Although a water heater can last 15 years or so, and you will even get a few more years out of if it’s an electric one rather than a gas powered one, you should know how to fulfill proper maintenance techniques to make it last as long as possible. Don’t be like some who buy the water heater, install the water heater and then forget about the water heater. Neglect will bring on a replacement faster than anything else.
Sediment is created when hard water is heated. If the buildup of sediment is not properly drained from time to time it will eventually insulate the bottom of the tank. This will cause it to overheat and melt away the protective glass lining. At this point, a replacement will be your only option. Think ahead and drain to avoid this cost.
If you maintain a schedule and pay attention to your water heater a small leak can be easily treated and fixed. But for those who neglect their water heater, a large leak will cause major problems and you’ll probably need to replace your water heater.
A anode is screwed into the tank and serves to prevent rust buildup in the tank. It does this by physically connecting two metals in the water and one corrodes away in order to protect the other. This is the reason that they are often referred to as ‘sacrificial anodes’. An anode's life depends on the quality of the water, the amount of use the tank gets, the water temperature, and the quality of the tank -- meaning how well it was constructed. When salt is added to the water (as in softened water), anodes corrode more quickly.Even with being diligent about routine maintenance, sometimes things go awry with appliances. When this happens, ask a professional plumber to give you an estimate about the repair and its cost. It may be more cost effective to replace it then try to fix it. By knowing the difference between the big repairs and what can easily be fixed yourself, you will be better equipped to judge when it’s wise to move forward with a water heater replacement and when it’s best to make the small fixes.