At Sav-On Plumbing, we work on a lot of water heaters. They break down, leak, or just stop working. It’s a common issue that many homeowners and landlords have to deal with. And sometimes, a simple repair just won’t do– the entire water heater will need to be replaced.
So when is it worth it to try to fix your water heater rather than replacing the whole thing?
Repair vs Replace: What Should I Do With My Water Heater?
We’ll be frank. In most cases, it’s better to plan on replacing your water heater.
Water heaters have a life cycle of around fifteen to twenty years in most cases. Usually, once a water heater starts reaching the end of its life cycle, the repairs it needs start to pile up. Eventually, it’s not worth putting a bandaid on the issue anymore. In this scenario, buying a new water heater is usually a better idea.
However, there are a few situations where it makes sense to repair your water heater rather than replacing it outright:
- If the cost to repair your water heater is under 50% of what it would cost to buy a new one, it’s worth trying. If your water heater needs a bigger repair, or it’s nearing the end of its life cycle where a repair might only lengthen its life by a year or two, you should consider replacing it.
- If the fix is cheap and relatively simple, and your water heater is not approaching the fifteen-year mark, look into repairing it.
- If your water heater issue involves smelly water or a bacterial issue, there is usually no need to get it replaced. You can clean it out yourself if you know what you’re doing, or have a pro do it without breaking the bank.
As a general rule of thumb, if your water heater starts leaking, it’s pretty much time for a new one – it’s very rare that fixing a leak is worth doing.
If you have a suspicion that your water heater issue has to do with other plumbing in your home, get a diagnosis from a trained plumber before trying to repair anything. Even if your budget is limited, it’s always good to get an experienced pair of eyes on any plumbing issue to make sure it’s handled correctly.