How do Know if Your Water Heater is About to BURST?

Both tank and tankless water heaters tend to fail eventually due to usage strain, damage or normal wear and tear. In fact, even with proper annual maintenance, a typical water heaters lasts anywhere from 8 to 10 years. Fortunately, a failing hot water heater will typically show signs of failure. Some of the common water heater failure signs include:

The Unit’s Age

The average lifespan of a typical water heater is about 10 years. This means that if you know the age of your tank, you can replace it before it breaks and avoid potentially expensive water damage. What’s more, a new hot water heater will likely be more energy efficient than your old water heater, meaning it will lower your heating costs. You can tell the age of your unit by looking at the date code on the manufacturer sticker/tag. Alternatively, you can request the unit’s manufacturer to provide you with this information.

Rusty, Brown Hot Water

If the water coming from your water tank is rusty but the water coming from the cold side is clean and crisp, you can sure that your hot water system is going to fail soon due to corrosion. This is because corrosion will eat through your hot water tank or hot water pipes, leading to a water leak. To determine whether the corrosion is in the tank or the piping, leave your hot water tap running for a while. If the rusty, brown water does not stop coming out of the tap, then the corrosion is likely in your hot water tank, not the piping. On the other than, if the rusty water stops coming out from the hot water tap after a while, then the corrosion is in the piping, not the tank.

Strange Noises

If you water heater is making a strange noise such as loud pops, banging or rumbling, it may be a sign of sediment buildup on the bottom of the tank. If this is the case, you can expect your heater to become energy inefficient, meaning it will use more electricity and take longer to heat water, increasing your heating bills. In turn, this will cause your water heater to wear out faster. Similarly, if your tankless water heater is making strange noises, it means it is not operating at it should.

Water around the Water Heater

This is probably the most clear sign that you heater will fail soon. However, before you replace your water, ensure the water leak is not coming from the connections or fittings to the tanks. While at it, ensure the pressure/temperature overflow pipe is dry, too. If the leak is coming from the tank, you should replace the tank as soon as possible because metal expands when heated, meaning the leak is likely to escalate quickly. At this point, it is worth noting that water leaks can easily damage the components of a tankless hot water heater, meaning you should address them as quickly as possible.


On average, water heaters, including water heaters that provide hot water on demand, have a 10-year lifespan. Some of the signs that your water heater will fail soon include the unit’s age, water around the water heater, strange noises and rusty hot water.

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How Long Should You Keep Your Furnace?

Your furnace is likely one of the most expensive appliances in your home. It can be expensive to repair or replace when there is an issue so people often scrutinize a furnace a lot when they are purchasing a home or having a new system installed.

One of the most common questions I get is, how long does a furnace last? In this article I’m going to explore that questions and help you get some practical advice for prolonging the life of your HVAC system.

How Long Does a Furnace Actually Last?

My favorite analogy to use when I answer this question is comparing your furnace to a classic car.

The fast answer to how long will a furnace last is, it can last as long as you want it to. What I mean by that is, there is not date at which a furnace needs to be replaced entirely.

Taking the classic car example, we still see cars on the road from time to time that were made 40, 50, 60, even 90 years ago right? Along the way, those cars needed repairs because no car (and especially older ones) was designed to last forever.

People simply fixed what was wrong with those cars to keep them driving on the road. Some of them probably needed way more repairs than others but the point is, someone wanted to keep that car running so they did.

The same is true for a furnace. It can last as long as you want to keep fixing it and there are really no scenarios (other than a catastrophic accident) where you have to replace your entire system. Typically when there is an issue with a furnace, it’s one part or one assembly of parts that has gone bad and needs replaced.

When is it good to get a new furnace?

There are two primary reasons that people replace their furnace systems.

1. It’s not safe to operate.
2. It’s not practical to repair your furnace (it’s no longer reliable, it’s too expensive, etc).

You can technically keep a furnace as long as you want however there are some scenarios where repairing it may not be practical. For example a cracked heat exchanger is a big issue because it causes carbon monoxide to leak out into your home. The furnace will still function as it should however that deadly gas will be leaking out.

In that case, it makes more sense to replace the unit because swapping out a heat exchanger may be more expensive. If the unit is older, new heat exchangers may not be available for it.

Any other time there is a safety issue or the furnace is just not repairable is a good time to replace the entire unit. Examples of this might be a fire in the home that has damaged the unit, a storm or other act of nature that has extensively damaged the unit, or an earth quake. Anything that has caused so much damage that it isn’t practical to repair the unit.

Your furnace may also be at an age where parts are continually breaking down making it unreliable. If you live in an area where it’s essential to have your furnace working and frequent service interruptions are dangerous, replacement may be a good idea.

What are the benefits of replacing my furnace?

Going back to our car analogy, there are benefits to getting a new car such as technological advancements. Older vehicles were made when we knew less about the air/fuel mixture in the engine, about aero dynamic design, and other fuel-saving measures.

The same is true for furnaces. An older furnace may not burn natural gas as efficiently as a newer model. Aside from any safety issues, if you have an older furnace and you find yourself repairing it a lot, a newer model may come with the added benefit of lower cost of operation.

You may also get to take advantage of more modern management add-ons like programmable or internet connected thermostats, more robust climate control settings, and quieter operation.

Final Thoughts

So that’s the truth about how long a furnace lasts. If you take care of it, do routine maintenance, and continue to fix it, you can theoretically make a furnace last a lifetime.

Of course, that may not always be the case and replacing your furnace has a ton of great benefits. The best course of action is to put safety as a priority for your heating system and then make financially-driven decisions after that.