offer lifetime no-leak warranties with their systems. If it’s time to replace your water heater and don’t have huge water demands, a tankless water heater may be the way to go.
Water Heater Repair
Water heaters can fall into disrepair for any number of reasons. Sediment deposits can form at the bottom of your tank causing popping sounds when the burners ignite. Thermostats can malfunction or fail entirely. A broken dip tube can mix incoming cold water with the outgoing hot water. Uncontrolled thermal expansion can cause dangerous pressure levels and burst pipes. These and other less common problems can result in a loss of hot water, excessively hot water, or plumbing damage.
Water heater repair is a job best left to the professionals, but be sure to take an active role when deciding whether to have your water heating system repaired or replaced. Ask how much the repair will cost, how much it would cost to replace the water heater, and how much longer your system can be expected to last once the repair is complete.
Replacing Water Heaters
If you do need to replace your water heater, you have several decisions to make. The most basic decision is whether or not you want a tankless system. Not only do tankless systems last longer, they are more energy-efficient. They are often cheaper, depending on the size and number of water heating units you buy. The drawbacks for tankless water systems usually involve performance.
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