It is common to take a hot water tank for granted until you’re faced with the specter of rinsing off your shampoo with ice-cold water.
Water heaters tend to begin failing after 8 to 10 years on the job. If a heater fails at that age, the best option may be quite apparent. However, what if your water heater fails at just 4 years of age?
How to Assess Which Will Be More Cost-Effective
The Energy-Star water heater models on the market today are up to 20% more energy-efficient than the models that were on the market 10 years ago. In fact, over the life of the unit, a newer energy-star rated model can save you up to $700 in energy costs.
Additionally, today’s water heaters, when carrying the WaterSense label, are 20% more water-efficient than standard models, also performing as well or better than them.
For this reason, replacing say a 7-year-old model with a new one may actually be more cost-effective than trying to repair it.
How Hot Water Heaters Work
They work by heating cold water with either an electric element or a gas burner. A thermostat keeps the water temperature between 120 and 140° Fahrenheit. Pressure in the tank builds as the water gets hot. When you turn on a faucet in your home, pressure sends hot water out of the faucet.
Water Heater Anatomy
Water heaters are actually relatively simple appliances; because they have few moving parts, the number of things that can break is actually relatively short.
Malfunctions That Are An Easy Fix
- A broken thermostat
- A faulty element or burner
- A tripped circuit breaker for electric heater
- A pilot light that goes out on a gas heater
Repairing any of these elements will be quite cost-effective if your tank is less than 5 or 6 years old.
When to Repair a Heater
If your current heater is still under warranty, then the cost of repairs should be covered by the manufacturer.
If the warranty is expired, you’ll need to do an assessment before deciding whether it’s worthwhile to repair a broken heater.
A rule of thumb is to fix a heater if: it’s just a few years old (and) the repairs will cost less than 50% of the price of a new appliance
When to Replace a Tank
If a water heater has a serious leak, regardless of its age, it will most likely need replacement. Tanks can corrode and spring leaks from the interaction of steel and minerals in water. Repairing a leaking heater is not a minor fix because the problem often originates from an internal failure.
Cost-Benefit of Newer Models
The price of buying and installing a new heater is usually between $500 and $1,500. New models are both significantly more energy efficient and less apt to fail from corrosion. In addition, if you choose certain types of heaters, such as tankless, heat pump or solar, you may be eligible for federal tax credits.
How to Preserve Its Lifespan
Once your heater is repaired or installed, you can extend its life with regular maintenance.
- Flush the tank once a year to rid it of sediment. Not only will this help your heater last longer, but it can also make it more energy efficient.
- Check the anode rod (a.k.a. sacrificial rod) every three years. This is an aluminum or magnesium probe inside the tank that collects corrosive elements. It needs to be replaced when it gets caked or eaten away. A new one is usually just about $30.
Water Heater Repair & Installation Services in Portland, OR
Apollo Drain & Rooter Service has years of experience repairing water heaters, and we have a wide inventory of new water heaters available, should you choose to go that route. Whether you already know exactly what you need or would like some advice in choosing the perfect option, our expert plumbers can help. Give us a call today!
Fantastic customer service. We were out of town when tenants needed help with a plumbing issue. They let us know who was being dispatched to our house then followed up with a very detailed message post work. I would definitely use these guys again.
I can’t say enough good things about this company. Had a sewer repair needed and had a very short amount of time due to closing on a house sale. Every single person I encountered from Marquita doing logistics for my job to every member of the work crew. Friendly, communicated well, totally responsive and really cared to help me through this very stressful job. All of the people I encountered were role models for what a well run service business should be. Much thanks and appreciation. You’re great.
We had a leak and no hot water. Apollo came out same day and not only fixed the problem but made it better and gave us some good advice on our system. Very reasonable and great communication. Would definitely recommend.
Don is always so helpful and knowledgeable. I really appreciate all the crew members on the Apollo team. I'm a Property Manager so typically I will have several projects for Apollo to address during a single visit. They are easy to interact with and EXCELLENT plumbers. I highly recommend Apollo.
Scott, I would like to personally thank you for expediting our plumbing crisis we recently had. If the situation was not resolved immediately we would have had to close for a couple of days. This occured on a Friday for for us a pizza restaurant this would of been devastating. Thank you so much.
STARK STREET PIZZA COMPANY
It's my absolute pleasure to recommend Karen Johnson at Apollo Plumbing Service. I have had the pleasure of taking a class taught by Karen. Her knowledge and expertise is a huge advantage to my entire office. I know if I am in a pinch I can call the office and talk to someone! Their customer service is truly amazing, and I have had compliments from customers in the past.
NEXTHOME NW REALTY
We are a Wendy's Restaurant franchisee in Vancouver, Washington and I want to personally thank Scott and his crew at Apollo for invaluable and excellent service to our restaurants over the last several years. We have used Scott's company after failing miserably with Apollo's many competitors. We tried every one before discovering the extraordinary service we enjoy from Scott and his techs.