Repair and Replace Your Water Heater

A Water Heater’s Life: When to Repair and Replace Your Water Heater

Water heater replacement is one of those unavoidable, unglamorous home maintenance steps that inevitably must be taken at the most inconvenient time. Maybe just when you have stretched your budget to buy your next house? Perhaps as another of your children begins college? Water heaters have a tough job to perform so here, we unpack the ins and outs of the water heater lifecycle and explore the question — is it best to repair or replace?  


How Long Will It Last?

On average, you can expect your new gas water heater to last anywhere between 8 to 12 years, while an electric model can typically last slightly longer — 10 to 15 years. You may have moved to a new location and don’t know how old the water heater is, but fear not — there’s usually a way to tell. On older models, you can determine your unit’s age by decoding the water heater serial number. Some manufacturers, such as Rheem, helpfully incorporate the month and year into the first four digits of the serial number.


Should I Replace It?

Say you’ve determined how old your water heater is, and going by age, it seems to have plenty of life left. Are there still signs that you may be looking at imminent water heater replacement, or at least, repair? Firstly, check your energy bill. If it seems higher than normal, that could be a sign of a water heater issue. Improperly functioning water heaters use more power as they struggle to cope. Next, you may also notice you’re getting less hot water. This is usually due to a sediment buildup and usually leads to water heater failure.


The other simple water heater maintenance check to run is to give your unit a visual once-over. Is it rusty around the bottom? Is it leaky? Are the connections looking corroded or worn in any way? If so, that’s a clear indication that you should start planning for eventual water heater replacement.


The Good News

The news isn’t all bad — complete water heater replacement is not always necessary. There are common water heater issues that are quick, inexpensive fixes. These include burned-out heating elements, and leaky drains or pressure-relief valves. Diagnosis and repair in these instances saves you the expense of buying and installing a new water heater.


So when is it time to bite the bullet and commit to water heater replacement? The usual telling factors are warranty period — is it way out of warranty? — and the unit’s overall condition. Fletcher’s can tell you virtually instantly if your water heater repairs will be so extensive that replacement is the more cost-effective option. They can also get your water heater replacement installed fast, so you’ll be enjoying a nice hot shower before you know it.


We Can Help!

We’d be lost without water heaters — is there anything less appealing than a freezing cold shower? — so spare a thought for your unit’s welfare. If you’re in doubt about your water heater’s efficiency or lifespan, the best advice is to have Fletcher’s Plumbing & Contracting Inc. visit to diagnose your unit, to potentially catch any repairable issues before they develop into full-blown water heater replacement scenarios.