Repairing vs. Replacing Your Water Heater

Water heaters are an essential appliance for our everyday cleanliness and comfort. That’s why it’s especially important to know the signs of a failing water heater before yours breaks down altogether and leaves you without hot water.

If you’re not sure whether it would be best to repair or replace your current water heater, here are some indicators that a replacement would probably be your best option.

1. Your water heater doesn’t heat water up as effectively as it used to.

Industry professionals use the term “losing efficiency” to describe this problem. In general, when water heaters lose efficiency, you’ll find that you need to turn the hot water handle of the faucet farther than you have before to get your desired temperature. You may also find that it takes longer and longer for hot water to arrive at the tap, even during warmer times of the year. (Sometimes water takes a while to heat up during winter because the pipes that it’s traveling through are cold at first.)

2. Your heating bills have gone up.

You can also spot a loss of efficiency by taking a look at your heating bills. If you notice that your water heater is not warming water as effectively as it used to, check to see if your heating bill is higher than it was the same time the previous year and year before. If the answer is yes, then it’s a sign that your water heater is approaching its retirement.

3. The cost and/or frequency of repairs outweighs the cost of a replacement.

Aging water heaters tend to experience more issues or at least more costly issues than newer water heaters. In general, if the cost to repair your water heater is 50 percent or more than the cost of replacing the unit, it’s wiser to replace the unit. This rule applies to just about any situation, including the repair-versus-replacement dilemma with other major appliances and equipment.

The frequency of repairs is also something to take into consideration. Maybe one repair doesn’t equal 50 percent of the cost of a replacement, but multiple, frequent repairs can add up to that quickly. If your unit needs frequent repairs, it might more financial sense to put that money towards a replacement.

4. Your water heater is approaching the average life expectancy for its type.

If your water heater is getting up in years and is in need of a costly repair, replacing the unit might be the wisest long-term decision. Standard tank water heaters last approximately 8 to 12 years. Tankless water heaters last approximately 20 years.

Have a plumber inspect your water heater’s overall condition to help you assess whether it would be better to repair or replace the unit. If there is a severe corrosion issue, this could lead to a leak, which would result in more problems than just a broken water heater.

When you do decide to replace your water heater, it’s always worth it to consult a plumber regarding your hot water needs. They can help you find the best water heater replacement for your household BEFORE you buy. Contact M.A. Williams in Richmond to schedule an appointment with one of our water heater repair and installation experts!