Water temperature controls on a hot water heater

What to Know About an American Water Heaters Warranty

House Method researches, reviews, and recommends warranties of all kinds. Affiliate Disclosure.

Water heaters are sort of the forgotten major appliance. They are usually tucked away in the basement or closet, where you likely overlook them as they provide you with hot water for a shower or load of dishes. You only notice them when something goes wrong and the hot water doesn’t flow like it should.

We’ll look at the American Water Heaters brand of water heaters, including what you should know about the American Water Heaters warranty, steps you can take to prolong the life of your water heater, and how a home warranty can be helpful when your water heater needs repairs because of normal wear and tear.

House Method researches and reviews the best home warranty providers, and for us, Choice Home Warranty is the right choice for covering your water heater and other home systems and appliances. If you’d like to hear more about their plans and get a free quote, contact Choice at 848.256.4658 or fill out their online form.

Protection for American Water Heaters
Hot steaming running tap water is pouring out of a stainless steel kitchen faucet.

American Water Heaters warranty

Depending on the model, a residential water heater manufactured by American Water Heaters may have a 6-year, 8-year, or 10-year warranty on the tank and parts. The length of the warranty is indicated by a two-digit or three-digit alpha-numeric code at the beginning of the model number. For example, if the model number is E6N-40R, the water heater comes with a six-year warranty.

The warranty covers:

  • The inner tank—If the tank leaks during the warranty period, the company will replace it with a comparable model.
  • Component parts—The company will replace component parts that fail due to defects in material or workmanship. The anode rod is considered a consumable part and is not covered by the warranty.

Labor is not typically covered by the American Water Heaters warranty.

The warranty has some restrictions:

  • It only covers the original consumer purchaser of the appliance.
  • The warranty is not transferable.
  • The owner must continually occupy the house where the water heater is installed.
  • The warranty only covers the appliance for single-family residential use, and the warranty period will be reduced to one year if the appliance is used in a commercial or industrial application.
  • The water heater must be correctly installed and meet a host of other criteria.

Product registration

American Water Heaters asks consumers to register their new water heater using an online form. Through product registration, you provide verification of ownership in case of an insurance claim. The company also says that warranty service will be faster if you complete the product registration process.

Owners are asked to provide the following information to register their water heater:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Water heater model number
  • Water heater serial number
  • Date of installation
  • Whether the water heater was professionally installed

Keep in mind that you’re legally not required to complete this registration process to have access to your limited warranty.

Products by American Water Heaters

American Water Heaters makes water heaters for residential and commercial-grade use. The residential line includes electric water heaters, gas water heaters, tankless water heaters, and solar water heaters.

The company has a 1.5 star rating on Yelp with 42 reviews. One five-star review notes the owner has had an American Water Heaters unit for more than 17 trouble-free years. But many of the people leaving low ratings say that the company’s customer service department is not very responsive, and raters say that issues they think should be covered by the American Water Heaters warranty—including ruptures in the inner tank—are not being covered. In some cases, reviewers say it was cheaper to buy a new water heater rather than repair their American Water Heaters unit.

Specific repairs mentioned by consumers who left reviews include a faulty ignition system, replacing the burner assembly, and replacing a thermocouple.

A faulty thermocouple and a bad pilot control valve are some of the most common problems with a gas water heater. In an electric water heater, the heating element is a common repair. All of these repairs are best performed by a professional.

A leaking tank is also bad news, because the tank can’t be repaired. If you notice even a small leak from your water heater, it’s time to get a new water heater installed.

The cost for a new water heater depends on a few factors, including the size of the tank and the fuel source. Traditional 40-gallon tank models start at about $400 at big-box stores. Installation costs on a traditional model will likely range from $1,000 to $2,000, and installing a tankless water heater can cost $3,000 or more, especially if you are switching from a traditional model to a tankless system.

Man works on a hotwater heater with a pipe wrench

What does water heater insurance cover?

It is highly unlikely that your homeowner’s policy will cover the cost to repair or replace your water heater. Most homeowner’s insurance will cover water damage that happens when there is a sudden, accidental release of water, such as if your water heater suddenly bursts open.

However, your insurance probably won’t cover anything if the damage resulted from defects in the unit or from normal wear and tear to the water heater.

You can buy flood insurance or water-backup coverage to cover sewer elements or sump pumps, but there’s very little chance that your insurance provider sells anything that could be considered water heater insurance.

Why a home warranty is smart protection

Whether you own an American Water Heaters branded unit or some other kind of water heater, the manufacturer’s warranty coverage is limited. The warranty your water heater came with only covers problems that result from defects in the materials it was built from or defects in the workmanship that occurred at the factory. Problems that result from normal wear and tear aren’t included.

A manufacturer’s warranty is also for a limited period, perhaps just a few years. However, the average life of a water heater is 12 years, and with proper maintenance, your water heater might last even longer than that. In that case, the manufacturer’s warranty is going to expire long before you retire the water heater.

The American Water Heaters warranty isn’t transferrable, which means if you purchased a resale home where an American Water Heaters brand appliance had already been installed, you don’t have any manufacturer’s warranty coverage for it.

A home warranty is a good solution to all of these issues. A home warranty covers systems and appliances for damage that results from normal wear and tear. As long as the appliance is included in the home warranty policy you choose, it makes no difference who purchased the water heater or how old it is.

A home warranty is a service contract between you and the warranty company. When you have a problem, you call the warranty company, which will send a technician to repair covered issues in your home appliances and home systems. If you need a service call, typically your only expense is a service fee, which is generally $75 to $125.

Editor's Pick: Choice Home Warranty

  • Water heaters are covered under both the Basic and Total Plans.*
  • Service technicians are pre-screened, so you don’t have to hire someone yourself.
  • Customer service is always available.
  • Service fees are just $75.

Why we suggest Choice Home Warranty

We have found that Choice Home Warranty is the best option for people with older homes because they don’t require an inspection. Also, this provider offers several options to customize your plan, and the cost of coverage starts as low as $1 per day.

Consumers who purchase an annual warranty with a single payment qualify for a free month of coverage. Monthly payment plans are also available if you don’t want to make a one-time payment in full. The service fee is $75, which is on the low side of the industry average, and all service calls are performed by qualified, pre-screened professionals.

When you have a Choice Home Warranty, you can call the service center 24/7—so there’s no waiting around for the service center to open when you discover you can’t get any hot water out of your shower head.

Water heater coverage from Choice Home Warranty

Home warranty plans work differently than your typical American Water Heaters warranty. Many appliances and systems are included under one contract, instead of the manufacturer warranty including just one.

Choice Home Warranty offers two different home warranty plans, and both of them cover water heaters.*

The Basic Plan covers:

  • Water heater
  • Electrical system
  • Heating system
  • Plumbing system
  • Whirlpool bathtub
  • Stove/oven/range
  • Cooktop
  • Dishwasher
  • Built-in microwave
  • Garbage disposal
  • Ductwork
  • Garage door opener
  • Ceiling and exhaust fans

The Total Plan includes:

Choice Home Warranty also offers optional add-on coverage for less common items, including:

  • Pool/spa
  • Central vacuum
  • Second refrigerator
  • Well pump
  • Limited roof leak
  • Standalone freezer
  • Sump pump
  • Septic system
  • Septic tank pumping

Choice Home Warranty’s water heater coverage is for traditional gas or electric units with tanks. Coverage isn’t offered for tankless water heaters, solar water heaters, commercial equipment, or units over 75 gallons. The warranty covers wear and tear to all components, including circulating pumps, with exceptions for issues such as sediment buildup, rust and corrosion, and drain pans and lines.

To get a free quote for a Choice Home Warranty that’s customized to your home, call 848.256.4658 or complete the online form.

Water heater maintenance tips

Like just any appliance, a water heater will perform better and last longer if you provide routine maintenance. That way, you may be able to avoid needing to use your American Water Heaters warranty at all.

  • One of the most important things you can do is flush the water tank at least once a year. Your owner’s manual should have instructions. This task will take around an hour and require a few simple tools, like a flat-head screwdriver, garden hose, and bucket. If you’re not a DIYer, call in a pro—it’ll cost about $200, but it can extend the life of your water heater.
  • While you’ve got the tank drained, check the anode rod. The anode rod hangs inside the tank, and its job is to corrode, keeping corrosion away from the tank itself. Replace the rod if it’s too worn down.
  • It’s also important to regularly check for leaks around the water heater, because leaks are the death knell for this appliance. Check the area around the water heater monthly for any water spots that could indicate a leak.
  • Setting the water heater thermostat at 120°F will save energy and slow the buildup of corrosion and minerals in your tank and pipes, according to the US Department of Energy. Setting the thermostat at 120°F also makes it less likely that anyone in your family will get scalded by overly hot water.

Signs of a quality water heater

Eventually, every water heater will die, but the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors says several factors determine how long a water heater will last.

Quality is the top factor. It’s no surprise that a better-built model will last longer. This is one of those instances where price most likely indicates quality, and you can expect a more expensive model to last longer.

One sign of quality construction is a large heating element that is better able to resist mineral buildup. Self-cleaning features that automatically flush out mineral deposits can also help ensure a long life. A porcelain case that protects the hot water tank from rust and helps with insulation is also a quality upgrade, the association said.

Other factors that will affect how long a water heater lasts include:

  • Proper installation
  • Proper maintenance
  • Volume of usage

FAQs on American Water Heaters

What company makes American Water Heaters brand water heaters?

American Water Heaters (the company name is plural, although it is often incorrectly written in the singular form) is based in Johnson City, TN. It makes residential water heaters, including gas, electric, tankless, and solar models. The company also makes commercial water heaters. American Water Heaters was founded in 1915 in Tennessee. In 2006, the company was a acquired by A.O. Smith, a Milwaukee-based manufacturer of residential and commercial water heating equipment. American Water Heaters now operates as a subsidiary of A.O. Smith.

Is it the same thing as American Standard Water Heaters?

No, they are two different companies. American Water Heaters should not be confused with American Standard Water Heaters, a California-based company that makes water heaters for large homes and commercial applications.

How long are water heater warranties?

The length of the warranty can vary by brand and model. Generally, the warranty lasts from five to 10 years. The American Water Heaters warranty lasts six to 10 years. In the case of a home warranty, you can renew your contract each year for as many years as you’d like protection.

Are water heater warranties transferable?

Warranties by American Water Heaters are not transferable. However, most home warranties that cover water heaters are transferable.

Where are American Water Heaters made?

The American Water Heaters website notes that the company has manufacturing, research, and development, as well as corporate offices in Johnson City, TN. It does not specify if all of its products are made in its eastern Tennessee plant.

How can I contact customer support for American Water Heaters?

Customers with residential units can call 800.999.9515. The customer service center is open Monday–Friday from 8 am–10 pm. Weekend hours are 9 am–6 pm (Eastern time). Before you call, review the troubleshooting guides available online to see if the issue is easily resolved.

Where can I purchase American Water Heaters parts?

You can purchase replacement parts through the company by calling its parts line at 800.433.2545. The line is open between 7 am–5 pm Central. The company accepts major credit cards. Many parts are available from other retailers and can be located online.

Water Heater Warranty Coverage

Get a free quote from our top-ranked provider, Choice Home Warranty.

Call Now

*Terms and conditions apply. Click here to view complete limits of liability and any exclusions. CHW offers service contracts which are not warranties.
**See policy for specifics on response times.
***CHW reserves the right to offer cash back in lieu of repair or replacement in the amount of CHW’s actual cost (which at times may be less than retail) to repair or replace any covered system, component or appliance.
****In the event a claim is denied, and a customer seeks to have Us review that denial, We have the right to request routine maintenance records in reviewing its decision.

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