Turning on the hot water faucet and finding a steady stream of cool water usually means an urgent call to the plumber for water heater repair, or worst case, a replacement. The three factors you and the plumber need to consider before making the decision include its age, condition and your budget.
Water heaters have a life span from 10 to 13 years, and how well you’ve taken care of it has a big impact on its lifespan. Flushing it annually and replacing the anode rod inside it periodically will extend its life. Since water heaters have few parts, repairs may be limited to the thermostat, pressure relief valve, the heating element or the burner for a gas water heater.
If the tank itself starts to leak, there’s almost no chance that anyone will be able to repair it. Replacing the anode rod when it’s spent is the easiest way to avoid the corrosion that weakens them. Another situation where water heater repair won’t work is a burst water heater, usually caused by a malfunctioning pressure relief valve.
It’s a good idea to test the valve occasionally by lifting up on it and letting it snap back quickly. If you see water dribbling from it or hear water draining into a pipe, the valve is good. If it doesn’t, turn it off and contact a plumber immediately.
If the water heater can be fixed, it’ll usually cost less than installing a new one. However, if your budget allows, you’ll likely save energy and money by replacing the old heater. If you size the storage water heater based on the first hour rating rather than your home’s size, you could save money on the purchase, as well as the ongoing costs to heat water. If you have ample room in the budget, installing a tankless water heater will lower your water heating costs even more.
To learn more about whether you can opt for water heater repair instead of replacement, contact Aqua Plumbing & Air. We’ve proudly provided plumbing services for the Sarasota and Bradenton areas since 1974.