• Why Inspectors Often Indicate a Water Heater is Nearing the End of it’s Design Life

  • 8 February 2013 by 0 Comments

Though water heaters are relatively inexpensive compared to the price of a home, repairs for the damage caused when one suddenly has a catastrophic failure is likely to be expensive. Your clients need to know how old the device is and the approximate service life they can expect.

Service life varies from place to place and is affected by the quality of the product, minerals/chemicals in water, the amount of maintenance the water heater receives, and usage. In other words, there is no set maximum expected service life. In fact, two neighbors with exactly the same brand water heater installed on exactly the same day on the same street in identical homes can have completely different experiences. In some parts of the country it is normal to expect between 10-15 years, while in others a homeowner is fortunate if the water heater lasts 10 years.

40 Year Old Water Heater

40 Year Old Water Heater

I recently inspected a property that still had in service a forty year unit! It was not leaking, however there were many other issues that need rectifying.

The following companies manufacture over 100+ makes and models of water heaters:

  • American Water Heater Company
  • A.O. Smith Corporation
  • Bradford-White Corporation
  • Lochinvar Corporation
  • Rheem Corporation
  • State Industries

Inspectors try to keep up on the overwhelming changes in the industry and how each company date codes their appliance, it can be a formidable challenge. For more information regarding plumbing, see our Web site resource page entitled Understanding Plumbing.

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