Did you wake up to an unpleasantly cold shower this morning? Your water heater could be to blame. While it could be in need of a minor repair it could just as easily due for a total replacement. Knowing which one to spend your money on can be confusing, especially when you’re unsure of what the issue is. If you want to get the hot water running once again, read on to learn if you should repair or replace your broken water heater.
Should You Repair or Replace?
Water heaters typically have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years, depending on your model. When it comes to decision time of whether you should repair or replace follow this rule of thumb: never spend more than half the cost of replacing on a repair.
You need to be aware of how old your unit is, as the closer it is to its 8-12 year lifespan, the less value you will get out of a repair. This means that if your repair is going to cost you $500 and your unit is over 7 years old, it’s a better investment to replace your water heater. That being said, if your repair will only cost $100 and your unit is 4 years old, it’s better to have it repaired.
While replacing your unit comes with a high cost upfront, it will save you money in the long run. This is because the closer your unit comes to the end of its life, the less effective repairs will be. If one part is broken, it’s likely another one will break soon after so you may end up spending more money on temporary fixes.
Another advantage of replacing your old unit is that newer models come with modern advancements that help to heat your water better and faster. They also help save money on your energy bills, making their upfront cost easier to manage. You can expect to see roughly up to a 20% decrease in your energy bill with a new water heater.
Cost of Repairing a Water Heater
There are several factors that will impact the price you pay to have your water heater repaired. These factors include the type of heater, the severity of the issue, and whether or not you need to repair the power supply (natural gas, electrical or plumbing). Remember to consider the age of your unit to help you determine if the cost of repairing is worth it in the long run.
On average, you can expect to pay between $325 to $760 for water heater repairs. The majority of homeowners report spending roughly $640 to fix their broken water heaters.
Remember that water heater repairs should only be handled by a pro. Attempting to fix yours could result in further damage to the unit and, in a worst case scenario, a major flood in your home.
Cost of Replacing a Water Heater
Whether your unit has come to the end of its working lifespan or your repair costs are just too high, replacing your water heater is sometimes the best option. The cost of a new water heater mostly depends on whether you opt for a tankless or tank-type heater. Check out this article where we breakdown the most common water heater options and their costs.
For a typical tank-type water heater, you can expect to pay between $900-2,000, with an average cost of around $1,300, depending on the model. Remember that your power supply will also affect your total cost. Gas-powered water heaters are more expensive to buy than electric, but cost less to operate. Electric water heaters are more efficient than gas and come with a higher energy-factor rating.
Tankless water heaters cost more initially. Depending on your unit and if you need new power or gas lines installed, you can expect to pay between $2,000-6,000 for tankless water heater installation. Homeowners on average spent about $3,000 for their units.
Water heaters are relatively simple appliances but attempting to make DIY repairs can be dangerous. Remember that your water heater is a tank full of extremely hot water, and if you’re not careful you could seriously injure yourself and damage your home. This is why we always recommend having a professional assess the situation.
Whether you know exactly what the issue is or need help from a pro identifying it, start on HomeStars and connect with trusted plumbers in your area who can best tell you if you should repair or replace your broken water heater.