Should I Repair or Replace my Water Heater?

Water heaters aren’t that big of a problem – that is until you are unpleasantly jolted by a cold shower. Or when you start noticing a rather large pool of water around the heater. That is when you have to think on your feet and decide whether to have the problem fixed or invest in a new machine.

However, deciding whether to have major appliances fixed or replaced is a tricky endeavor. On the one hand, you have to think about how you can save money on the upgrade and the other; you don’t want to keep on wasting money, having the water heater consistently repaired. This is a common dilemma.

Fortunately for you, mentioned below are some vital factors you need to consider that will make it easier for you to decide.

The longevity of your water heater

The average life expectancy of a traditional gas heater and a tankless water heater is 12 years and 20 years, respectively. Simply put, if your gas or tankless water heater is at the end of its life cycle, getting a new one is a wise choice. Think about it; you wouldn’t want to get a new engine installed in a car that is 10+ years old now, would you?  The same applies to a water heater.

A steady increase in heating bills

If you have to keep on turning the dial on the water heater for maximum heating each time you go for a shower, it is a clear indication that the machine has become less energy efficient. Poor energy efficiency also results in higher water heating bills.

According to a report posted by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory back in 2013, it was indicated that water heating bills account for 13% of overall utility bills. So, consider a water heater replacement if you notice a stark increase in energy bills.

 The money spent on repairs and the frequency of repairs

As soon as your water heater malfunctions or breaks down, the best way to handle the situation is to first do a simple cost-benefit evaluation. You can determine whether repairing it would make more sense than to buy a new one and vice-versa.

The optimal way of doing this analysis is by following the 50% rule. It is simple really if the total cost of repair for the water heater exceeds 50% of the cost of a new water heater – it would then make sense to replace it.

However, in some cases, the average cost of repairs may not exceed 50%, but you are going to have to consider the frequency of repairs here. If you have to make frequent repairs to the water heater every year, and if the life cycle of the machine is coming to an end, you are basically throwing away money.

The advantages of replacing the water heater

As time goes by, your water heater will be subject to corrosion thanks to the constant reaction of water minerals with the steel. So, when there are leaks in the heater, having it repaired is not a good idea. In light of this, here are some benefits to getting a new machine.

  • Increased energy efficiency – Newer products are designed to be significantly more energy efficient, helping you save money on monthly bills.
  • Increased effectiveness – If you are tired of arguing over who gets to shower first because of water heating problems, then it is a good idea to get a new water heater.
  • No messes – When a water heater breaks down, it may cause plenty of leaks or burst a pipe, which is going to create plenty of mess. To avoid a nervous breakdown dealing with all those problems, getting a new water heater is wise.

The hidden costs of getting a new water heater

Even with new and more energy efficient products that you can get your hands on, getting rid of the old water heater and installing a new one is not going to be a simple task. There are plenty of building codes that dictate getting different upgrades first, such as:

  • Getting a new mount for the water heater
  • Getting the right type of venting system
  • Replacing or repairing the drain pan that is below the heater
  • Maintaining the supply pipes

So, if you do decide to get a water heater replacement, ensure you consult with a professional and discuss the potential price estimates of the process.

Do not procrastinate on maintaining your water heater

Irrespective of whether you get a new machine installed or have the old one repaired, if you neglect maintaining it, it will consistently malfunction and breakdown. So, try your best not to forget flushing the water tank every year and remove the sediment. Periodically removing all the grime and gunk will keep your water heater functioning smoothly.

Bottom Line

It is better to always weigh in all your options. Sure, it can be a bit expensive, getting a new water heater. However, what is even more troubling is having to spend hundreds of dollars repairing it every year.

Therefore, if the water heater is nearing the end of its prime, is not adequately heating water, and is costing a lot of money in repairs, get a new one.

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Evie Harrison
Evie harrison is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Find her on Twitter:@iamevieharrison
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