Food For Thought To Explore, Savor, Share!

Is It A Good Time To Replace Your Water Heater?

Find out when it’s a good time to buy a new water heater.

The mindset that ‘If it isn’t broke why fix it?‘, can only go so far when it comes to things that we rely on regularly.

By maintaining and staying mindful of your home appliances life expectancy you can take a more proactive approach. The water heater isn’t something we think about often. It’s just one of the minions that work constantly in the background and keep your home in sync with all of the day to day things that we do while we live there. Whether you’re cooking or cleaning, you expect the water to be warm when you turn the faucet to the desired temperature. The same is expected when you flip on a light switch in a room.

Unfortunately the water heater isn’t really given any thought until it’s too late. Water that isn’t heated anymore or worse, a basement full of water.

The basement scenario seems pretty tame compared to units that are kept in the attic. Our neighbor learned first hand as she described water coming through her ceiling and a small waterfall cascading down her steps. She had just purchased the town home next door and had the home and all home appliances inspected just days before.

Old water heater to be replaced

With our own floor plan identical to hers, it didn’t take long for us to start taking a serious look at our own unit.

A few of the parts that might break and need repair during the life time of your water heater:

  • The pilot light goes out
  • The electric water heater’s circuit breaker is tripped
  • A broken thermostat
  • A defective heating element
  • A stuck valve

All of the these things can be fixed and will help you avoid the cost of purchasing a new water heater.

Shop For Water Heaters

The life expectancy of a conventional unit is about 10 years and most water heaters come with a 6 year guarantee.

We examined our own appliance and realized it was still the original that came with the house, putting it at 14 years of age. We made appointments for several estimates to have a new unit installed and all three plumbers came to the same consensus; ‘our water heater was living on borrowed time’.

Over time water heaters will accumulate sediments in the bottom of the tank that can’t get flushed out anymore, therefor it will use much more energy and cause corrosion which will eventually break down your old unit.

Plumber in Summerville SC

Tank-less versus Conventional  – After talking with our neighbors and friends about which option was best and who should we have do it, we decided to go with a tank-less unit. The upfront cost was going to be more, but the energy savings in the long run were going to pay for the device within in a year or two. It seemed like the decision was relatively easy to make. The plumber told us another story.

In order for a tank-less water heater to work properly it needs a 3/4″ gas line coming into the device.

Our gas line was a mere 1/2″ and we would need to upgrade this line that snaked through our attic down to the ground floor and out to the gas meter. The cost of the installation just dramatically jumped up and we would be left with a mess to clean up in terms of replacing sheet rock, new paint and such.

Replacing the old gas unit with a Conventional one was not only the least intrusive option for our home, but it was also much easier on the wallet.

Plumber Prep Work For Water Heater Installation

Plumber Doing The Prep Work On Our New Water Heater

The upside – Thanks to technological advances newer model water heaters are not only more energy efficient but are constructed in such a way that they inhibit corrosion and retain the heat that is generated. This all sounded good and we scheduled a day to have the plumbers come over and replace it. Looking up in the attic and seeing the tank snugly fit between the rafters my only thought was; “How did they get that up there?

You should weigh your options and find out which scenario works best for you. Cost effectiveness versus your upfront expense of installation will become determining factors for your decision. It doesn’t hurt to get a few different quotes for the job. You don’t want to be sold on something you don’t really need, yet you want to know that your getting a reasonable rate for your neighborhood.

Water Heater Specs

Regular maintenance pays off in the end – Here’s a little tip that will help add to your water heaters life and its performance. Flush your unit annually. This involves shutting off the device and hooking up a regular garden house to it. By flushing your water heater you will be removing the mineral deposits that can corrode internal parts.

Don’t let the ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ habit find you in a pinch.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: 1 Year Later The Water Heater Installation Doesn’t Pass Inspection

What Nick didn’t mention in his original article is one of the guys slammed his finger in the process and was cussing and cursing through the rest of the installation. As you read already, the water heater sits in the attic of our town home and since we had hot water we never worried about it after the installation was complete.

Fast forward one year and we’re trying to sell the town home. Everything went fine during the inspection until the inspector got to the water heater. It’s sitting crooked, the vent doesn’t line up, the pan is too small, it’s secured improperly and it’s probably leaking carbon monoxide. Yikes!

We called Delk Plumbing and asked them to fix it. The guys that installed our water heater are no longer with the company. Surprise, surprise! They sent two other guys to look at it and after whispering back and forth for a while refused to fix the problem, claiming ‘the floor boards are rotten and although the guy in charge of the installation had screwed up from time to time he did install this one right’.

The new water heater hasn’t leaked so either the water heater was installed on bad floor boards or they’re making this up so they don’t have to fix it.

 

He even had the nerve to try to charge me for a service call. What a joke!!!

If you live in Summerville, SC or surrounding area, DO NOT hire Delk Plumbing if you want the work to be done properly!

A broken down home appliance will usually happen when you least expect it. By being proactive you can budget for this cost and with yearly maintenance you can guarantee your water heater’s best performance and prolonged life expectancy. Just be sure to perform a diligent check on the plumber you plan to hire so you don’t end up like us.

Shop For Water Heaters

Have you replaced your water heater recently? Which type of unit did you decide on? Leave us a comment below.

68 Responses to Is It A Good Time To Replace Your Water Heater?

  • Thanks for the information. It seems to me like my water heater might need repair, judging by what you’ve said. It’s definitely felt pretty cold lately, which is probably a bad sign. Would you recommend hiring a professional to do it? That seems like the best idea to me.

  • Thanks for the tips! My old water heater broke down, so now I need a new one. I’ve thought about having a tank-less water heater installed to replace my conventional water heater. I didn’t realize that a tank-less water heater can help save energy in the long run. Perhaps I should put some more thought into getting a tank-less water heater.

  • I do agree that regular maintenance pays of in the end. My water heater has been making a lot of weird noises lately and I have been wanting to get it checked out. Hopefully we will be able to get a repairman over here soon because I don\’t know what we would do without our water heater. I know that my kids would freak out because they couldn\’t have hot showers.

  • Nice tutorial and repairing tips, thanks for shearing this.

  • Finding a good and trustworthy plumber is very important.

    Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to receive any decent service work in the Summerville, SC area. The water heater was installed wrong, during a recent oil change the cap wasn’t replaced and my engine almost blew up. I could go on and on, but I’ll just get more and more upset. Let me tell you, there’s a reason we are moving, and it’s not because of the weather. ;)

    • I have used this company for almost 15 years. I have a 3 different businesses and will only use Delk Plumbing. I have often wondered why they recommend certain things when I think it should be done in a different manner, but they have always been right in the end. Here’s what I have to say about this company: 1.) They are ALWAYS polite and courteous. 2.) Anytime I need them, the show up. (some companies I’ve dealt with in the past are a no show.) 3.) I know several Political leaders in this community and several well established businesses that use them and only them because they are HONEST and STAND BY THEIR WORK
      If that’s not enough, then I don’t know what would be. I am sure your experience was not as bad as what you are making it seem. And I also think that if you are moving out of this beautiful town, it has nothing to do with the plumber..

      • Hi Brandy, My experience was exactly as bad as I described in the article. I didn’t mention, that we had a licensed handyman take a look at the water heater since then and he confirmed the faulty installation. He has no problem straightening and fixing the problem without messing with the floorboards. They are NOT rotten, rather the Delk guys installed the unit on a board that is too thin and should have been reinforced.

        Delk is covering up a shoddy job, instead of fixing the problem. One of the guys that was here the other day was on the phone with Mr Delk himself. I don’t find that to be honest and they DO NOT stand behind their work. Maybe it would be different if I was related to them or had three or more businesses and made them thousands of dollars of profit on a regular basis. I wouldn’t know.

        By the way, everyone that has met me in person can attest to the fact that I do not elaborate or make up stuff. I am very straight forward and honest, and if you mess with me or my family someone is going to hear about it.

        One more thing Brandy, if you stand behind Delk why didn’t you link back to one of your own businessess?

        Have a pleasant day, Silke

        PS – Summerville is indeed a beautiful city and I would never say otherwise, it’s just that the service industry sucks as far as we’re concerned. We (Tanya and I) had another horrible experience yesterday! If you want me to I can elaborate.

  • Wow. I can’t believe they bailed on you guys! To see their trucks all over town and listen to them go on about their quality customer service is really sad. Thanks for the heads up on how they really treat people!

  • I’ve used Delk Plumbing for several years on all my properties. They have done at least 20 repairs for me & they ALWAYS do a great job & are on time & very courteous. They are the professionals in every aspect & everyone else I’ve talked to about them say the same. My friends use them also & my neighbors & are very pleased with them. I guess there’s always going to be that one person you can’t satisfy! Thank you Delk Plumbing for always taking such great care of me! I will always continue to use you!

    • Hi Ruth, Thank you for leaving us a comment. Like I already explained in a previous comment “We had a licensed handyman take a look at the water heater since the guys from Delk were here and he confirmed the faulty installation. He has no problem straightening and fixing the water heater without messing with the floorboards. The boards are NOT rotten, rather the Delk guys installed the unit on a board that is too thin and should have been reinforced. Delk is covering up a shoddy job, instead of fixing the problem. One of the guys that was here the other day was even on the phone with Mr Delk himself. I don’t find that to be honest and they DO NOT stand behind their work.” You can draw your own conclusion from that. Since you have several properties and have hired them for numerous repairs, undoubtably making them a nice profit, I’m sure they would be more eager to keep you as a customer instead of someone getting ready to move. If I were you though, I would get a second quote the next time you have a repair. You might find that you’re getting grossly overcharged.

  • I would take this matter up with the Better Business Bureau. You can file a complaint here:
    https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started

    • Thanks Gregory, I have a good mind to. I’m sure they have customers that they treat fairly, but it shouldn’t be on a ‘if you give us lots of money we will treat you well’ kind of a basis.

  • Delk plumbing really screwed us over. I can’t figure out why though. I paid the billright away but they still pulled a fast one on us.

  • When I left the previous comments a few days ago I was upset, now I’m outright pissed off. Delk Plumbing had the nerve to charge us, not only a service charge but 1/2 hour for labor as well, for a total of just under $100. They were at the house for less than 10 minutes, didn’t carry in any tools and refused to fix their screw up. Nick says we should pay the bill and be done with it, they might end up putting it into collections if we don’t. I called our real estate agent, a local lady, to ask her advice. What do you say?

  • I didn’t know that a standard unit only lasts about 10 years. I’m pretty sure that our is older than that. Thanks for reminding me to check on getting a new one; I’m one of those people you mentioned who doesn’t think about it until the basement is full of water. Our hot water has been a bit inconsistent lately, so maybe I’ll see if we need to replace it or if we can just fix it.

    • If anything you should drain the water heater, that’s supposed to be done once a year (I didn’t know that before either) and have a professional plumber you trust take a look at the fittings, etc. Sediments build up in the bottom of the water heater over time.

  • I think you bring up some good points, which all show the importance of regular maintenance. You can solve a lot of water heater issues just by having regular maintenance. I like your tip about not letting the out of sight out of mind habit cause problems for you in the long run.

    • Thanks DoloresB! :) A good idea would be to make a note on a calendar (drain & check water heater) or enter a yearly reminder on your cell phone.

  • Why did the installers place a brand new water heater on a really bad board to begin with? Why didn’t they just fix the problem once they saw what was wrong? I’m sorry but I don’t want to sound like I’m tooting my own horn but as an installer myself I would have admitted my mistake or someone else that I employ and fixed the problem. The commitment to service awards they have on their walls might as well have been printed on toilet paper.

    • Thank you Kevin! I totally agree with you, it’s just bad business practice. Yes, we all screw up from time to time, no big deal. Not standing up to your installers work on the other hand is a huge deal, and a warning for future customers. Which part of the country do you service? We are moving soon. :)

  • Interesting, I had no idea that it was good to replace your water heaters every so often. That is good info! My only problem is that I am definitely not the most handy person to have around the house and even if I was I have no tools for it. Do you think it would be a good idea to just hire someone to come install it for me?

    • Hi Chase! Do call a professional, they will be able to recommend the correct unit for your home and for peace of mind, plus they will have all the right tools. Also, depending on where in the house the water heater is located (ours was in an attic) you might not be able to get it in place by yourself anyway. Good luck!

  • Maintaining your water heater is definitely important. I am going to check mine as soon as I get home. I will evaluate any problems that I can find. Perhaps I will find something amiss. Do you think duct tape would seal cracks in the side?

  • Hello, and thank you very much for this information on replacing or repairing water heaters. These appliances are very important to homes, and it’s good to make sure they are maintained or replaced in a timely manner. I think it’s good to research and understand the different appliances in your house to make sure they are all getting the proper care needed.

  • Thanks for sharing this advice on replacing your water heater. I think it is really nice that newer water heaters are so much more efficient than their older counterparts. That, along with the six year guarantee definitely make replacement a lot more appealing. Besides, if you save in the long run, then you might as well get to saving sooner rather than later!

  • I like knowing when it is that I should repair my appliances and when to replace them. That is why I have been looking a lot into which is the best option for me. My water heater is not tankless and definitely needs some work. It is rather old and is older than yours with being 14 years of age. From that though, it sounds like I need to get mine replaced all together.

  • It is funny to me that you mentioned how this type of thing isn’t really thought of until it malfunctions. This is exactly the experience that I’ve had! I was never watching my water heater and I never really knew what I would look for anyway. It is important to me that I maintain it now that it’s fixed; so I appreciate your tips on maintaining and inspecting this type of equipment!

  • I have been worried about my water heater going out. I had no idea there were parts you could replace first to prolong the life of your heater. This would be much cheaper than replacing the whole thing. I will need to give it a try. Thank you for your help.

  • Thank you for all of your comments guys! The average life span of a water heater is around 10 – 15 years, I was just in a home with a 23 year old one that was still working fine. Life expectancy depends on the maintenance that has been done over the years and the make and model.

    If your water heater sits in a large drip pan in the garage – where it can’t damage your home and furniture – I wouldn’t worry about replacing it until something breaks on it. Again, yearly maintenance and being aware that the unit might fail at any time is key here.

  • I agree with the other commentators that punctuality and dependability are important, but the most important thing is that the job eventually gets done, and at a fair price! Hats off to the author for providing a well written and concise article on water heat repair, great t have! By the way, would anybody have a recommendation on a good water heater repair provider in the Portsmouth Virginia area?

  • Thank you for taking the time to put this article up for all eyes to see! It is really helpful as the worst thing that could happen to me is having my water heater completely break down during the winter! Do you often times suggest a repair vs buying new by the way.

  • This is really great troubleshooting information for water heaters! We have been having some trouble with ours not heating properly. I don’t know exactly what the problem is, but I will have a repairman come look at it. Hopefully it is repairable damage and we won’t need to buy a new water heater.

  • Troubleshooting what may be wrong with your water heater can be really tricky if you don\’t know all of the different components. We recently started having a lot of problems with our own and we haven\’t been able to figure out what it causing us all to have to take cold showers. We have had this water heater for almost twenty years now so it may be time for a replacement. Hopefully, we will be able to find a solution.

  • I have been having some major troubles with my water heater lately, and I have no idea what I should do to fix it. It is pretty old, but I’m not sure if I should replace it or not. That being said, I really appreciate you letting me know that when a water heater gets old, it is probably time to replace it. I’ll make sure I jump on this right away.

  • My heater has been acting up lately. I must confess that just like you said, I hadn’t even thought about it until it wasn’t working properly. I appreciate your tips on how to maintain this type of thing so I can avoid similar issues in the future. I will probably contact a professional to diagnose my water heater, thank you for the helpful tips!

  • My water heater hasn’t been working right lately, and I have no idea what’s going on with it. It’s been taking forever for the water to get hot. Do you happen to know that might be wrong with it? I tried looking at it to figure it out, but I honestly have no idea what I’m doing.

  • I didn’t know that I needed to flush my water heater annually. I try to keep all of the appliances in my home maintained on a regular basis. I will definitely have to learn how to do this in order to keep the machine running for a long time.

  • I can agree that the water heater isn’t thought about till it’s too late. I’ve had one go out on me and it was the worst to have cold water in the winter! I’ve also had one where the pilot light would always go out, and it was a pain to have to light it. Good stuff on here. Thanks.

  • I’ve never flushed my heater before. That might be why ours has been very finicky lately! I will have to call a professional to come in and look at the heater itself and fix our water temperature problem, but after that is taken care of I will try to get in the habit of maintaining it until it’s time to replace it.

  • Very great topic about Water Heater thanks for this. I think You are the most experience person from my opinion in this topic.

  • Seeing how the thermostat of my water heater has been broken, it seems like a replacement of the water heater would be needed. The thermostat ended up breaking after I tapped it and it caused some cracking. My thought has been to find a new thermostat, but then I realized that it would be better to replace the whole unit.

  • The toughest part about replacing your water heater is figuring out when to replace it. Great tips for spotting the signs of a failing water heater.

  • That article was amazing, I am very much impressed with your thoughts. I got the best information from this site of the blog, It\’s very useful to all and us. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • It\’s very useful article, we are impressed about that. And Thanks for sharing this post to all, What you mentioned in the article that was an excellent one. This site very helpful to all

  • I’m glad you mentioned a few things about the newer water heaters being more energy efficient and more corrosion resistant. My old one has an issue with that. I’m a big fan of being more ‘green’.

    • That’s awesome Skylar, we all need to be as ‘green’ as we possibly can. Energy efficiency is always on the top of our list when purchasing new appliances. Do some online research or contact a trusted local plumber to help you pick out a water heater that is right for your home.

  • I like your comment on how a water heater is usually supposed to last about 10 years. I would imagine that if your boiler begins to fail after this it may be time to replace it. My husband and I have lived in our home for about 10 years now and our water heater is not working very well so maybe we could find someone to install a new one.

    • Hi Olivia, If you have been maintaining your water heater regularly by emptying it once a year etc., than you might be able to get a few more years of service from it. If it’s already not working that great though, like in your case, than you might as well budget in the cost for a new one and start shopping around. It’s a good idea to ask friends, family and/or your neighbors who they recommend when it comes time for installation. Are you planning on getting a traditional or tankless water heater?

  • Thanks for the information about water heaters. I didn’t realize that most heaters have a life of about 10 years or so. I am pretty sure ours is about 15 years old, so maybe we should look into getting a new one.

  • I really like what was said about water heaters in this article. More specifically about how water heater repair is a must because we rely on it so heavily. Especially if you live in a colder climate like I do!

  • I didn’t know that, over time, water heaters would accumulate sediments at the bottom of the tank. I’ve heard, too, that when new water heaters are installed, they come with warranties that guarantee the unit for a certain amount of time. That’s very relieving! I’ll have to keep these tips in mind and watch for any signs that my water heater needs to be replaced!

  • I had no idea that the life expectancy of a water heater is about 10 years. My husband and I are looking into buying our first home and our price range mostly includes older homes in the area that we are looking in. It is useful to know how old a water heater should be so we can ask when we are touring an older home to know if it’s something that is needing to be replaced soon.

  • It’s true that we don’t give our water heaters much thought until they stop working, like you said. They just do a good job doing what they do out of our sight so we easily forget them. It’s important for us to check up on them and to know what to look for so we can identify repairs that may be needed early on.

  • I appreciate that you point out that most water heaters last about 10 years. My wife and I moved into a house that was built seven years ago. I’ll have to talk to her about starting to save money so that we can replace it if it decides to go out in the next 3-5 years.

    • It’s a very smart idea to save up for mayor appliance purchases like a new water heater. Having a nest egg as low as $1,000 will reduce stress and anxiety when something breaks down.

      Thank you for your great comment Scott!

  • My brother recently moved into a used home with his family. He has noticed that the hot water heater has been using a lot of energy and wants to see if he should have it repaired or have it replaced. I didn’t realize that pilot lights, circuit breaker, thermostat, and valve issues can all be repaired on a hot water heater by a professional maintenance service. I’ll be sure to let my brother know about this information.

    • Tomas,
      Thank you for your comment. I guess we never realized that these issues could be repaired thus saving you the expense of purchasing a new water heater. Valuable information for our fellow readers! :)

  • This was an awesome and helpful article.Thank you very much to everyone who contributed their advice and knowladge.

  • I think that my wife and I are some of the people who forget about water heaters until its too late. We recently discovered some issues with our water heaters, and I think that it would be good for us to have a professional come out to take care of it for us. I’m glad that we haven’t had the waterfall from our water heaters that you talked about in your article, but I’d love to be able to prevent it from happening! Thanks for the info!

  • I’m glad you talked about water heaters in your article, and tankless vs. conventional options. I’m hoping that I can find a good water heater for my parents home, but I want to look at the options. I’m going to have to look at tankless vs. conventional options, and see what I can do! Thanks!

  • The new home that my fiance and I just moved into is having some troubles with its water heater. We are thinking that it may be a good idea to get a repair for it. Our thoughts were confirmed after reading that people don\’t give the water heater any thought until it is too late, so we will do this immediately.

  • Wow! This is great. Your blog is so entertaining and relevant. Thanks for this one.

  • I’ve been looking for a water heater repair service. I’m glad you talked about being able to look at the technological advances for water heaters. I’m going to have to look for a few good water heater options and see what I can find!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Jager’s, a Husband & Wife team, share your enthusiasm for food and travel!

Find gifts to make your Mom happy
Get Our Blog Updates!