How Long Should a Water Heater Last in Florida?
August 23, 2021
Traditional tank-style water heaters should last around 10 years.
The hard water in Florida can ultimately reduce the overall lifespan of your water heater. Still, there are several things you can do to extend its life, including:
- Schedule regular maintenance
- Install a water conditioning system
- Insulate the water heater tank
We’ll review these tips in more detail below, but first, let’s take a look at potential signs that your water heater might be failing.
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Signs you might need to consider replacing your water heater
Certain signs might be red flags that you need to replace your water heater soon. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for these things, especially if you’ve owned your Florida home for several years and you haven’t had to replace the water heater yet.
Some of the most common signs that your water heater may fail soon include:
- It needs more and more frequent repairs
- Your water bills have spiked
- Its tank is leaking
- It doesn’t produce enough hot water anymore
- It produces rusty-colored hot water
- It’s 10 to 15 years old
The worst possible situation is for your water heater to die unexpectedly. So, if you notice several of the signs listed here, it’s best to contact a technician right away and have them inspect the water heater. A professional will be able to diagnose any issues and recommend the next steps depending on your needs and budget.
If none of the above signs apply to your water heater, that’s good news! Below are some tips that can help you extend its lifespan, so you get the most bang for your buck.
Schedule regular maintenance
The most important thing you can do to help your water heater last longer is to keep up with annual professional maintenance. Regular maintenance will keep all of the internal parts of your water heater working correctly, efficiently, and safely.
Ideally, you should get your water heater professionally serviced once a year by a certified plumber. During maintenance visits, the technician will do two main things: flush the water heater and check the anode rod.
- Flushing the water heater eliminates hard minerals like calcium and magnesium that build up in your water heater’s tank over time. This flushing process is critical in Florida because our hard water causes your water heater’s tank to accumulate sediment buildup more rapidly. When the buildup isn’t regularly flushed away, you could end up paying for more expensive repairs down the line to fix damage caused to the tank or heating element.
- Checking the anode rod is another important annual task. The anode rod is a long thin rod that runs down the inside of your water heater. It attracts corrosive minerals and keeps them away from the fragile steel liner inside the tank. Essentially, it sacrifices itself to prevent the inside of your water heater from becoming corroded, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as the sacrificial rod. Eventually, the anode rod will need replacement, but a professional will check it during yearly maintenance and swap it out if needed.
During a maintenance check-up, a technician will also catch any minor issues before they become major problems (and bills). Plus, by keeping up with your annual maintenance, you’ll also keep your manufacturer’s warranty valid!
Install a water conditioning system
A water conditioning system will reduce sediment buildup and corrosion inside your water heater’s tank.
Installing a water conditioning system will prevent sediment buildup inside the tank by altering the hard minerals found in our hard Florida water and manipulating the way they behave in water. By changing the chemical structure of these minerals, a water conditioning system will help prevent deposits from sticking to surfaces, like the steel insides of your water heater’s tank.
Insulate the water heater tank
If you have an older water heater, insulating its tank can save you 7-17% annually on your water bills, improve its efficiency, and extend its life.
Newer water heaters will already be well-insulated, but older units may not be. (TIP: If your water heater is warm to the touch, it needs additional insulation.)
Water heaters are rated and classified by their R-value, which measures thermal resistance (i.e., insulating effectiveness). If your water heater’s tank does not have insulation with an R-value of at least 24, you should consider insulating it with a pre-cut jacket or water heater insulating blanket.
- A water heater blanket is a flat blanket wrapped around a water heater's tank to insulate it. Depending on how much insulation your water heater needs, the blanket's materials can consist of fiberglass, foil, and/or denim. They can be tailored to fit any water heater size and wrapped around the tank as many times as needed for the most effective insulation.
- A water heater jacket is very similar, except designed and pre-cut for a specific water tank. Not only are the jackets more visually appealing and professional, but they're also easier to wrap around the tank because they're custom-built for your tank.
Although you can get these materials and insulate the tank yourself, fiberglass blankets can be difficult to work with, and the process of cutting and fitting a blanket may take a long time.
Not to mention, if done incorrectly, you might accidentally overheat an electric water heater's internal wiring and cause a fire. As a result, it's best to leave the job to a professional who can provide expert guidance and ensure the tank is insulated correctly and safely with a blanket or jacket.
Need more water heater advice or installation? Call the trusted Florida pros at Advanced Air.
We can come to your home, inspect your water heater, and give you trusted professional advice on when and if you need to replace it. With a proven track record of excellence, you can always expect 5-star service from the team at Advanced Air for water heater installations.
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- Water Heaters