Joël Leclerc

Condominiums: When Do I Need to Replace My Water Heater?

Did you know that water damage is so common in condominiums that insurers can require that you implement measures to prevent it, including replacing the water heater within a certain number of years? Plan ahead and discover the best practices involving water heaters!

When Does a Water Heater Need to Be Replaced?

For condos, prevention efforts are made for both yourself and others, since damage, no matter its nature, can easily affect your neighbours.

In fact, to reduce damage caused by hot water heating tanks, several insurance companies now require that they be replaced on a specific date. This date varies based on the insurer, but replacements are generally required every 10 or 12 years. Some insurers go as far as excluding coverage of any damage caused by a water heater that is over 12 years old.

How Is the Date Set?

In general, the manufacturing date on the water heater serves as the start of its life cycle. If your water heater does not have a date on it, your insurer may require that it be replaced or, as previously mentioned, exclude coverage of damage caused to the condominium by the unit in question.

It is important to note that if you buy a model condo built three years ago with a water heater that was only put into service as of the third year, the insurer, based on its standards, may use the manufacturing date and not the date the water heater was put into service, simply to keep track of units in a consistent way and maintain quantifiable guidelines.

Before purchasing a condo, make sure to check the year on the water heater so that you do not end up having an unexpected expense.

Are Tankless Water Heaters Held to the Same Standards?

Some people choose to purchase tankless water heaters due to their ecological benefits. However, insurers have not yet established standards for replacing them or for the service life of these “on demand” units. Currently, these water heaters are not yet subject to the same rules as regular units.

Here are some examples of effective ways to manage water heaters and measures to prevent water damage:

  • Have a registry of the age of the water heaters for all units.
  • Plan for a mass replacement program to benefit from a group discount.
  • Install a holding tank connected to the drain to limit damage.
  • Set up a water leak detection system with an automatic shut-off valve.
  • Create a regulation that requires that condo owners hire a professional to connect appliances to the building’s water system and that they keep the invoice.

Don’t forget that when it comes to insurance, the best protection is prevention. If you have questions about replacing your water heater or your insurer’s standards, feel free to contact your broker, who will serve as your resource person for this matter!

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Joël Leclerc Commercial-Lines Director and Associate Partner - Monteregie Region
Damage Insurance Broker
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