Tag Archive for: water heater

Knowing the approximate lifespan of your water heater is essential for a homeowner. Knowing when to replace it can help avoid the expense and stress of an unexpected breakdown. Various factors, including the type of unit, the quality of the installation, and the quality of maintenance, determine the lifespan of a water heater.

Gas Water Heater

Gas Water Heater

The most common types of water heaters are tankless and storage tanks. Tankless water heaters do not store hot water and use a heating element to heat the water on demand. Tankless water heaters are typically more energy efficient and have a longer lifespan than storage tank water heaters. Water heaters that are tankless usually last about 20 years.

Storage tank water heaters have a tank that stores a certain amount of hot water and use a heating element to keep the tank full. These water heaters are typically less energy efficient than tankless water heaters and have a shorter lifespan. The average lifespan of a storage-tank water heater is 8-12 years.

The quality of the installation is also a factor in determining the water heater’s lifespan. Poorly installed or incorrectly sized water heaters can cause problems such as leaks or even explosions. To ensure that your water heater is installed correctly, hiring a professional experienced with it is essential.

Maintenance is also crucial for extending the lifespan of a water heater. Regular maintenance, such as flushing the tank, checking for leaks, and replacing damaged parts, can help keep your water heater in good condition and prevent problems. Replacing the anode rod every few years can also help extend the water heater’s life.

Overall, the estimated lifespan of a water heater varies depending on the unit type, the installation quality, and the maintenance quality. Tankless water heaters typically last about 20 years, and storage tank water heaters last 8-12 years. To ensure that your water heater is in good condition, it is essential to hire a professional for installation and perform regular maintenance.

A water heater tank should be installed inside a water heater drain pan in a dwelling where a leak from the tank could cause damage to the structure or property.  The pan is intended to catch water leaks from the tank or associated connections or condensate from the tank.  The pan should be made of galvanized steel or other approved material.  Pre-fabricated aluminum and plastic pans are standard and widely used.  Aluminum and plastic pans may not be allowed by every authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) or code official because they are not made of galvanized steel, and some tank manufacturers require a metal pan only.

Water Heater Drain Pan

Water Heater Drain Pan

A relief-valve pipe terminating into a water leak catch pan is not permitted because the pan is not an indirect waste receptor.  Most pans have only a ¾-inch-diameter drain outlet, which is incapable of using gravity to drain the pressurized discharge of the relief valve at full flow.

The pan should not be less than 1-1/2 inches deep.  The pan should be of sufficient size and shape to catch all dripping water or condensation leaks.  The pan should be drained by an indirect waste pipe having a minimum diameter of 3/4-inch.  The pan drain must not be reduced in size over its entire length because a reduction will act as a restriction and will impede the discharge.

The pan must not connect directly to the drainage system.  The water heater drain pan should terminate over a suitably located indirect waste receptor or floor drain or extend to the exterior.  An air gap must be provided to prevent backflow when the pan drain terminates into an indirect waste receptor or a floor drain.  When the pan ceases at the exterior of the dwelling, it should terminate at least 6 inches and, at most, 24 inches above the adjacent ground surface.  This makes the pan low enough not to be a nuisance and high enough to prevent the pan drain from becoming blocked by vegetation, snow, or ice.

Is Your Water Heater Earthquake Safe

Water heater earthquake strapping is critical in California, where earthquakes happen on a regular basis. From San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles to San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento, damage from earthquakes in homes and businesses can happen without warning. Most of us never think about our water heater’s safety before an earthquake takes place.

The law in California requires that your electric or gas water heater must be properly secured to a wall. These laws are in place so that water heaters will not tilt or fall during an earthquake episode and lead to a flood or fire in your home. All apartments, offices, homes, multi-family properties, and public buildings are required to have their water heater strapped securely.

water heater strapping

Your water heater also holds available cooking and drinking water in the event of an extended power outage. New laws regarding strapping help to keep water heater tanks in place. Strapping types and attachment hardware rules have been upgraded for safety since the Northridge earthquake of 1994 and the Loma Prieta quake of 1989.

If your water heater is older, you might want to have it inspected by a water heater professional installer. They will ensure that you have the safe and correct strapping that is necessary. They will also make sure the correct connectors and lines are installed and strapping and wall attachments can be upgraded.

Water Heater Strapping Things to Know

  • 30, 40 & 50-gallon water heaters require 2 straps
  • 75 & 80-gallon water heaters require 3 straps
  • 100-gallon water heaters require 4 straps
  • Strapping must be placed properly- the top 1/3 and the lower 1/3 of the water heater must be strapped to prevent rocking and tipping.

If you personally would like to determine if your water heater earthquake strapping is correct and find out if it is current to California law. Earthquakecountry.org offers some good tips for proper attachment.  https://www.earthquakecountry.org/step1/waterheater/

Signature Home Inspection has inspected thousands of water heaters in California to determine if they meet earthquake code standards. We would be happy to help you determine if your water heater, for the safety of your family and your neighborhood is properly strapped.

After an earthquake, you should check your water heater strapping to make sure that there are no gas lines leaking that can start a fire and cause a fire in your home. You should also be checking that your water heater has not fallen over and leaking water lines have not flooded your home, resulting in expensive repairs.  If proper earthquake strapping is present, your home will be much less likely to be devastated by an unfortunate water heater issue due to earthquake tilting.

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