Indirect Hot Water Heaters

What is the average life span of an indirect hot water heater and when would you recommend it be replaced? Do they last longer than a standard water heater that last 10 to 12 years?

First, welcome to our forum, Lane! There are no stupid questions. Enjoy! :smile:

If installed properly, yes they last longer than a standard water heater. I’ve seen them 25 years old and more. Mostly they die from leakage is what I’ve seen.

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I am not seeing a separate entry for indirect water heater. Would it fall under boiler (40 years) or regular hot water heater in your opinion?

very helpful, thanks!

An indirect water heater requires little additional maintenance beyond your annual boiler safety and performance check-up. The next time you’re in the basement, take a look at your existing standard water heater. If it’s a little worse for wear, you may want to remember that the typical water heater life is 12 years .

If you get a quality glass or similar lined tank and change the anode rods as you’re supposed to, it will easily last 20-30 years unless there was a manufacturing defect, physical damage to the tank, or the water is extremely corrosive. The short manufacturer’s guarantee is based on people not maintaining the tank as they should. Changing the anode rod is the most important maintenance you can perform to extend the life of the tank.

It is my understanding that back during the energy crunch, the all knowing Feds demanded that the water heater manufacturers make their units more energy efficient.

So they made the gas center chimney, with the baffles through the center of the heaters, thinner so the heat would transfer quicker…Great!

Except that appeasement made the chimneys burn out quicker and the manufactures , of those units, lowered their warranty to 3 years…3 YEARS! :roll_eyes:

That pissed off the professional plumbing companies and, they lobbied to change the requirement back to a sane thickness of chimney so they could sell them again.

A tank is a tank and will only last if maintained or glass lined like mentioned. So the mileage can vary.

Tankless water heaters can last longer than a tank type but do have more mechanical parts than a tank type.
All tankless manufacturers recommend cleaning especially in areas of poor water quality. Poor water quality will affect any water heater and shorten useful life.
Like mentioned above, we’ve all seen some tank type units last a long time (20+ years) but often are not subject to hard water. Installation/maintenance instructions on those indicate to clean every few years too but who is going to drain their water and flush it out. Not many.

On cleaning differences, its much easier to clean a tankless water heater especially if the bypass valves are installed.

A tankless is not the same as indirect WH.

You’re correct.

The same thing applies to indirect water heaters.