Waking up to hot water each morning is a necessity, especially if you live somewhere that gets cold during the winter. In order for your water heater to heat water and deliver it to your home, however, several different parts have to be working properly. What this means is that a lot of Meridian, ID, homeowners end up without hot water when they need it most, torn between repairing the water heater or simply buying a new one. If you’re not sure whether water heater replacement or repair is the right option, here’s what you need to know.

Age

The age of your water heater is one of the biggest factors in deciding whether to replace it or repair it. You might not know it, but water heaters aren’t designed to last very long. As your water heater ages, the odds of it having a serious problem that requires replacement rather than repair increase.

On average, you can expect to get about 8 to 12 years out of your water heater. At that point, the corrosion that comes with time will start to affect the tank, which can lead to leaks that can’t be fixed. Water heater replacement is always required for major tank corrosion.

Keep in mind that the lifespan of your water heater depends on how well you take care of it. The best thing you can do to make your water heater last longer is to have it flushed of sediment once or twice per year. This only takes a short time, and it prevents corrosion that can spell disaster for your water heater. Without this maintenance, your water heater may fail after just six or eight years.

Efficiency

Efficiency is another factor to consider when you’re considering repairing your old water heater. Even if you can repair your water heater, you have to decide whether or not the water heater you’re trying to fix is efficient enough that it’s worth fixing. Old water heaters waste a lot more energy, so you could be costing yourself more money by repairing an old water heater instead of upgrading to something newer and more efficient.

Water heater efficiency improves all the time, as is evidenced by looking at EF and UEF ratings for modern water heaters. Most water heaters have a sticker on the side that tells you how much they cost to use; if you can save a significant amount of money upgrading to a new water heater, you’re probably better off investing in a replacement unit instead of repairing what you’ve got.

What’s the Problem?

Of course, the actual problem you’re dealing with also has an effect on whether you choose to repair or replace your water heater. A bad thermostat is easy to fix with a simple replacement part, and it doesn’t cost a whole lot of money. However, major water heater problems can range from very expensive to impossible to fix.

Water heater thermostats and heating elements are the easiest parts to replace. If you suddenly have no hot water, chances are it’s because of a thermostat or heating element. However, water heater replacement may be your only option if the thermostats, heating elements, and sacrificial anode are all in good shape.

As your water heater tank starts to corrode, it leaks. This may not be a huge problem immediately, but that leak will get worse until you spring for a water heater replacement. Even worse, these leaks can cost you a lot of money in wasted water.

Capacity

The whole point of having a water heater is having hot water for the whole family. If you find yourself running out of hot water most days, water heater replacement may be the smarter option. When you replace your water heater, you also have the option of upgrading to a unit with a higher first-hour rating, which means you and your family don’t have to worry about running out of hot water when somebody needs to take a shower.

Keep in mind that water heater replacement with a higher capacity unit can be expensive. The most common residential water heater size is 50 gallons, which means it’s also the cheapest. If you’re looking for something smaller or larger, chances are you’re going to have to spend a little more. Still, it’s worth it considering how rarely you have to spring for water heater replacement.

Upgrading to a New Water Heater

The good news is, replacing your water heater means you have a chance to upgrade to something new. Whether you want to switch from gas to electric or from a single unit to several point-of-use water heaters, this is the perfect time to do it.

Converting from gas to electric is a fairly easy process, and it may be a smart move if your water heater is the only appliance that runs on gas. However, gas can also be more efficient, so you should ask a plumber what they recommend.

If you want your water heater replacement to increase convenience, installing point-of-use water heaters is the way to go. Each point-of-use water heater provides water to a single room, which means you never have to worry about hot water usage in the kitchen affecting the shower, or vice versa.

The Simple Solution

The last thing you want is to be left without hot water on a freezing day, but it can be tough to decide whether water heater replacement or repair is the better option. Lucky for you, you don’t have to make all the tough decisions when it comes to your Meridian, ID, home. All you have to do is call a plumber from EC Plumbing to take a look at your water heater and tell you if it’s worth fixing or if it’s time to upgrade. If you need help deciding what to do with your water heater, call EC Plumbing at (208) 318-5533.

Photo By Koldunov Alexey at Shutterstock