Water Heater

Water Heaters: When to Repair or Replace?

If your water heater is working just right you will have to decide whether repairing the water heater or replacing it is your best choice. In today’s blog, we’ll offer a few factors to consider. However, we recommend communicating with a professional plumber to get more specific advice. Let’s get into it!


Water heaters don’t last forever. Unfortunately, with all of their moving parts and their constant contact with water, your system will break down eventually. Typically, a traditional tank system will last for a little over a decade, while a tankless one can last double that. When your system fails, consider how many more years you're likely to get out of it after the repair.

If you still have years to go, the issue might just be a one-off and worth the repair. If it’s on the older side, it might be time to let it go. Remember that even if you get your older system in working order, it’s not likely to be as efficient as a brand-new one would be.


Leaks are one of, if not the most, common issues with a water heater. Unfortunately, water heater leaks are also one of the worst types of leaks! The reason why is because it wastes heat and water. You’ll end up paying for it in your water and your gas bill.

On the other hand, a leak can be a really simple fix. Unless something is wrong with the system’s structure, it can typically be repaired fairly cheaply and quickly by an experienced plumber. Before you worry about your water heater leak, call your local plumber for a consultation.

Discolored Water

One of the most shocking plumbing problems is when the water from your faucet is completely discolored. It’s disgusting and disconcerting, to say the least. Often this type of issue can be traced back to your water heater! If something is wrong with the system, rust and mineral deposits can accumulate. This can cause a red or orange color to your water. It can be really difficult to clean out the inside of your water heater, especially if the rust issue is bad enough that it is affecting the water color in your home.

If this is your situation, you’ll likely want to lean towards replacing since a repair is likely either impossible or far too costly.

Making the Right Financial Decision

Ultimately, you should make your decision based on finances. Your water heater needs to do its job efficiently and not break down when you need it most. A new system will be more dependable than an old one, but it obviously costs more to install. So, how do you balance these factors?

Our rule of thumb is to multiply the cost of the repair by the age of the system in years. This gives you a rough estimate of which option will be better. If a new system would cost less than the repair cost multiplied by the age of the system, it’s a good idea to replace it. Of course, the same is true for the reverse case.

This is our easy rule of thumb, but every situation is a little bit different, so just give our team a call and we’ll advise you!

If you’re having trouble with your water heater, we’d love to help! Just give us a call at (707) 745-2930 or fill out an online contact form to schedule service!