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Water Heater Repair: Is It Worth It To Repair A Hot Water Heater?

Dec 3, 2022 | Plumbing Advice, Residential Plumbing, Water Heaters

Without a doubt, a water heater saves you a whole lot of stress and is the ideal buddy for most homes, but one of the most frequently asked questions is whether it is worth it to repair water heaters or toss them out and get them replaced with new ones. Because every home appliance will at some point begin to lose its initial efficiency, this question is important in order to determine what exactly to do when your water heater begins to lose its functionality.

The first thing to consider when making this decision is the age of your present hot water heater. If it’s five years old or less, then it would most likely be a wise option since you can get many more years out of it if the repair job is done correctly. On the other hand, if your appliance is between six and ten years old, repairs may be the better option, but you should also consider how much you would save by replacing it with a newer model.

Another factor to consider is the cost of repair versus replacement. Generally, repairing your water heater is usually more economical than buying a new one since parts and labor are less expensive. However, if your water heater is more than 10 years old, then replacing it with a newer model may be the better option, as you’ll get additional energy savings and fewer repairs in the long run.

When deciding between repair or replacement, you should also take into account whether or not any existing warranties cover your appliance. Many manufacturers offer extended warranties on their products, saving you money in the long run, and if your water heater is still under warranty, replacing it may be the better option.

Finally, consider how much time and effort you’re willing to put into repairing or replacing your water heater. Replacing a water heater is often more involved than repairing one since new models require installation. If you’re not comfortable taking on the task, it may be worth it to hire a professional to handle the job. On the other hand, if you feel confident in your DIY skills and have access to the necessary tools, a repair could be a good option for you.

A plumber fixing one of the most common plumbing issues for California homeowners, leaky taps.

Common Problems with Water Heaters

As with every home appliance, a water heater would certainly break down at some point. Here are some common problems that your water heater is most likely to encounter. [3]

Pilot Light Outage

A pilot light is used to light the burner of a water heater. Over time, it may go out due to various reasons, such as dust or moisture buildup in the pilot line. If the pilot light has gone out, it can usually be reignited manually with an igniter. However, sometimes you might find that you are having difficulty keeping the flame alive. On occasions like this, this could be an indication of a larger issue.

No Hot Water

This is another common problem with water heaters. If you are not receiving enough hot water, the problem could stem from a variety of factors, including a lack of maintenance, sediment buildup in the tank, a faulty thermostat or heating element, and other causes.

Noisy Tank 

Sediment buildup in the tank can lead to noisy sounds that can be disturbing and annoying. However, this falls under minor repairs and can easily be fixed by draining the tank and flushing it with a cleaning solution to remove any buildup.


A leak in your water heater’s system could be attributed to a variety of problems, including corrosion, loose fittings or valves, cracked pipes or tanks, or a lack of proper insulation. If you notice any water leakage, have a qualified professional investigate and repair the issue immediately, as continued exposure can lead to extensive damage.

Troubleshooting Water Heaters

No Hot Water

Temperature Control

Increase the temperature; we advise somewhere between 120 and 130 degrees. However, if the problem is a broken thermostat, contact a specialist to replace the thermostat assembly. [1]

Pilot Light

Relight the pilot if it is out. Be careful and adhere to the directions on the tank. You can ensure that there is no built-up gas by disconnecting the off line and allowing all gas to disperse for about 10 minutes.


If the thermocouple, which cuts off flow if there is not enough heat, is broken, it might permanently stop the flow. To get this repaired or have it completely replaced, consult a specialist.


If the water heater isn’t getting power, check the circuit breaker or fuse box and the water heater master switch.

Insufficient Hot Water

Make sure that the valve is fully turned on, as sometimes it could be partially closed, which can stop the flow of hot water. Also, the flame on your water heater should be blue, much like the flame on your furnace. There is a risk of combustion for any color other than blue. Do not attempt to alter the flame’s color on your own if it is not blue. Speak to an expert.


Here are some things you need to check whenever you notice that your water heater is leaking or observe water accumulating around or leaking from your water heater:

Leaky Drain Valve

Simply hand-tighten the valve (be careful not to overtighten it). The valve washer may need to be changed if the drain valve is broken. If not, get in touch with an expert.

Open Temperature-pressure relief valve

Check the temperature-pressure relief valve at the top of the tank to see whether it is open. If it is, close it. However, if you find that there is a problem with the temperature valve, no matter how small, you should get an expert to get it fixed as soon as possible.

Corroded Tank

This is quite risky. Don’t wait until there is significant water damage before acting if you see corrosion on your tank. For a complete replacement, get in touch with an expert straight away.

Repair Options for Water Heaters

Here are the options available to you when it comes to repairing a water heater. [2]

Replacing Parts

If any parts are broken or malfunctioning, they might need to be replaced, and that is all the repair you need. Commonly replaced parts include thermometers, heating elements, and anode rods.

Checking the Air Supply

If your water heater is not getting enough air, it can lead to overheating and other issues. Make sure that the ventilation system is working properly and check for blockages or debris in the chimney or flue.


If your water heater experiences any issues, such as strange noises, short cycling, or insufficient hot water, be sure to troubleshoot them immediately. Common causes of these problems include mineral buildup, incorrect thermostat settings, and improper air supply.


Regular maintenance is important for keeping your water heater in good condition, and sometimes, an extensive maintenance service might be all you need to get your heater up and running again. Clean out the sediment from the tank and check for corrosion or leaks. Replace anode rods and thermostats as needed to prevent problems down the line.


Although regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of a water heater, eventually it will need to be replaced. If your water heater is more than 10–15 years old, consider getting it replaced with a new unit. Additionally, if the cost of repairs is more than 50% of what it costs to install a new system, you may want to opt for replacement instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the most common problem with water heaters?

The most common problem you’ll encounter with a water heater is probably a leak. Any water heater will ultimately begin to leak because water will corrode your tank over time and cause microscopic fractures or fissures. However, this isn’t necessarily an indication that the leak is coming from your tank.

2. Can I fix a water heater myself?

Although it is theoretically possible for homeowners to install a hot water heater themselves, there is very little chance that this is a wise or secure decision. To ensure that the installation of your hot water heater is done properly, trust the experts and leave it to them completely.

3. What are the signs that your water heater is going out?

Leaks, rust-colored water, gurgling sounds, insufficiently hot water, and a drop in temperature are all signs that your water heater is going out.

4. How many years does a water heater last?

Knowing when to replace your water before it leaks and inconveniences you or, worse still, causes damage to your house, is very important. A hot water heater for a home typically lasts between 6 and 13 years.

5. Can a busted hot water heater be fixed?

Yes. It could only require a straightforward repair, like tightening fittings with a wrench or changing the T&P valve, or it could require a more involved solution. It could even be necessary to remove the old water heater, drain the tank, and install the new one.

6. Should I repair a 12-year-old water heater?

If your water heater is more than ten years old, leaks around the base of the tank, or operates inconsistently, it’s probably time for a replacement. To save on energy costs, you might also decide to switch to a more efficient model.

7. Is a broken water heater an emergency?

A broken water heater, especially if it leaks, can be an indication of a more serious issue. If water leaks as a result of excessive pressure, the worst-case situation can involve an explosion. As a result, you have to contact an emergency plumber as soon as you discover that your water heater is dripping.

8. Can a broken water heater cause a fire?

Yes, in a nutshell. Certainly, a fire can start because of a water heater. However, remember that this does not imply that water heaters are inherently risky. Instead, it emphasizes the possibility that inappropriate maintenance and usage of these units might result in issues that are far more serious.

9. What does a water heater cost?

The cost of a water heater depends on the type, model and size. In addition to the water heater cost, there are also costs associated with installation. Read our discussion here.

10. What happens when a water heater stops working?

If your water heater isn’t producing hot water, a circuit breaker or a fuse has most likely tripped or blown. First, double-check them. If it doesn’t solve the problem, it could be necessary to replace the heating element since it has burned out.


1. Water Heater Troubleshooting & Help | Repair Clinic 

2. Electric Water Heater Repair | How to Repair Major Appliances 

3. 5 Ways to Fix a Water Heater – wikiHow 

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