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Should I Repair or Replace My Hot Water Heater?

repair_replace_water-heater-(1).jpgStorage tank water heaters last an average of 10-15 years, while tankless water heaters may last 20 years or more before suffering in performance due to age. Over time, even well-maintained water heaters will begin to lose efficiency and develop more problems associated with wear and tear. When you experience water heater problems, it’s worth considering whether repair or replacement is the best solution. While water heater repairs are often sufficient to restore your daily hot water supply, there are some circumstances in which new hot water heater installation is a better financial choice instead of frequent repair.

Is Your Water Heater Providing Enough Hot Water?

The basic function of a water heating system is to provide hot water for your home. Depending on the number of people in your home and your daily hot water needs, a water heater that once provided sufficient hot water may have trouble keeping up with your current demands, especially if they have changed. Together with your plumbing service representative, you can easily evaluate your water heater’s capacity and the expected volume of hot water you require currently and plan to need in the future. If your current hot water heater cannot meet your needs, new water heater installation is likely the best choice.

How Much Are You Paying for Hot Water?

The cost of hot water can be a determining factor when considering water heater repair versus water heater replacement. If you’ve been noticing that the cost of heating your home’s water has been steadily rising, it’s a sign that your current water heating system is losing efficiency with age that may not be addressed through simple repairs. The best water heating solution for your home is one that provides the hot water you need at the lowest cost; as your current water heater ages, it will only continue to lose efficiency through wear and tear and hot water prices will rise, as opposed to new hot water heater installation, which offers you all the benefits of a new water heater and the technological advancements in efficiency that have been made since your current water heating system was installed.

What Is the Cost of Repair?

In some cases, the cost of water heater repair can help you determine whether it’s a smarter financial move to opt for new hot water heater installation over repairing the existing unit. Talk to your plumbing service technician about the cost of the required repairs to restore your water heater’s function versus the cost of purchasing and installing a new system. If the cost of repair is equal to or more than half the cost of installing a new water heater, it’s worth considering whether your home may benefit more from new water heater installation, rather than making extensive repairs to an older unit. Furthermore, some types of water heater damage cannot be repaired and always require system replacement, regardless of the age of your water heater. If your storage tank water heater has developed a leak in the tank itself, the only solution is to schedule new hot water heater installation to replace the tank entirely, as it cannot be patched or otherwise repaired.

For Water Heaters 10 Years-Old or Older:

If you are starting to have problems with your water heater and it is 10 years or older, unless your problem is as simple as a tripped breaker, faulty thermostat or blown fuse, you might want to consider replacing it. If the system is older than 10 years old, there could be a possibility that it is not as efficient as it used to be and there could be some wear-and-tear, and in some cases corrosion. Older systems are also more susceptible to leaks. A major leak could cause water damage in your home, and even a small leak could contribute to mold growth and other indoor air quality issues.

For Water Heaters Less than 10 Years-Old:

If you are having issues with your water heater that is less than 10 years old, a plumbing professional can help you decide whether it's more cost effective to repair or replace it, but here are a few questions and answers that might influence your choice:

  • How well has your unit been maintained? If you know for a fact that your water heater has been regularly inspected, drained to prevent sediment buildup and repaired promptly when needed, it may be worthwhile to keep it.
  • Does it meet your needs? If you frequently run out of hot water, the water heater you have may not be the right size for your home. You may want to consider upgrading to a model with a larger capacity or installing multiple water heaters.
  • Is your water heater wasting energy? The R-value of your water heater indicates how insulated it is. If your tank is hot to the touch, it may need added exterior insulation, or you may want to replace it with a more insulated system. In homes that use 41 gallons of hot water or less daily, it may even be worthwhile to switch to a tankless system that heats water on demand.

Are you considering hot water heater installation? Our experienced plumbing service experts can help you determine the condition of your current water heating system with relation to your everyday needs and make the best suggestion for your home and your budget. You can learn more about replacing your water heater on our blog, or visit our website today to schedule service.

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