Repairing Old Water Heater May Not Be Worth The Cost

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Repairing Old Water Heater May Not Be Worth The Cost

Is it worth the cost to repair an old-fashioned storage tank water heater that is more than 5 years old?

Is it worth the cost to repair an old-fashioned storage tank water heater that is more than 5 years old?

Is your water heater storage tank leaking? If so, you probably won’t read this article. Instead, you’ll be on the phone desperately trying to find a plumber who can quickly come to your house. Then you’ll be mopping up the mess. We’re sorry you’re not having a great day.

In most cases, a leaky water tank means that your hot water system will need to be replaced. There really is no way to repair a leaky water tank. Did your day just get worse? We’re sorry about that too.

If you’re having other problems with your water heater, you may be able to repair it. The question then becomes: Is it worth the cost to repair anĀ old-fashioned storage tank water heater that is more than 5 years old?

To answer that question, you need to consider a few things:

  1. Nature of the problem
  2. Age of the unit compared to its life expectancy
  3. Warranty coverage
  4. Repair costs
  5. Long-term benefits of repairing vs. replacing the system


What Is Your Problem?

Several types of issues can arise with your water heater, including:

  • Water too hot or too cold – the issue may be related to the thermostat
  • Not enough hot water – the problem could be associated with a clogged flue or vent, or the dip tube
  • No hot water – this problem stems from the pilot light going out. Reigniting the pilot could be a simple solution. If the pilot won’t re-light or stay lit, you may have a bigger problem.
  • Pilot won’t light or stay lit – problem usually related to a faulty gas thermocouple or pilot control valve
  • Rusty water – problem probably caused by dissolved water heater anode rod or possible corrosion inside the glass-lined tank
  • Rotten-egg smell – stems from bacteria in sediment at bottom of tank caused by dissolved anode rod
  • System makes unusual noises – may be caused by build-up of sediment

If you’ve discovered the problem and determined your hot water heater can be repaired, you then need to determine if repairing the unit is the best long-term solution.


Is Repairing a Broken Water Heater the Right Choice?

For newer units still under warranty, repairing the system is probably the right choice.

For units more than 5 years old, replacing the system may be the best long-term choice. For systems that are 8 years old or more, replacement is probably the right choice. Here’s why:

  • The average life expectancy of a storage tank hot water heater is about 10 years. If you live in an area with very hard water, its life could be cut in half. High usage will also shorten its life.
  • The cost of the parts and the labor to repair a broken storage tank water heater will probably run several hundred dollars, which you could instead invest in a new unit that will last a long time.
  • The energy efficiency of new water heaters is much greater than a decade ago. The cost savings during the next decade will help to offset the replacement cost.
  • A tankless water heater, based on the latest technology, is even more energy-efficient and will improve performance.


Why Go Tankless?

With an on-demand tankless water heater system, you will have lower monthly energy bills and you will immediately and always have hot water whenever you need it.

A tankless water heater will take up a lot less space than a system with a 40-60 gallon water storage tank.

A tankless water heater's compact, wall-mount design can occupy about 80% less space than a traditional 50-gallon water storage tank water heater.

In addition, you will be able to avoid replacing your water heater again soon, because its life expectancy will be about double the expected life of a traditional storage tank model.

Another benefit of a tankless water heater is that it does not have an anode rod, so you’ll never have rusty hot water.


Knowledge Can Save You Money for Many Years

To learn more about the short-term and long-term advantages of an on-demand tankless water heater, read How Tankless Water Heaters Work.

If you’ve decided to replace your old water heater and would like more information about the cost and benefits of installing a state-of-the-art tankless model, please contact us.