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Should I Repair Or Replace My Water Heater?

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How To Know When To Fix Or Replace Your Hot Water Heater

Your home’s hot water heater is vital to the comfort of your daily life. From washing your hands to washing dishes, you use the hot water in your home dozens of times per day without even noticing it–until something goes wrong. If your hot water heater has started acting up, you’ve likely already begun weighing the pros and cons of paying for repairs vs. getting a new one. Luckily, your team of experts here at Hobaica Services is ready to help! In this month’s blog, we’ll walk you through all the factors that go into whether should you repair or replace your home’s water heater.

How Old Is The Water Heater?

There are a couple of often-repeated rules of thumb, such as the 50% rule (replace the water heater if repairs will cost 50% or more of the cost of a new one) and the $500 rule (replace if the repairs will cost more than $500), but we recommend that you make your decision after considering several factors - first of which is the age of your water heater.

The lifespan of a water heater is generally from 8 to 10 years. After about the 8 year mark, you can expect your water heater to begin behaving more and more erratically. After so many years on the job, many of the components of your water heater will have begun to wear down and corrode, creating potential safety hazards. If you’re having a medium-to-major problem with your water heater and it’s more than 8 years old, it will nearly always be in your best interest to replace it. 

Hot Water Heater Problems To Repair

Luckily, many of the most common problems with your water heater are quick and easy to fix, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. These include:

  • Sediment accumulation at the bottom of the tank: Especially if you live in an area with hard water, minerals and sediment will build up in your water heater tank over time. Emptying and flushing out your tank once or twice a year will go a long way toward resolving this issue. 
  • Pilot light won’t stay lit: There are lots of small reasons that your pilot light might be going out, including a damaged thermocouple or a dirty pilot light opening. Cleaning the tubes and openings and replacing the thermocouple are low-cost ways to keep your pilot light going strong.  
  • Broken thermostat: If you’re experiencing inconsistent water temperatures coming out of your faucets, the problem might be as simple as a broken water heater thermostat.
  • No hot water: Sometimes, solving this problem can be as simple as checking your circuit breaker to see if any of your circuits need to be re-set. By not overlooking the little things, you might save yourself a lot of time! 

Issues That Require A Professional Plumber

It’s important to keep in mind that water heaters, though found in nearly every home in the country, do pose certain safety risks. Any time you’re dealing with electricity, open flame or large amounts of water, the potential exists that something could go horribly awry. Aside from the safety concerns, using a professional plumber can make sure your water heater is repaired in such a way that you’re using your water and energy resources efficiently. 

The following problems occur due to a wide range of causes and might be indicative of a simple problem that a professional plumber can handle right away, or they could point to much more serious issues that will mean you’ll have to replace your unit. Because they could mean major issues, it’s advisable to contact an experienced plumber if you notice any of these problems with your water heater: 

  • Unusual noises 
  • Leaks 
  • Corrosion 
  • Rust on the outside of your tank 

Major Water Heater Problems That Require Replacement

For some water heater issues, the wisest choice is to replace the unit entirely for both financial and safety reasons. Keep in mind that you can claim a tax credit for up to 30% of the cost of a new water heater if you upgrade to certain energy-efficient models too! A couple of the most common major issues requiring replacement include:

  • Rusty water: If rust-colored water comes out of your faucets even after a system flush, it probably means that your hot water heater’s tank has corroded and the protective layer on the inside has worn away. 

  • Skyrocketing energy bills: Depending on whether you have a gas or electric water heater, your utility bills might be much higher than you’re accustomed to. If the difference can’t be accounted for by the rising cost of utilities, you could very likely benefit from upgrading to a newer model.  

It may seem like a simple procedure, but you should always use a professional plumber when it’s time to install a new water heater. Licensed plumbers know the building codes and regulations for your area, and they can save you money on your energy bill by making sure your new unit is installed correctly and not leaking or wasting any gas, electricity, or water. 

Whatever You Decide, Hobaica is Here to Help

We hope you feel more confident in your decision whether to repair or replace your hot water heater. Our friendly, knowledgeable plumbers are happy to offer their expert opinion on the question of repair vs. replace, and we offer top-of-the-line, energy-efficient water hearts to suit a range of budgets and water consumption needs. We can also check if your newer water heater is still under warranty before paying for repairs or replacement. For any water heater issue, don’t hesitate to call Hobaica Services at 602-633-9555 today.  

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