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Should I Repair or Replace My Water Heater


You’ve discovered that your water heater is no longer working, but the average cost to replace a water heater can range anywhere from about $400 to $1,000. This is a major expense to hit suddenly, and you’re wondering if your water heater can be repaired instead of replaced. This guide can help you understand which option is better for you.

Water Heater Age

You may not think of your water heater until something goes wrong, but it is important to remember that most water heaters only have a lifetime of between eight and 10 years. Gas water heaters generally only last between six and eight years. A water heater in this age range should likely be replaced, even if you are not experiencing problems with your unit. On the positive side, a newer water heater will be more efficient and can result in energy savings.


Rusting is one of the few weaknesses of steel, and the steel in your water heater is not an exception. Rust will spread and eat through the steel in your water heater. It can appear in your hot water or on the heater inlet valve — and both are significant causes for concern.

It is difficult to determine the exact origin of the rust, and a professional must be consulted. However, the presence of rust is a strong indicator that your water heater will need to be replaced, as it typically precedes leaks and cannot be removed.

Cost of Repair

A cost-benefit analysis should be run when considering repairing or replacing your water heater. Using the 50% rule is a simple way to do this analysis — if a repair costs 50% or more of what it would cost to replace, then the unit should be replaced and not repaired. However, you should consider the total cost to repair an aging unit instead of individual repairs. A one-time repair cost of $100, for example, is likely worth it, but frequent repairs will decrease the value.

A repair may solve the problem and give you more time to save for the installation of a new water heater, too. Whether your needs are replacement or repair, ClearWater Plumbers can help those in the Fort Worth, Texas area.

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