Many homeowners in Carrollton, TX don’t give their water heater a second thought until something goes wrong. However, a broken or failing water heater can cause a huge issue, especially if it happens in the winter months and you are suddenly left without hot water to shower or heat your home. Most of the time, you can fix the problem by booking a water heater repair with a plumber. However, depending on your water heater’s age, your budget and what’s wrong with it, it may sometimes be better to replace your water heater. So, how do you decide whether repair or replacement is in order?
1. Find Out What’s Wrong
If you have a regular water heater with a tank, there are a few common issues that could go wrong with it. Booking a water repair technician to come and carry out an assessment is the easiest and most reliable way to find out what the problem is so you can make a decision. The most common water heater issues include:
- Tripped circuit breaker on an electric water heater
- Pilot light gone out on a gas water heater
- Failure of the burner or heating element
- Broken thermostat
- Stuck valve
A water heater repair technician can usually fix or replace these issues at a relatively low cost to you. However, if your hot water tank is leaking or corroded, this is a bigger issue and could cause flooding in your home. In this situation, it is normally necessary to replace your water heater altogether.
2. Consider Your Water Heater’s Age
In general, you can expect a traditional water heater with a tank to last for around 10 years and a tankless water heater for 20 years, providing you take good care of it and carry out routine maintenance.
If your water heater is nowhere near the end of its expected lifespan, it’s probably worth having a water heater repair as long as it isn’t leaking. However, you’ll probably save money in the long run if you have a very old water heater replaced, especially if it keeps breaking. You could think about this in terms of what you would do if an old car broke down- you wouldn’t spend a fortune on a new engine when you know it will need to be replaced soon anyway.
3. Look at Your Utility Bills
If you find that you constantly have to crank up the setting on your faucet or shower to get the water warm enough, this can be a sign that your heater isn’t performing efficiently anymore. This means it will have to work harder to supply your home with hot water, adding to wear and tear and hiking up your energy bills.
If your water heater is relatively new, a water heater repair technician may be able to perform repairs to help it perform more efficiently. However, an old unit that isn’t working at its best should be replaced, as you can offset the cost against the savings you’ll make on your utilities.
4. Consider the Cost of Repair
There’s a simple way to figure out whether it makes economic sense to have a water heater repair. This is often referred to as the 50% rule. If the cost of the repairs is more than 50% of what it would cost to buy a new water heater and have it installed, then you should think about replacement instead. If it’s less than 50%, a repair is probably the best course of action.
That being said, you should use your discretion and consider your water heater’s age when applying this rule, because it may be better to replace an old water heater even if the repair costs are under 50%. It’s also worth bearing in mind how often your heater has broken down in the last couple of years. If it’s breaking frequently, it may be cheaper to replace it instead of paying for a repair on a regular basis.
5. Consider the Cost of Replacement
While it’s important to weigh up the costs of a water heater repair, it’s also advisable to make sure you’ve considered the potential hidden costs of having it replaced. In many cases, it’s not quite as simple as removing the old heater and putting in a new one as local building regulations may also require you to upgrade the following:
- Water heater mount
- Drain pan
- Venting system
- Supply pipes
Before you commit to replacing your water heater instead of having a water heater repair, ask a Carrollton, TX plumber to provide you with a complete breakdown of all the costs involved to make sure replacement is your most cost-effective option.
How to Avoid Water Heater Repair or Replacement
Water heaters work hard to supply hot water to your home year after year, and at some point, repair or replacement will be unavoidable. However, you can prolong its life and stop things from going wrong by carrying out routine maintenance. Flushing your system is an important step in maintaining your water heater and should be carried out every 6 months-2 years depending on how hard the water is in your area. This process is sometimes referred to as descaling and removes mineral deposits from the inside of your unit. Not only does this protect your heater’s key components, but it also helps your system to run more efficiently, potentially saving you money on your energy bills.
The Bottom Line
If your water heater isn’t working properly, it can usually be fixed relatively easily. However, replacement may be a better option than throwing money at frequently repairing an old, inefficient unit.
If you’re planning on repairing or replacing your water heater, get in touch with bluefrog Plumbing & Drain of North Dallas. Our experienced and professional team can help Carrollton, TX homeowners with all aspects of water heater repair, replacement, and maintenance to make sure you’re never left without hot water.