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Should I repair or replace my water heater?

After thousands of water heater installations, we hear this question often. Sometimes it’s obvious if you should replace your conventional tank-style water heater. For instance, your water heater might have sprung a leak and now your basement is full of water.

But what about the less obvious cases? 

Let’s dive into a few things you can analyze to know if you should repair or replace your water heater.

Is your water heater more than 10 years old?

If so, it might be time to replace it. The typical water heater lifespan is 8-12 years old. And when they reach the 10-year mark and beyond, they can quickly start to fail. If your heater is over 13 years old, there is more than a 70% chance your water heater will begin to leak this year. We highly recommend replacing beyond the 13-year mark. 

If your water heater has not been adequately maintained (or if you don’t know its maintenance history due to a recent house purchase), sediment can build up in the tank and dramatically reduce its efficiency. If so, you might have noticed your energy bills slowly rising over the past few years. If you want to increase your energy efficiency and lower your energy bills, replace your water heater. 

By the way, we recommend flushing your water heater annually to reduce sediment build-up. If you want to learn how to do this, watch our video here.

Is your water heater leaking?

Another culprit of old water heaters is small cracks that begin to develop in the tank. These can go unnoticed, but can quickly develop into a large crack and flood your basement. If you have even a small amount of water on the floor, a flooded basement could be imminent. Replacing your water heater (quickly) is likely your best solution.

Do you hear any unexpected noises coming from your water heater?

Popping, clunking, or creaking noises signs that you have a mechanical issue with your water heater. Have a professional diagnose the sound with you over the phone, and they can quickly tell you what the replacement part will cost to fix. If your water heater is edging towards the end of its life and is costly to fix, you might want to consider replacing your entire water heater. 

Do you see any rust coming out of your taps when you turn the hot water on?

Conventional water heaters (with a tank) are made of steel, and after years of use, they can develop rust. If your tank is rusty, replacing your water heater is likely your only option.

However, your water heater might not be the culprit. If you have an older home, the rust could be coming from old pipes that are not up to code. If you do see rust, hire a professional plumber to inspect your pipes and water heater. 

Do you have to relight your pilot light often?

This could be a sign that your thermocouple, gas valve, or burner assembly has failed. If you have a newer water heater, it’s usually best to repair it. Here a few other parts that can be repaired:

  • Heating elements 
  • Thermostats 
  • Igniters 
  • Motors   

Still not sure if you should repair or replace your water heater?

If you’re still unsure if you need to repair or replace your water heater, check with a professional. Our expert technicians are standing by to answer your questions and walk you through the best-suited options for you.

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