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Purchasing a new water heater can be a simple, stress-free process if several factors are considered. Most people don’t know that water heaters with longer guarantees are actually the same units as the basic six-year-warranty heater with an additional anode rod, a different jacket and an extended warranty. Home centers love to promote these “extended warranty” units and many people think they are buying a superior water heater. Additionally, when you buy a home center water heater and a problem develops, the home center refers you to the manufacturer to work out the details of the warranty.

The following are a few points to consider when replacing your water heater: 
Typically water heaters in Maryland generally last 7-8 years on average.

All water heaters use similar tank specifications and controls which are made by other manufacturers.

The basic warranty period is six years; longer warranties are extensions and do not reflect increased quality in tank specifications, or controls.

Should a water heater fail during the warranty period, only the time remaining on the original unit carries over to the replacement unit. Additionally, re-installation is not covered and must be paid by the customer.

If there is not chronic insufficiency of hot water, it is unwise to increase the size of the unit, thereby heating an unused extra 10 gallons of water year around.

A tank leaking from the bottom, or from inside the jacket, cannot be repaired and must be replaced.

A tank that is near, or has passed, the average life-expectancy mentioned above, that does not deliver sufficient hot water, is a poor candidate for extensive repairs i.e., new controls, thermostats/elements (electric models) and is, in most cases, better being replaced (value-wise).

The age of most water heaters can be determined from the serial number, which is coded with the first few numbers and the size by finding the plate (sticker) which contains the serial and model numbers and is listed as: “Capacity US Gallons.”

When temperature and pressure relief valves “kick”, it is usually because the pressure regulator has failed, not the water heater. 

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