Water heaters become an issue when a unit owners’ water heater breaks and causes water damage to the units below as well as to the common elements. If unit owners are using water heaters that are 8-10 years old, it is likely that the water heater may leak or break in the near future. The association needs to put their owners on notice of the potential leak. Talk to your association attorney about sending a letter to all unit owners.
1. How long does a water heater typically last?
It depends on the type of water heater. Typically, a gas hot water heater is expected to last between 8 and 12 years. An electric hot water heater should last between 10 and 15 years. The tankless water heaters are so new that their life have not yet been determined.
2. How can you tell if your water heater is about to break or getting too old?
Here are some of the symptoms: (1) rust colored hot water when you open up the hot water tap; (2) the water does not get as hot as it used to; (3) moisture around the base of the water heater may indicate a slow leak; (4) an ice cold shower first thing in the morning; (5) a flood in the area around the water heater. While these are not all of the symptoms to look for, these are the most common ones.
3. What can the board do to protect the association if many owners have old water heaters?
If many unit owners have old water heaters, the board should consult with their attorney. A board can send a letter to each unit owner putting all owners on notice that the age of their water heater is beyond its normal use. The letter can also demand that owners have their water heaters checked and replaced if necessary. The letter can also tell owners that if their water heater breaks and causes damages, they would be held responsible. You should consult with your attorney how the letter should be written.