Replacement hot water tanks are available at Lowe's, The Home Depot and Ace Hardware, as of 2015. These tanks supply the home with hot water for cleaning and bathing. It is easier to replace an existing unit with one of similar volume that uses the same heat source.
The average lifespan of a water heater is five to 15 years. Corrosion of the tank is the most common cause of failure. As the steel tank rusts and begins to leak, the home occupant is likely to notice a trail of rusty water leading back to the tank. Leaking tanks are not repairable and require replacement. Metal recyclers accept used tanks for the metal they contain.
As of 2015, hot water tanks are the most common type of water heater. With hot water tanks, the unit heats the water in the tank to the preset temperature. When the water temperature drops below the lower limit, the system adds more heat to ensure the water remains within the designated range. The manufacturer adds insulation between the inner and outer tank to reduce heat loss to the environment. Newer tanks often have higher-efficiency insulation than older ones to reduce their energy consumption. With an older tank, it is possible to improve efficiency by adding a water heater blanket.