Should I Repair or Replace My Water Heater?

If you’ve had consistent problems with your water heater or you’ve been surprised with a massive repair bill, you might be wondering if it’s time to replace your water heater.

But how do you know if you should repair or replace it?

You’ll want to consider the following factors before you make a decision:

  • The age of your water heater

  • The type of repair necessary

  • How often you need repairs

  • The warranties you have

We’ll look at each of these factors closely to help you determine whether you should repair or replace your water heater.

Want a professional to look at your water heater and provide recommendations for water heater installation or repair? Contact Thornton & Grooms.

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Factor #1: The age of your water heater

The lifespan of most tank water heaters is about 10 years, so if yours is getting close to a decade, it might be time to replace it.

Although replacing your water heater may cost significantly more upfront than a repair, you should consider whether the investment is worth it or not.

Let’s say the repair costs $500. If you’ve had your water heater for about a decade, and you’ve experienced frequent issues with it, it’s likely more financially beneficial to invest in a new water heater instead of a dying one.

Factor #2: The type of repair necessary

The type of water heater repair can greatly affect whether repairing or replacing it is the more cost-effective option. For example, replacing the thermostat will cost significantly less than repairing a leak.

If an expensive repair is necessary to get your water heater up and running well again, you may not want to sink those funds into an already aging water heater. Instead, you may opt to replace it entirely.

Generally, if the repair costs 50% or more than the cost to replace the water heater and your heater is nearing the end of its lifespan, you should consider replacing it and save money in the long run.

A Thornton & Groom plumber can help by providing a clear estimate on the cost of the repair(s) needed.

Factor #3: How often you need repairs

If your water heater breaks down frequently, it’s probably time to replace it.

Needing repairs often or having to pay for multiple repairs at once may be a sign that your water heater is failing.

Other warning signs of system failure include:

  • Rusty water: If the water coming from your water heater and the hot water pipes in your home is rusty, the tank might be rusting on the inside. However, galvanized pipes can also get rusty. A plumber can help you determine if the rust is localized to your water heater or pipes.

  • Rumbling or banging sounds: If your water heater is making sounds while it’s heating up, it may have developed a layer of hardened sediment at the bottom of the tank. The buildup can reduce the heater’s efficiency and cause more wear and tear.

Moisture around your water heater: Discovering water around your water heater could be a sign of failure. If you notice that your water heater’s fittings and connections still look secure, the water heater might instead have a small fracture or leak and may need to be replaced.

Factor #4: The warranties you have

If the warranties on your water heater are valid, they may reduce the overall cost of repairs or a replacement.

  • Parts warranty: When you bought your water heater, it was likely accompanied by a limited parts warranty. This type of warranty usually provides coverage for parts to reduce the cost of any repairs you might need. Generally, it lasts 5 to 10 years (depending on the manufacturer). If you paid for an extended warranty, the coverage may last longer.

  • Labor warranty: Your water heater may also be covered by a labor warranty, which is provided by the contractor who installed your water heater. This type of warranty may last 1 to 2 years. If your labor warranty is valid, it will cover the cost of the labor required to repair your water heater, but not the parts.

If one or both types of your warranties are valid, you’ll pay significantly less than you would without them. Depending on the validity, it might be cheaper to replace your water heater instead of repairing it.

If you’re unsure whether your water heater is under warranty, you can contact the manufacturer or the plumber who installed your water heater. They can help you determine your warranty coverage.

Need a Metro Detroit plumber to repair or replace your water heater?

Call Thornton & Grooms to have an experienced plumber take a look for you. We offer upfront, flat-rate quotes for water heater installations. If you opt for a repair, we provide same-day service and a 1-year repair guarantee on all water heater repairs.

Request an estimate