How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Water Heater?

Typical Range:

$2,513 - $6,997

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 20,111 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

How We Get This Data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated June 6, 2022

Reviewed by Jeff Botelho, Licensed Journeyman Plumber.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Hot Water Heater Repair Cost

The national average cost to repair a water heater is $4,681. The typical range for repairs is between $2,513 and $6,997, though homeowners may spend as little as $100 for minor respairs and as much as $1,300 for multiple repairs.

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National Average $4,681
Typical Range $2,513 - $6,997
Low End - High End $1,000 - $12,000

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 20,111 HomeAdvisor members.

Average cost for hot water heater repair is $590, ranging from $100 to $1,300

Cost of Water Heater Repairs By Type

Depending on the type of repair needed, your water heater fix could cost a lot or a little.

Gas Water Heater Repair Costs

You’ll pay $150 to $500 to fix common issues with gas water heaters. Repairs usually deal with the pilot light, thermostat, or thermocouple. To diagnose, know what indicators to look out for. 

Pilot Light Assessment and Reignition

The service call fee for a plumber to check the pilot light ranges from $45 to $150 per hour. It’s common for pilot lights to go out in gas units. If this is the case, you may not need repairs. Instead, it might have blown out or lost its connection temporarily. If you follow safe procedures, you can relight this component on your own, saving you the service call fee.

Thermocouple Replacement Cost

Calling a professional plumber to install a new thermocouple can reach $150. If you do the work yourself, you will only pay the part price, which is about $20

The thermocouple senses that the pilot light is lit and triggers the gas control valve to continue providing gas. When this part fails, it won't be able to sense the presence of the flame accurately, and the control valve will stop releasing gas. This also means you won’t be able to relight the pilot or the burner. Replacement is the only option here. 

If you are considering a DIY route, shut off your gas connection and let the water cool before working with the unit.

Gas Control Valve Replacement

The cost to replace a gas control valve usually runs between $300 and $500. When this part has gone bad, replacing it is usually more efficient and cost-effective than repair. The control valve is responsible for releasing gas and turning it off when the pilot light is out. A bad valve can render your entire unit unsafe. 

A professional will diagnose this problem if your burner or pilot light won't light or stay lit, and after issues with the thermocouple and pilot light themselves have been ruled out.

Electric Water Heater Repair Costs

Electric water heater repair costs generally range between $20 and $300. Tripped breakers and bad heating elements are the most common issues for these units. You can resolve a tripped breaker without the help of an electrician. But if a breaker is not your issue, test both the thermostats and their heating elements.

Heater Element Replacement Cost

Professionals charge $200 to $300 to repair heating elements. Every unit will have a heating element at the top and bottom of the unit. The top element controls the bottom element, which means you won’t be able to generate hot water if it goes bad. Test the function of these elements with a continuity tester, which costs about $10 at a hardware store.

Thermostat Replacement

Hiring a professional to remove a thermostat and install a new one averages $150 to $200, with the part itself costing roughly $20. Each heating element connects to a thermostat. If the heating elements are in working condition, your problem is likely a malfunctioning thermostat. Luckily, a plumber does not have to remove the elements to replace a thermostat.

Tripped Breaker or Blown Fuse

A tripped breaker costs nothing to reset and fuses usually run around $20 if you have to replace one. You can diagnose a tripped breaker or damaged fuse yourself by checking the fuse box.

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Hot Water Tank Repair Costs

Repair costs for a hot water tank usually average between $150 and $700, depending on the repair.

Type of Repair Cost
Low water level $0
Leaking Up to $1,000
Flush or clean tank $75 – $250
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Low Water Level

You can resolve a low water level for free. One of the top issues with boiler systems is low water levels in the expansion tank. Make sure your system remains halfway filled with a pressure of 12 to 15 PSI. You can fill the expansion tank yourself.

Leaking 

The cost to repair a leaking water tank can run up to $1,000. Most leaks should be handled by a professional. A malfunctioning pump, a bad seal, sediment, faulty valves, or compromised pipe connections can cause leaks.

Cost to Flush or Clean the Tank

A plumber can refresh your tank for between $75 and $250. Water heating systems will perform better and last longer if you flush the tank once a year to remove sediment. Your unit will operate more efficiently, saving you money. This is true for both gas and electric systems.

As sediment builds on the bottom of the tank, you may start to hear noises. You should flush your tank to prevent failing heating elements, leaks, or total unit shutdown.

Replacing Other Heating Elements

Other heating elements such as the pressure relief valve, the anode rod, and the dip tube cost between $10 and $200 for repairs.

Heating Element Repair Type Cost with Labor
Pressure relief valve $20 – $200
Anode rod $20 – $50 (part only)
Dip tube $10 – $150

Pressure Relief Valve Cost

A replacement valve costs around $20, and calling in a professional could bring your cost up to $200. The pressure relief valve is there as a safety measure in case the pressure inside the tank gets too high. If moisture is seeping out of this valve at a "leaking" rate, there are several potential problems. You may have sediment buildup in the valve, the pressure in your tank may be too high, or you may need a new part entirely.

Removing this valve to install a new one is one of the safer repairs to attempt on your own. If you plan to diagnose this yourself, turn off your unit, turn off the gas (if applicable) and let the water cool before you inspect the valve.

Anode Rod Cost

The rod itself is only $20 to $50. Plumbers suggest getting a new anode rod every five years and, with proper instructions and precautions, you can perform this maintenance on your own. The anode rod prevents corrosion inside the tank by drawing the corrosion to itself. So, a heavily eroded may turn your water a rust color and have an odor and/or taste.

If you replace the anode rod before the corrosion enters the interior of your tank, you can extend the life of your water heater. You’ll need to replace your tank if the rust reaches the inside of your tank.

Dip Tube Cost

Dip tubes are usually $10. You’ll pay about $150 to have a professional replace it. Electric and gas styles have dip tubes, which carry cold water from the top of your tank to the bottom. When your dip tube is disintegrated or broken off in the tank, your water will not get very hot.

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Cost to Replace a Water Heater

Getting a new unit altogether will be $600 to $1,800. A conventional storage tank water heater has a life of about 10 to 15 years, so if your unit is in that age range, it may be worth footing the cost to replace a water heater rather than constantly fixing problems as they arise with age. 

Over time, water minerals react with steel, corroding tanks. It’s impossible to repair a leak within the tank. However, leaks from valves, pipes, and vents may simply require tightening and cleaning. Leaks coming directly from the water heater and pooling under it indicates unrepairable tank damage. Hire an experienced plumber to confirm your suspicions and replace your heater.

FAQs

Is it worth it to replace a water heater?

If your water heater constantly requires repairs, replacing the unit will save you money in the long run. You’ll also have the assurance that hot water will be available when you need it.

How many years does a water heater last?

On average, tank water heaters have a life of between 8 and 12 years. Electric water heaters can last upwards of 10 to 15 years, and in general, gas models last 8 to 12 years.

What are the signs of a failing water heater?

There are a few telltale signs that your water heater will fail. These include:

  • Murky tap water

  • Rust deposits in the water

  • A metallic odor

  • No hot water 

  • Hot water runs out quickly

  • Leaks

  • Low water pressure

  • Noises from the tank

  • Water is too hot

If you notice any of these things, call in a professional to have your water heater evaluated.