Like it hot and fast? That’s most people’s preference when they turn the hot water spigot. If your water heater has failed, you’ll know it when the first stream of cold water hits you during your morning shower. Should you replace your heater, or try to get it repaired? The answer depends on a few things. Here’s what to consider when you’re deciding if you should buy a new water heater.
Do you have a conventional water heater that’s getting on in years?
If so, it makes sense to buy a new one. This type of water heater has a lifespan of 10 to 13 years. If yours is approaching that threshold, you can save money by purchasing a new energy-efficient model. A new water heater uses as much as 20 percent less energy. Over the life of your appliance, that savings could add up to $700.
You can find your water heater’s age by checking the manufacturer’s sticker. The sticker contains a code that indicates the date your heater was built. To break the code, you’ll need to check the manufacturer’s website. Even if your heater is working, it’s not a bad idea to get a new one when it’s 10 years old.
Is your water heater less than five years old?
Newer models are worth repairing in certain circumstances. There are only a few parts that fail on a heater. A plumber can replace or repair some of these parts. For instance, a malfunctioning thermostat or heating element can be a relatively inexpensive fix. If your tank is newer, it might still be under warranty.
Is your tank leaking?
A puddle on the floor near the heater probably means the tank is leaking. If you’re sure the water came from your heater, then you’ll almost certainly need to get a new one. Tanks leak when minerals and steel react. The reaction corrodes the tank. Leaks in a tank can’t be repaired.
Upgrade to a Better Heater
New water heaters have advantages over older ones. If your old model bites the dust, you can take comfort in the knowledge that your new one will likely be much more efficient. Modern water heaters have more effective insulation and retain heat better than past models. The glass liners available on new heaters keep tanks from corroding. In addition, you could qualify for tax credits when you purchase a high-efficiency heater.
Time to Ditch the Tank?
You’re not limited to tank heaters. Tankless models provide hot water on demand. These heaters can be either electric or gas powered. Tankless models save space and energy. A tankless model could save you money on energy bills because of their efficiency. However, they cost more than conventional models.