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There is nothing worse than waking up on a frigid winter morning to a cold shower due to a water heater that is on the fritz, or worse, has completely died! Here are a few things to consider when faced with the cost of repairing or replacing your water heater.
What caused the issue?
Conventional water heaters are relatively simple and straightforward in the way that they operate, so there are only a few different things that can malfunction.. Cold water enters the tank and is heated by an electric element or gas burner. As the water heats, pressure builds inside the tank. When you turn on a tap, pressure sends hot water out the faucet. If you fail to get hot water when you turn on your faucet, it could be as simple as a pilot light being out, a circuit breaker being tripped, or a broken thermostat. Another possibility is that the heating element itself is broken or faulty. Repairing or replacing any of those parts is relatively simple and inexpensive. Over time, water minerals react with steel, corroding water heater tanks. When water heaters spring a leak, repair isn't an option.
When to repair and when to replace
A conventional storage tank water heater has a life of about 10-15 years, so if your unit is in that age range, it may be worth footing the cost to replace your water heater than constantly fixing regular problems as they arise with age. However, if your water heater is only a few years old, repair may be the way to go.
Will a new system lower my bills?
Today's high-efficiency water heaters not only heat your water better and faster but they can save you on your energy bills. Manufacturers now inject foam insulation between the tank and its outer shell, resulting in higher heat retention. New glass liners make tanks less prone to corrosion.
You may need to pay to install a new conventional storage unit. But on the bright side homeowners experience up to a 20% decrease in their bills with a new efficient water heating system. If you do end up having to pay for a new water heater it may be much more cost effective than your old one ever was.
Even with conventional water heaters, replacement might not be as simple as hooking up the new system. Many local building codes now require you to upgrade other items like, the water heater mount, venting system, supply pipes, and the drain pan under the water heater. Ask your installer to address these issues before you embark on the installation so you don't have any surprises!
Maintain your water heater for the future
Whether you repair or replace, water heaters will perform better and last longer if you flush the tank once a year to remove sediment. Your water heater will operate more efficiently, saving you money.
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