Electric water heater tank in FL

Hi dear home inspectors,
I just begin this exiting, and serious new career as an Inspector here in FL, I found a 40 gallon electric water heater tank with over 29 years of service, location, TPR valve, electrical connection, discharge, pan, lock fine but by standards is recommended to replace this system after 10 years. my question is, should I write on my report that this electric water heater tank should be replaced asap only , and also should I write that because the life expectancy was long time end, this system is a potential safety hazard for the residents there?
Thank you for any advice and help.

Many will not agree with this, but I have found it to be true.
The average life expectancy of a water heater is approximately 15-25 years. Water heaters generally need not be replaced unless they leak.

“this system is a potential safety hazard for the residents”

What safety hazard?
Just let them know the age and let them decide.
However, at 29 yo …It is time for replacement.


You posted this in the wrong forum.
Try the plumbing forum.

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Thank you Roy for your answer.
There is not safety hazard detected yet but I think that new owners should replace that appliance before to move in, don’t you agree that a water heater tank over 29 years may or not may not explode if the TPR, is not working correctly because the time of service excess the time of warranty? Sorry if I am wrong.
Thank you for your comments.

That is possible with any no matter what the age.

Thank you again Roy,

Have a great day!

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Here is what I would report…

The 1990 AO Smith 40-gallon electric water heater appeared to be operating properly at the time of the inspection.
The average life expectancy of a water heater is approximately 15-25 years.
This unit is beyond its useful life. Recommend replacement.


I think the last line should be replaced with

Unit has passed it’s useful service life.
Budget for replacement in the near future.

I would not call for replacement if it is functioning as intended, with no deficiencies noted.


I agree but the Op was insistent that it was about to blow up.
The dog gone useful life chart has a lot to be desired. One is water heaters 2 is metal roofs.

Her, in Texas, you report on the current condition and do not comment on possible future situations. If the TPR valve is working properly, and the currents are OK, the appliance is working properly. Letting the customer know the age of the appliance is not a bad thing. It would be up to them to take that in consideration if they decide to purchase the property.


Hello Hernan,
I would report that the tank was operating at the time of the inspection. Report the year of the tank. Given that the tank is beyond ten years I would suggest the client consult with their insurer on the subject of replacement. If the the tank fails and there is water damage as a consequence, the client will at least have their bases covered. Having said that, if the tank is ten years or around this age I do suggest that they should budget for a new one.

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So! they want you to be fortune tellers?
I find that hardly unlikely?
You have misread something…Yep!

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I have seen water heaters , maintained properly (ie. anodes replaced and flushed out regularly) and being fed a Ph neutral water supply, last well past 20-25 years.


Thank you Geoffrey, good advice with the support of our standards in home inspections here in FL.

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Thank you for your comments and experience in this matter Daniel, regards from the always warm Florida.

Just report on the age and condition. Provide photos of the unit, connections, valves, TPR and leg, etc. Measure the water temp at a faucet to show proof that it produces hot water… report any signs of it being in less than good condition and why it may be needing replaced or nearing the end of its useful life. We don’t attempt to predict how long a water heater,furnace, AC, or shingle will last. You can state the average/typical industry service life of a unit if you want but there are other factors that can affect the life of a water heater to lengthen or shorten its life that are beyond the normal scope of a home inspection. Don’t sweat it, just report on the condition at the time of inspection.


I typically stay away from blatantly saying that the water heater will need to be replaced unless it is leaking or appears close to leaking.

The way I handle it is by stating the water heater’s manufacture date and then mentioning that water heaters are commonly said to have a life of expectancy of 12 years or so. I let them do the math from there.

The 8-12 year life expectancy is something I have questioned. Newer water heaters are made better than they used to be made so I imagine they can last longer. One possible reason for the 8-12 year life expectancy (this is just a guess) could have more to do with how long the anode rod (for removing impurities) can be expected to remain useful, and that can vary depending on water quality.