Most people are shocked to learn that a water heater can significantly damage your home. They can cause water damage leading to mold if left untreated. This makes water heater replacement a subject of interest to a home insurance company looking to cover your house. I have talked with experts in the field and according to them a decent water heater can last you 12 – 16 years before needing to be replaced.
Most water heaters need a permit to be replaced although many Florida homeowners opt not to get a permit. A Florida 4-point inspection would tell a home insurance company when the water heater was last replaced (if a permit was pulled).
The problem that happens is that most homeowners do not know that the water heater needs to be replaced, or how old it was as in my case. Then it starts to leak and you start to see rust coming out of it. Then, they know it is time. Some forget or cannot afford to replace it and one day BAM! It explodes and leaks everywhere. If your water heater is in the garage, not so bad. But, if it is inside the house, you could be looking at some MAJOR damage. Your home insurance policy may cover or they could say that it was a maintenance issue.
Please, do not let it to this point! The damage it causes could financially cripple you if the insurance company deems it a maintenance issue. Every year it is recommended that you flush the water heater to keep it in tip-top shape.
Lastly, you have the option of a tankless water heater. I just could not do it as they tend to be too unreliable from what I have heard. I could not imagine coming home and water is gushing out of it! Many folks have told me that story. I hope this helps!