Should You Replace or Repair That Ailing Water Heater? 3 Key Considerations

Replacing an ailing water heater is a decision that’s based on the age of the heater, its condition and your budget. There are many new water heaters available today that save energy and money but repairing your existing water heater may cost less than buying a new one.

Age

Storage-tank water heaters usually last 10-13 years with normal family use. If your water heater is close to 10 years Should You Replace or Repair That Ailing Water Heater? 3 Key Considerationsold, you might consider an upgrade. Water heaters corrode over time and leak, especially if you have hard water. A puddle from the water heater in your drip pan, basement or garage signals a leak. The burner element can also fail with age.

Condition

Your ailing water heater may only have a pilot light that went out or an electrical circuit breaker problem. The thermostat may be broken or a valve may be stuck. There may be a build-up of sediment at the bottom of the tank. Most water heaters have an aluminum or magnesium anode or sacrificial probe that collects minerals and other elements that can clog the water heater. The anode should be replaced every three years. These problems may be easily resolved by a plumber.

Replacement

If you want to replace your ailing water heater, shop for the best type to fit your budget. Conventional water heaters use tanks where the water is heated to 120 to 140 degrees by an electric or gas element. The temperature is controlled by a thermostat.

New water heaters often feature an insulating foam layer between the inner tank and the outer shell. This reduces the sort of standby heat loss that’s common in older storage-tank water heaters, which lose heat as the water sits in the tank unused. This saves money on your water-heating bills. Modern glass-lined tanks also resist corrosion.

Installation

A new water heater should be installed by a licensed plumber. Once you have it installed, commit yourself to regular maintenance, so you can prolong the time before you have to replace it again. Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing can give you an estimate on a new water heater and installation service in the Cleveland area. At GoGeisel, we have served the Greater Cleveland area for more than 75 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about water heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!   

Image courtesy of Shutterstock