When To Replace A Water Heater Instead Of Repairing It

Many homeowners find it easy to forget that their household relies on a single appliance to provide hot water. However, when there is an issue with your Boise home’s water heater, you quickly remember this one-of-a-kind wonder. Finding yourself enduring a cold shower is not a good way to start or end your day. But a fast call to your local plumber can often have your home’s hot water restored within a day. Your only question might be the choice of a repair or replacement. You quickly start to wonder if you are being encouraged to replace the unit because it is a good money maker for the contractor. Before you sign off on a replacement, there are a few things to consider.

What You Should Expect From A Water Heater

Before you can make a well-informed decision about repairing or replacing your home’s water heater, you should know the basic life expectancy of a typical unit. In the case of a traditional tank-style water heater, you can expect about 10-12 years of reliable service. This includes both natural gas and electric models. But this decade-plus life expectancy hinges on the unit receiving the appropriate service each year. Draining and flushing the tank is necessary to remove the sediment and mineral build-up that can destroy the tank walls. If you have not been providing this care, a replacement is a wise choice after 5-8 years old.

Evaluating The Repair Cost

A licensed plumber knows that there are many components on a water heater that are easy and affordable to replace. For example, a leaking drain valve, pressure relief valve, or even the heating element can be replaced for a fraction of the cost of a new water heater. 

If your water heater is less than a decade old and has been well cared for, a repair that is less than 25% of the cost of a new unit is a sound investment. When the repair cost is close to 50% of the replacement price, it is usually a better choice to purchase the new unit and know that you will have another decade of reliability.

Is It The First Repair?

When you are dealing with the first problem from a water heater around ten years old, it is not a bad idea to make the repair as long as it is under 25% of the cost of a replacement. However, if this is just another in a long line of repairs, invest in a new water heater that will include a warranty and likely be more energy efficient than your current model.

Selecting A New Water Heater

When you opt for a new water heater, be sure to consider the following choices:

  • Volume: decide if you would like a larger or smaller holding tank to better meet your current needs
  • Recovery Rate: this will tell you how many gallons the unit will heat in one hour or how long you will need to wait for a new tank of hot water once the hot water has been consumed
  • Size: will the new unit fit into the same space as the old one, or will you need to have additional piping installed to relocate the new water heater
  • Energy Efficiency Rating: with a more energy-efficient unit, you could be saving on your energy cost each month, and maybe you could treat yourself to a larger water heater

When you discover an issue with your home’s water heater, call (208) 571-4089. The Viking Plumbing team of licensed plumbers is here 24/7 to repair or replace your current water heater.