As with any other appliance, deciding whether to repair or replace your current water heater depends largely upon its age and probable life span. However, water heater replacement has its own unique issues that may give extra incentive to repair and keep your old water heater and engage a contractor for scheduled water heater service and maintenance.
How old is your water heater?
If your current water heater is much less than the average life expectancy of 10–13 years for both gas and electric heaters, it may be a wise investment to get your water heater repaired if it malfunctions.
There are other age related considerations that may determine whether you should keep and repair your old water heater. New federal efficiency standards for water heaters that came into effect on April 16th 2015 mandated higher energy efficiency for water heaters sold and installed after that date.
Higher efficiency requires increased insulation around the water heater tank, which is turn increases the overall size of the tank. This may not be a problem for some homeowners, but for those whose current tanks are in a tight space or a closet, it may be a deal breaker.
Relocating a hot water heater requires rerouting of plumbing, and creating a venting issue for gas powered heaters. Many gas powered water heaters are placed in cramped quarters near furnaces to take advantage of the proximity of the chimney and vent deadly carbon monoxide gas, a byproduct of natural gas consumption.
Installing a gas water heater farther from an existing venting source requires that a new source be created at additional expense.
Would a tankless water heater be a better replacement?
If your water heater is near the end of its expected lifespan, a tankless water heater, which heats water on demand and doesn't use a storage tank, would be a better replacement option for those with space issues. Tankless models are much smaller than conventional tank heaters, and can easily fit into a space vacated by your old heater.
However, conversion to a tankless model requires refitting of the plumbing and power source to the old heater, which means additional installation expenses.
What should you do if you decide to keep your current water heater?
If your present water heater is still relatively new, you should keep it maintained to keep it running as long as possible. A water heater service contract with a local plumbing contractor (some utility companies also offer service deals) will keep your water heater repaired and provide scheduled service to keep your old heater running efficiently and help to extend its life to its maximum potential.
For more information about water heaters, visit StateWide Mechanical II Inc.