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As they are mostly out of sight, water heaters are often a matter of no concern until you find your basement flooded or you have to make do with a cold shower. You then have to make a quick decision: should you replace it, or would water heater repair be a more viable option?
Ideally, tankless water heaters can last for over 20 years, while the lifespan of gas and electric heaters is about ten years. If your unit has exceeded or outlived its lifespan, you should consider water heater replacement as repairs might be futile. As the water in Brookhaven, GA is quite hard, you may require water heater replacement services before the unit’s life expectancy lapses.
That being said, your unit’s life expectancy will also depend on such factors as the quality of installation, your unit’s maintenance schedule, its design, and water quality. If you are experiencing problems with your Brookhaven, GA water heater and aren’t sure whether to replace or opt for a repair, here is how to decide.
Your water heater’s sufficiency
Has your demand for hot water changed since you had the water heater installed? If your family has expanded, you may want to consider water heater replacement to cater to the extra loads of baths, laundry, and other hot water needs.
Determine whether the unit’s hot water supply was sufficient before you decide whether to replace or opt for a repair. Did the water heat up as fast as expected, or did you have to wait? Did you have to schedule your shower times so that everyone got hot water?
Likewise, if some members of your family have moved out, consider installing a smaller unit. Using a bigger unit than is necessary involves wasting energy.
The cause of your water heater’s issues
The type and extent of damage will influence your repair or replacement decision. For instance, issues such as reduced water flow, smelly or discolored water, and varying temperatures can be solved through water heater repairs. However, a replacement might be necessary if there are extensive leaks or if you notice rumbling or boiling sounds. Ideally, a technician will diagnose and establish the extent of the damage so that they can advise you on whether you should repair or replace it.
The costs involved
Water heater replacement costs are often higher compared to water heater repairs as you have to consider such factors as:
- Cost of buying the unit
- Installation materials and permits
- Labor costs
- The state of your plumbing system
- Whether you need the unit installed in a new position
- Whether you are changing to a tankless unit from a gas water heater or vice versa. These changes necessitate the rewiring of your home or the addition of a gas line.
Although the water heater repair costs could be significantly lower, if they are 50% or more of the water heater replacement costs, the latter would be a more viable option. Also, if the water heater repair is going to add only one year or two to the unit’s longevity, it might not be worth the trouble.
Your water heater’s efficiency
Most manufacturers put a sticker on the unit’s side that shows its approximate cost of operation, energy efficiency, and R-value.
If your unit’s energy costs are constantly higher than the indicated estimates despite observing its scheduled maintenance, it may be time to replace the unit.
The R-value refers to the unit’s thermal resistance. Modern water heaters are heavily insulated, thus reducing standby heat losses. Consequently, they have lower operational costs. If you cannot see your unit’s R-Value, use your hands to feel it. If it is warm to the touch, you will need additional insulation. However, if its R-value is less than 12, you may need to consider replacing it.
The decision on whether you should repair or replace your water heater depends on a number of factors. Although some common problems can be successfully repaired, others are not as straightforward. In some situations, replacing your unit may even be a cost-effective option.
Some of the most common signs of water heater repair include:
- Discolored water – This may be a result of sediment build-up or corroded parts inside the unit. The former can be remedied through scheduled maintenance and water heater flushing, while corroded parts can be replaced.
- Minor leaks – Leaks caused by loose drain or pressure relief valves are easy to remedy. Also, a leak caused by a faulty or corroded anode rod can be resolved by replacing it.
- Strange noises – Popping sounds from your unit might be a sign of a loose part or sediment build-up.
The instances that may necessitate water heater replacement include:
- It is too old.
- The costs of water heater repair exceed the cost of buying a new water heater.
- If the unit can no longer fulfill your home’s hot water demand or if the hot water runs out much faster than it used to.
- If distinct problems keep emerging and you have to call a technician every few days.
- If you suddenly start receiving increased utility bills despite there being no significant change in your day-to-day operations.
While it is undoubtedly costly to upgrade to a new unit, it makes no economic sense to keep repairing a water heater every now and then. If your unit has become inefficient, requires frequent, costly repairs, and has outlived its lifespan, it’s time you considered water heater replacement.
However, you also need to consult a knowledgeable technician before you make a final decision. Apart from explaining the costs, pros, and drawbacks of both options, the technician will advise you based on your specific circumstances.
In a nutshell, the decision to have water heater repairs or a replacement in your Brookhaven, GA, home can be daunting. Peach Plumbing & Drain experts, however, can not only determine precisely what you need but also offer favorable prices for both instances. We are available 24/7 to ensure all your plumbing needs and emergencies are met. Get in touch with us today for more information about water heater repairs and replacement.