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Replacing vs. Repairing Your Water Heater

When you hop into the shower, few circumstances can be worse than feeling chilly water pouring from the showerhead. Nobody enjoys cranking the hot water dial only to find the temperature getting colder and not warmer. Hot water is an essential part of your daily routines, and when warm water isn’t flowing from the faucets, it’s typically a sign something is wrong with your water heater unit. The ultimate question is whether your hot water heater simply needs repair or should be replaced entirely.

When to Repair Your Water Heater

Conventional water heaters are relatively simple machines. Cold water enters the unit’s tank and is heated using either an electric heating element or a gas burner. A thermostat regulates the temperature, maintaining a constant 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. As the water is heated, pressure builds in the tank. This pressure sends hot water out of the faucet when you turn on the tap.

Water heaters have few moving parts, so there are only a few pieces that can be replaced. These include:

  • Pilot light
  • Circuit breakers
  • Heating elements
  • Thermostats
  • Valve sticks

If you have not had issues with your water heater in the past and the unit is relatively new, replacing these components is the most cost-effective and time-saving solution. However, if you’re constantly making repairs and the unit is near the end of its lifespan, replacement is the best alternative.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Water Heater

Replacing a water heater unit may sound like an expensive hassle, but depending on the water heater model and type, a replacement can add property value while making your home more energy-efficient. Signs that it is time to replace your water heater include:

  • Unit age: Water heaters are designed to perform efficiently and reliably for many years. But if the unit is at least 10 years old, your household could benefit from a replacement.
  • Rusty, discolored water: When warm water flows from the tap, if it has a red tint, or has a slightly rusty flavor, then the water could be contaminated with rust from inside the water heater. Rusty water heaters are not safe to use and should be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Loud or unusual sounds: As the water heater is in use, is it accompanied by loud banging or rumbling sounds? Sediment may start to form in older units, causing it to make strange noises while operating. With newer models, a licensed professional can flush the tank. For older water heaters, it is typically an indicator that replacement is necessary.
  • Leaking unit: If you notice any water pooling at the base of your water heater, then it is definitely time to replace the unit. When the water in the heater becomes hot, it causes the metal to contract and expand. This movement will eventually cause older, overused units to crack and eventually leak.
  • Poor heating: Inconsistent heating is a telltale sign the unit needs to be replaced. While a single part replacement can solve inadequate water heater performance, frequent repairs coupled with aging units will become overly costly. In these cases, it is more cost-effective to just replace the water heater.

When Cold Water Runs From Your Shower, Call the Pros at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse

If you are a homeowner throughout the greater Syracuse area and need fast and helpful water heater repairs or guidance on a unit replacement, contact the friendly and licensed plumbing professionals at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse. Our team is dedicated to offering best-value services, always personalized to meet your household’s specific needs and budget.

Learn more about our water heater repair and replacement services by calling 315-472-1203, or complete our online contact form to request a free service estimate.