How likely is it that your old water heater might burst?

Many homeowners aren't even aware of the fact that old water heaters pose more dangers than comforts to their houses. Water heaters with massive storage tanks might have been the pinnacle of home plumbing technology back in the day, but since then many would say they've jumped the shark from obsolete to dangerous.

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, water heater failures make up 20 percent of all residential water loss incidents, and 69 percent of these are caused by slow leaks or sudden bursts. The average cost of repairs per episode was $4,444, though 9 percent of breaches occurred in unoccupied homes. Without anybody around to shut the water off, damages were even higher in these cases.

Though water heaters pose clear and present dangers to every home they're in, Claims Canada explained that many homeowners don't even know how to properly service a heater of replace parts when necessary. 

If at all possible, you should buy a gas or electric tankless water heater to avoid all these headaches, but if you already have an old storage heater in the basement, when should you start to look out for problems?

According to the IIBHS, it could be anywhere from 5 to 20 years old. Once storage heaters reach the half decade mark, the failure rate jumps from less than 10 to 12 percent. From there, each year brings higher chances that your heater will flood your basement. By the time your unit reaches its late teens, you're flirting with a failure rate above 90 percent.

If storage heaters provided a constant flow of hot water, maybe they'd be worth the hassle. However, only tankless water heaters can give you that kind of functionality and comfort, so you should make the switch today.

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