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Appliances like water heaters are not an issue until you get a feel of an icy shower in the middle of winter. You may have discovered puddles in the basements that don’t have anything to do with floods and everything to do with the hot water tank. So, the question is, are you going to repair or replace?
For many water heaters and storage tanks, their average lifespans are about 10 to 14 years. If your unit is nearing the end of its life, then the obvious choice is a hot water tank replacement and ensure that you get a new one from a legitimate manufacturer. Another benefit that you’ll be getting with newer brands is energy efficiency. You’ll get more hot water while paying less in your electrical bills every month.
However, if you have a heater that is only a few years old, then repair is something that you should consider. This is especially true if this is the first time that the appliance has broken down. If you are unsure of what to do, here is some information to help you decide.
Problems to Diagnose
The system of a water heater is uncomplicated. The cold water will enter a container or tank. The liquid is then heated through a gas burner or an electric element pre-installed in the appliance.
The thermostat is the device that regulates the overall temperature, and it ensures that the water will go out at the degree that you prefer. This temperature is usually around 110 to 140 degrees. As the water begins to be heated, the molecules build up the pressure inside the container. When the tap is turned on, the pressure sends the hot water out of the faucet.
Since the process involves only a few parts, there are only a small number of things that could go wrong, and these are the following:
- Flickering out of pilot lights on gas varieties
- Damages on circuit breakers during an electric trip
- Breaks and damages in the thermostats
- Valves that are sticking out of place
One of these parts can be replaced or repaired at a very affordable price. Certified plumbers in your area can do the job within a day and the cost can be from $100 to $300. Read more about the jobs of plumbers on this site here. But if you have a unit that has been around for more than ten years, then a new tank may be likely to be included in your next budget.
Time for Replacement
In time, many minerals that are in the water will react to the steel that surrounds the tank. The reaction can cause corrosion, and this can be the source of leaks. If this happens, then repairs are not an option anymore.
Fortunately for many homeowners, modern units are more energy-efficient than the previous models. The manufacturers may add foam insulation between the tanks’ inner and outer shells to retain the heat better. There are newer glass liners that make the materials avoid rust and corrosion altogether.
The investment for a new unit may range from $400 to $2000 depending on the brand and the company that will do the installation. If you want to save a lot every month, some highly efficient models can meet the standards set by Energy Star. This may mean savings of 15% to 20% on your bills.
There are solar powers, heat pumps, and tankless options that can translate to even bigger savings. You can know more about the tankless options here: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/heat-and-cool/water-heating/tankless-or-demand-type-water-heaters. Because the mentioned options are environment-friendly, you may also get federal tax credits to help pay back your investment over time.
Factors to Consider and Hidden Costs
Even when you are using conventional water heaters, the replacement process may not be as simple as you originally thought. It can be difficult to haul the old one out and install the brand-new unit. There are local building codes that may require you to do an upgrade to the following:
- Type and size of the vent system
- Drain pans that should be put underneath the unit
- Supply pipes
If you are an expert on plumbing jobs, you may want to install the newer appliance yourself. Many of the manufacturers can provide you with detailed instructions for DIY installations. However, you may want to check with your local county first before doing so. You must turn off any electricity, gas, or water before setting up the appliance in place. Take proper care of the gas models when you are handling them.
Whether you decide to repair or replace will be entirely up to you. But one thing is for sure, if you flush the tank and remove the sediments often, your unit will last longer, and it will work more efficiently. Without the gunk and dirt floating around, your appliance can operate smoothly, translating to savings every month.
The necessary maintenance can depend on the unit’s design, installation quality, and location. There are manufacturer recommendations that you may want to read, so you’ll have an idea of when is the right time to have your appliance checked. You can consult with the local plumber to maximize your appliance’s lifespan.
The Overall Goal that You Want to Achieve
Before the invention of the water heater, you may have to pour newly heated water from the stove and put this into your tub for bathing and washing. This is a very time-consuming process, and if there are many family members in the house, then wintertime can be unbearable as everyone has to wait for their turns.
With a repaired or newly replaced water heater, you will have to switch on the shower or faucet, and hot water would flow out. They beat the process of needing to fill the vessels and heating the liquid on stovetops, which are very wasteful.
For those who need a huge tub for bathing, by the time that they have finished ferrying hot water from a bucket, their baths will likely have cooled down from the cold of winter snow. Installation of this convenient modern amenity is a must, especially if you live in an area where the winter is harsh. For many people who can’t decide whether it’s time to replace or repair, they can consult their local professionals in the area for an expert opinion.