The average lifespan of current water heaters is 8-10 years without a second anode rod and 8-14 years with one. However, water heater costs have gone up as much as 25%, so if your heater is over 7 years old, you can save by replacing it now before the current supply runs out. Don’t just take our word for it, check out the KARE11 link below:
Newer Water Heater
If your heater is 4-6 years old there are things that you can do to prolong the life and increase the efficiency.
One thing you can do yourself is flush your heater once a year. This flushes the sediment out of the bottom of your heater that will otherwise build up and then the heater has to heat through thick layers of the sediment before it can heat the water, which decreases the efficiency and increases your utility bill.
Additional things that will also really help to prolong the life but are recommended you have a professional do is to replace the anode rod inside your tank, every 4 years.
If you do buy a new water heater now before the new ones are mandated, it is recommended you have a second rod put in by a professional when you buy it. When we sell you a heater and add the second anode rod it also extends the leak warranty an additional 4 years.
You can also test your Temperature Pressure Relief Valve (AKA TPR), which is also very important. This pressure relief valve would have a pipe coming out that goes down to the floor to drain the water should it ever open up for safety reasons. This valve is designed to open automatically if the pressure in your tank exceeds 150 lbs of pressure inside the vessel or exceeds 250 degrees, at which point water would flow out of the tube onto the floor. To test it, you lift the lever and allow a small amount of water to come out. The water coming out will be hot, be careful you don’t get burned. Do not test it if it doesn’t have a drain pipe. In this case, you’d want to have a plumber put one on. If water doesn’t come out, you want to have it looked at by a professional.
You should test this valve a minimum of once a year to make sure the waterway is open. The manufacturer suggests the relief valve should be inspected and replaced, if necessary, at least once every 2-4 years, depending on local water conditions.
Certain naturally occurring conditions may corrode the valve or its components over time rendering the valve inoperative. Such conditions can only be detected if the valve and its components are physically removed and inspected. They also recommend you do not attempt to conduct an inspection on your own but contact a plumber for a re-inspection to insure continuing safety. They issue a warning, stating: “failure to re-inspect this valve as directed could result in unsafe temperature or pressure build up which can result in serious injury or death and/or severe property damage.”