How Long Does A 50 Gallon Water Heater Last

by Curtis Grossi | Last Updated: March 13, 2024
50 Gallon Water Heater Last

Do you have a 50-gallon water heater or are looking to buy one? Are you confused as to whether it will be worth it? Well, in general, these units are sure to bring down your costs of heating water. But the value chiefly depends on the model, brand or size of the unit you choose.

The 50-gallon hot water heater is currently one of the most selling and popular sizes available. You can find both electric and gas 5-gallon versions depending on what you want for your home. These systems are sized to dispense enough hot water for one to two bathroom hours.

Not all 50-gallon water heaters will last for the same number of years, though. Some will fail before they are five years old, while others will last for more than 15 years. Let’s review the lifespan of a 50-gallon hot water heater so that you know what to expect.

Factors Affecting The Lifespan Of A 50-Gallon Water Heater

The standard life expectancy of the heating element in oil or gas water heaters is set at 8 to 12 years. On the other hand, electric tankless water heaters promise hot showers for as long as 18 -20 years. However, these figures don’t always work for every hot water heater under the specified categories. That’s because there are many external forces that affect how long any unit can last.

1. Water Supply Corrosiveness

Corrosive water supply wears the water heater components faster. Water containing contaminants and chemicals trigger explosive reactions that could shorten the lifespan of the water heater.

Issues like the formation of scale and sediment buildup inside the water heater lower its performance in reaching the required water temperature. This will, with no doubts, affect most hot water demand points in your home, including showers and dish-washing machine.

2. Type Of Water Heater Tank

Many home owners today prefer water systems that use porcelain or glass liner and sacrificial heater anode to prevent corrosion. Different water heaters include tanks that are made of different materials. The materials used usually affect the useful life of the tank, the controls, and burner.

Remember that water systems made from corrosive materials end up minimizing the flow rate of water in gallons per minute with time. Again, note that this rust chips off albeit slowly, and ends up in your shower heads. So, when shopping for a 50-gallon water heater, you must check the materials used in making the 50 gallon tank to determine its expected lifespan.

3. The Amount Of Hot Water Dispensed

Units that are worked up extensively are likely to fail before their specified lifespan is over. The more the duty cycle of a water heater is reached every day, the more the burners, tank, and other parts are worked up, and the higher the chances the unit will fail before its time.

In other words, the harder your water heater works, the higher the probability of it failing untimely. So, consider the number of shower heads in your home, faucets, and other water points and how much water your family uses.

4. Warranty Period

The warranty period of different hot water units tells more about the durability. Brands with more extended warranty periods are most likely going to serve you for more years.

That’s true since, for a manufacturer to give their products an extended warranty period, they would have tested and confirmed the durability of their products. So they would not worry about the products failing before the warranty period is over.

How To Extend The Life Of My 50 Gallon Water Heater?

You can extend the life of your 50 gallon water heater by simple everyday care and maintenance. A well-maintained water heater not only promises long years of hot showers, but it also keeps energy bills low. There are many maintenance tips that every homeowner must observe to keep their water heating units at optimal performance.

1. Proper Installation

Incorrect water installation is the beginning of the problems most homeowners have to deal with every other day. The durability of any hot water heater is quite often affected by where and how it’s installed and its effects are.

According to the specialists, a water heater should be installed in well-ventilated spaces in an upright position. Inadequate ventilation can shorten the life of a water heater and so getting yours installed professionally and accurately is advised.

Ensure your water heater is not installed in an area that’s prone to flood damage. The unit should be placed where it’s easily visible for health-hazard and fire requirements. Consider having your water heater installed by a professional if you want it to last longer.

2. Relief Pressure

The flow of water at a higher pressure than specified usually strains the unit, which can lead to mechanical damage. Keep the inlet water pressure at the specified rate to minimize problems in the heat exchanger and water tank.

The pressure relief valve is designed to activate automatically once the water pressure attains a specific threshold. When it’s not working, the water may flow at an extremely high pressure hence over-pressuring the unit.

In case the pressure relief valve is not working, you are advised to replace it immediately. The replacement of these valves is super easy as all you need is to unscrew the damaged one and screw back the new one.

3. Drain The Tank Often

Leaving the tank undrained for long could also lead to leakage. Consider getting our water heater tank drained regularly. The process of draining a water heater tank is easy and straightforward.

All you need to do is to turn off the power and shut off the valve feeding the heater with water. Then, activate the hot water to channel out all the water in the water. Let the water flow until all the water in the tank is drained.

4. Descale Your Water Heater

Sediment buildup is a major problem not only in your shower but with tanks that hold 50 gallons of water. So, get your new water heater descaled at least once every year. Scales and sediments are some of the most reasons hot water heaters fail before their time.

Descaling it shouldn’t be a complicated process provided you know how to to do it. When flushing your water heater, use the right solution to achieve optimal results.

Why Is My Water Heater Leaking?

Water heater leakages aren’t ordinary happenings. However, leakages do occur occasionally. This can lead to a decline in the amount of hot water in gallons per minute coming from your showers. Knowing what causes hot water heater leakages is the first step to handle the leaks efficiently. Water heater leakages can be triggered by various problems and here are some of them.

1. Bad Inlet And Outlet Connections

Water heater leaks can originate from the cold and hot water outlets and inlets. This will eventually affect how much water you get from your shower, bathroom tub, and kitchen faucets. So, make sure that you check the connections on the hot water heater outlets and inlets to determine if they are firmly connected.

Loose connections will likely be the cause of such leakages and can lead to wastage of gallons of water per minute if ignored. Luckily, leaks originating from these parts are quite easy to fix. All you need is to replace the damaged pipeline or tighten up the connection by use of a wrench.

2. Pressure And Temperature Relief Valve

The pressure and temperature relief valves are designed to ensure the smooth and seamless operation of the hot water flowing to your shower and other water points. This valve helps you monitor and control the water pressure and temperature within your 50-gallon tank.

If water pressure or temperature inside your water heater tank is higher than specified, the valve will be forced to eject some water out. That will result in leakage that will make water run on the sides of the tank thereby affecting your showers and other needs.

The solution to this kind of problem is having the valve replaced. That’s likely because for the valve to let water flow out, it must be damaged.

3. The Drain Valve Has A Problem

Water leaks can also occur through the drain valve. If your hot water heater is leaking in the drain valve, you can easily correct it by tightening it. If tightening the valve does not solve the problem, you may have to replace it.

4. The Hot Water heater Bottom

Water heater leakages can also occur on the unit’s bottom area. The buildup of sediments and scales at the bottom of your water heater tank could cause corrosion and rusting that could leave the tank fractured.

The leaks will often occur through the fracture. Water heater bottom leaks can also happen when your unit is aged.

How Often Should I Clean My 50-Gallon Water Heater?

If you enjoy your hot showers, then it’s critical to keep your 50-gallon water heater working optimally by cleaning it regularly. Experts recommend cleaning water heater once or twice a year. Actually, doing it several other times is better as it also minimizes the amount of dirt that flows to your shower and other water appliances.

A clean water heater performs more efficiently and with minimal strain. Descaling your water heater once every two months could keep it at an optimal working condition, enhancing its efficiency and streamlining its operations. Come up with a unique cleaning schedule that complements your lifestyle to keep your water heater performing optimally.


Most hot water heater problems are small and can be handled easily without involving a professional. However, other issues can prove so complex hence only suited for someone trained and equipped ready to handle such kinds of problems.

When the water heater problem proves a challenge, you should consider calling a licensed plumber. A plumber will have the skills and knowledge to diagnose and repair different types of hot water heater problems.

Watch out for these tips to help lengthen the life of your 50-gallon water heater and keep it functioning optimally. The lifespan of a hot water heater can also differ based on the brand and manufacturer.

That said, when shopping, you should look for a product that has excellent client reviews and high ratings from current users.

Curtis is the founder and owner of He is the lead guy concerning all the water-softening accessories in this site's guides and reviews. If he is not writing a reviews, guides or any other useful tips, you will find him testing them to find out their suitability. He is passionate about softening water. You will find him extremely helpful and always willing to educate the general populace all there is concerning water and its effects on their health and appliances.