Water Heater Limitations: Why The Limitations Exist, And How To Extend The Life Of The Appliance

Posted on: 16 October 2018

Water heaters do not last indefinitely. In fact, most of them are constructed to last somewhere between six and ten years. You will find that to be true when you purchase a water heater with either a six-year warranty or a nine-year warranty. There are reasons why water heaters have these limitations, and there are ways you can extend the life of your water heater a few extra months to a couple of extra years.


The biggest reason why water heaters do not survive long is that they create a chemical buildup of rust, lime, and calcium in the water. These heavier particles fall to the bottom of the inner tank in the appliance, creating a naturally corrosive sludge that eats away at the bottom of the tank. After years and years of this occurring, you have a mess inside the tank that has effectively "eaten" through the bottom of the tank and is now releasing all of the water that comes into the tank for heating.

Either water would need to be devoid of minerals completely (which is impossible), or the water would not be heated above a certain temperature. Not heating water continuously above a certain temperature results in colder, more tepid water that really has no valuable use, but fewer minerals would fall to the bottom of the tank. Additionally, the tank is double-layered using steel, but steel can, and often does, rust from the inside out.

How to Extend the Life of Your Water Heater

Water heaters, like furnaces and air conditioning systems, can have extended lives if they are well-cared for. For starters, these appliances need to be drained annually. There is a drain valve located at the bottom of every water heater. On or near the same date every year, open this valve and drain the appliance. Yes, it will be messy, but if you have a very low, very long and large collection pan, you can collect all the water that comes out. Do not be surprised to see solid flecks of material that look like rust or bits of metal coming out of the drain valve. That is quite normal and precisely the reason why you are doing this annual maintenance task.

You can also install a water softener at the same time you install a new water heater. The water softener reduces the amount of "hard" minerals in the water, which in turn reduces the damaging effects inside the water heater. Your water heater service technician can help with all of the above. For more information, contact a company like R & B Inc Heating & Air Conditioning.