You probably don’t think of your water heater on a daily basis, but it labors faithfully in the background, creating the steaming water that pours out of your tap for showers, laundry, dishes and more. It’s only when something goes wrong that the water heater intrudes into daily life, and at that point, you start wondering what the heck to do pretty quickly.
The main question is this: Can your water heater be repaired, or has it given up the ghost? Is it time to tell it to kick the bucket, or can you still salvage some meaningful years from this important investment?
These are good questions all. Before you set aside time and money to call in a plumber, therefore, it’s helpful to understand the issues at stake. What are the signs of trouble? What parts can be repaired, and what signals the end of the road? And lastly, what should you call in a plumber for?
Trouble in the Air
When your plumbing breaks down, it’s usually pretty obvious. A pool in the basement, a rumble or tick when there shouldn’t be one, or an icy shower at six a.m. are unpleasant wake-up calls that indicate something is wrong.
One of the main signs? If you notice the water heater leaking, which never happens when the appliance is shipshape. Another is when you simply can’t get hot water, when there isn’t nearly as much as there used to be, or when the water pressure drops significantly. If you notice any of these plumbing-related problems, it could be due to a number of factors. These include:
- A burner or heating element fails
- A loose drain valve, which is one of the most common causes of water heater leaking
- A pipe or valve gets blocked by buildup or debris
- The thermostat breaks
- The pilot light on a gas heater goes out
- A circuit trips
- The thermocouple comes loose
- The water heater simply outlives its useful life
This last occurrence cannot be overcome, and we will discuss that in later sections. First, though, which of these issues can be repaired so that you can hang on to your appliance for a bit longer?
Can It Be Repaired?
Luckily, it’s easy to replace or repair many of these parts. Valves, circuits, thermostats, thermocouples and other parts are typically quite inexpensive, ranging from $10 to $40 or so, or possibly a bit higher depending on the exact type of part you need. The water heater repair service cost to install parts, examine thermostats or relight pilots is also relatively inexpensive, usually ranging from $100 to $200 or so, depending on your individual water heater’s requirements.
If you want to avoid the occasional water leak or loss of hot water, one of the best ways to ensure this is by flushing the tank once a year to get accumulated sediment out of the system. When you do this, it’s less likely that a piece of sediment will break off and block a valve or pipe, which is one of the main reasons for a water leak. Plus, your water heater will work better, saving you money. You can do this during your water heater repair appointment, or during an annually scheduled maintenance call.
Feel free to get in touch or request a quote for water heater service so you can get back to the life you’re used to living, hot showers and all. Of course, sometimes it’s not as easy as a repair. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s just time to tell your water heater to take a hike.
Sorry … That Water Heater’s Done!
Conventional water heaters have a lifespan ranging between 10 and 13 years or so. If you experience a problem after or around that time, you can try to repair it, but it’s more than likely you’re going to need to call a plumber and get a replacement.
Even if your heater could theoretically be repaired, it’s sometimes necessary to replace it anyway to ensure it matches building codes specifying everything from the size of the vent system to the types of drain pipes to the water heater mount. Your plumber can walk you through these issues to help you make the best decision. You will also need to settle on many other choices as well, such as:
- Will you get a conventional, tankless, heat pump or solar water heater?
- What brand will you choose?
- Do you want it to meet Energy Star efficiency standards, which can qualify for a federal tax credit?
- How much are you able to pay?
Again, plumbing companies such as MET Plumbing can help walk you through these and other questions, so you can make the best possible decision about your new water heater. Feel free to give us a call today to learn more about your options and how we can help. Just pick up the phone and dial 281.599.3336 and we’ll set up an appointment for you right away so you can get back to the life you want to lead … hot showers and all.