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Is it Better to Repair or Replace Your Hot Water System?

Water leaking out of faucet

If you’re reading this, chances are that your hot water system isn’t working properly. Maybe you’re stuck with cold water most of the time, having issues with water pressure, or perhaps a professional plumber has given you a large quote for a heater repair job and you’re wondering if it’s worth it. Whatever the reason, the decision of whether it’s better to repair or replace your hot water system is an important one that often comes with a significant financial impact.

Here’s our guide to help you discern if it’s worth repairing or if it’s time to look for a new hot water system.

When to repair your hot water system

There are a few things to take into consideration about whether repairing your hot water system is the best way to go.

Hot water systems have an average lifespan of 10-13 years. If your system is still quite new, hot water system repairs may be worthwhile and possibly covered by the warranty period.

If it’s out of warranty and getting older, a good rule of thumb is to repair your system if the repairs cost less than half the price of a new hot water system. If it costs any more than half, the benefits that come with newer technology like better energy efficient features usually make replacement a wiser decision.

Do you  own an electric hot water system? Check out our guide to troubleshooting electric hot water systems.

4 Hot water system repairs worth investing in

Not all hot water system faults are expensive or difficult to fix. Some problems that are usually easy to fix include:

  • Broken heating element
  • Faulty thermostat
  • Tripped circuit breaker
  • Faulty pilot light.

Small issues like these can usually be repaired quite quickly, easily and without huge financial strain. Unless the system is quite old, these small issues don’t warrant a complete system replacement.

When to replace your hot water system

Generally, if your system is coming to the end of its estimated lifespan and is having regular faults, it might be time to make the switch. If it’s been 10-13 years since your last water heater was installed, you may be a good candidate for a new system.

Your hot water system provides warning signs to indicate the need for replacement. Here are the 3 main signs to look for when your hot water system needs replacing…

3 Signs it’s better to replace than repair your hot water system

1. Leaking water

It is common for a tempering valve to occasionally leak, but leaks outside of this are usually a sign of trouble. Water leaks usually point to something corroded, burst or pressure that is building up and causing condensation. Quite often this kind of damage is costly to repair and a new water heater is usually a more economical choice long term.

2. Dirty water

If you’ve got dirty hot water flowing through your taps, it’s likely time to get a new hot water system. Dirty water indicates that sediment is getting into the system and into your water. This only happens if something is corroded or broken inside.

3. Low water pressure

Low water pressure usually points to either a leak or burst pipe (meaning a replacement is likely the best choice), or the system is incorrectly sized for your house (meaning a replacement is the ONLY way to solve your plumbing issues).

Additional reasons to consider replacement over repair

Another helpful way to decide is via cost analysis. Weigh up the cost to replace your hot water system versus the cost to repair it. Consider the age of the machine as well. In addition to these points, here are a few other things to consider…

Improve your energy efficiency

A new energy efficient system will save you money on your hot water bill in comparison to older hot water systems. If you are on the fence about whether a repair or replacement is the best financial decision for you, energy costs and saving money on your regular bill can be helpful deciding factors. Maybe this is the chance you’ve been waiting for to look at solar hot water systems!

Your hot water unit doesn’t satisfy your family size

With a 10+ year lifespan, there is every chance you didn’t even choose your old hot water system or had different needs when you had the hot water system installed. It may no longer be the right size or type of system to suit your family’s needs, and a replacement could solve other problems like not having a big enough storage tank or enough hot water on demand.

How to extend the lifespan of your hot water system

Taking care of your hot water system in the first place can help you avoid the conundrum of whether to repair or replace. Hot water system life expectancy can be extended by ensuring you service the system, do regular maintenance as soon as it is necessary and call for help as soon as something doesn’t seem right.

You can also take some extra care steps like flushing the tank each year to remove the sediment and checking the anode rod every three years. This can stop any minor issues from turning into major problems that result in needing to replace the system early.

For example, the anode rod collects corrosive elements and can often get eaten away at, but it only costs approximately $30 to replace when needed.

Making wise hot water system choices

We said it at the start – if you’re trying to decide whether to replace or repair your hot water system, chances are there is something wrong with your current one.

Hot water is critical to the functioning of your everyday life. It’s easy to take for granted, but as soon as your hot water heater stops working, you realise just how important it is!

When it’s not working, it’s understandably easy to rush in and choose whatever the quickest and easiest solution is to get your hot water system working again.

Our recommendation is to take a breath and consider the long-term repercussions of your decision. Yes – in the short term, shopping around, looking at new systems and finding the right one for your house might mean waiting a little longer to get your annoying plumbing problems fixed, but making the right decision is invaluable.

Your number one hot water service professionals

Still not sure whether to repair or replace your water heater? Want some help making the decision? Or are you ready to go and need help with new hot water system installation or a quote for repairs?

Our Same Day Hot Water Service repair plumbers are friendly professionals and are ready to help you with all your hot water needs. Whether you’re ready to replace or looking at repairs – we service locations all over the country and are here, ready to help.

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