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Should I Repair or Replace My Hot Water Heater? A NJ Tech Answers

Jun. 15, 2020
Should I Repair or Replace My Hot Water Heater?

Having issues with your water heater and wondering whether it’s worth repairing or if you should replace your heater altogether? We get it! And it’s a good thing you’re asking because many homeowners continue to repair a dying water heater, which could end up costing them a lot more than simply replacing the entire heater. 

So, the question is, how do you know whether you should repair or replace your water heater? 

You’ll need to look at: 
  • The age of your water heater
  • The warranties you have 
  • The type of repair needed
Below, we’ll look at each of these factors in more detail, so you can get a better idea of whether it’s smarter for you to repair or replace your water heater. 

Note: Throughout this blog, we will be talking about tank water heaters only. If you have a tankless water heater, contact us for advice on whether you should repair or replace it. We’d be happy to help you. Otherwise, you can learn more about the water heater services we offer.
 

Factor #1: The age of your water heater

On average, tank water heaters last about 10 years, so if your water heater is 8-12 years old, you should probably think about replacing it rather than repairing it (depending on the cost of the repair). 

We know you’re probably thinking, “Why would I pay for a completely new water heater when I can pay a lot less for a repair?” 

Well, if your water heater is near the end of its lifespan, you’re going to need to replace it soon anyway. So, while a repair probably is cheaper than a replacement, why invest another $150-$500 in a water heater that you’ll need to replace in the near future? 

It’s the same concept as another big-ticket item, like a car. If your car had 150,000 miles on it and the transmission needed to be replaced, would you repair it or would you just buy a new car? 

This is the same reason you should consider when it comes to your hot water heater. Sure, a repair will always be cheaper than replacing the system, but in the long run, it could end up costing you a lot more. 
 

Factor #2: The warranties you have in place

When you installed your hot water heater, it probably came with two warranties:
  • Labor warranty
  • Manufacturer (parts) warranty
If those warranties are valid, it could cover or decrease the cost of the repair or replacement.
Here’s a little more detail:

Labor warranty- A labor warranty is covered by the contractor or company who installed your hot water heater, and covers the cost of labor if something was installed incorrectly. Usually, these warranties last about 5-10 years, unless you purchased an extended warranty. 

Manufacturer (parts) warranty- A parts warranty covers the cost of a part if it was faulty when your water heater was installed. This usually lasts about 5 years unless you have an extended warranty.

Note: Your warranty could be void if you haven’t had your water heater maintained annually by a professional, or if you’ve repaired it with off-brand parts in the past. 

To check the validity of your warranties, contact the contractor or company who installed your water heater (labor warranty) and check the manufacturer’s website to see the validity of your parts warranty. 
 

Factor #3: The type of repair needed

The type of repair needed will have a big impact on the cost of your water heater repair. 

For example, replacing a pressure relief valve will be far less expensive than repairing a leaking water heater (usually if your tank water heater is leaking you’ll need to replace it altogether). 

Our advice to you is to follow the 50% rule. If the repair you need costs 50% or more of what it would cost to replace your water heater, you should just replace it rather than repairing it. As we mentioned above, you’ll spend more money in the long-run if you pay for an expensive repair and then have to replace your water heater a few years later. 
 

Still unsure whether repairing or replacing your water heater is best? Air Experts can help

We know the decision between repairing and replacing your water heater can be a tough one, especially if the repair costs a lot. If you’re on the fence about which of these two options is best for you, we’d be happy to help. We have over 26 years of experience helping NJ homeowners with hot water heater issues, and we’ll use that knowledge to help you too.

Schedule service!