Written on: February 1, 2018
A propane water heater with a storage tank typically lasts about 8-10 years, depending on a variety of factors that include the quality of the tank, the chemical composition of your water, and how well it was installed. If your water heater is nearing its aluminum anniversary (we had to look that one up), you’re probably due for a replacement – especially if you’re seeing leaks and rust around your tank.
When you’re ready to shop for a new water heater, a good place to begin is to learn all you can about the model of water heater you currently own.
Most of the information you’ll need is listed on your water heater’s nameplate, including the unit’s tank capacity, insulation R-value, model, and serial number (if you have an electric water heater, the nameplate will also list the wattage capacity and voltage of the heating elements).
Interestingly, the serial number also reveals the age of your water heater: Its first number corresponds to its month of production, while the first two numbers its year of production. For example, in the serial number F082738598, “F” (the sixth letter in the alphabet) corresponds to June, the sixth month. The number “08” represents the year.
Write all that information down, and take it with you as you shop for a replacement.
When it comes to choosing a future water heater, there are some basic performance measures you’ll want to know. At minimum, you’ll want to know your new model’s:
A quality service provider will help you match these specs to the amount of hot water you typically use in your home.
Another option to consider is switching to a tankless propane water heater. As the name suggests, a tankless water heater has no tank – it’s basically a heating element housed in a casing that works by heating water on demand rather than storing it for later use. These propane-powered units are a little more expensive up front, but you’ll get unlimited hot water, save space (they can even be wall mounted), and cut your energy bills by enough to quickly offset the additional cost of the unit (often within a couple of years, depending on how much hot water you use).