Your Ailing Water Heater: Repairable or Washed Up? – Sobieski Services | DE, NJ, PA, MD

Your Ailing Water Heater: Repairable or Washed Up?

Water heaters have an important job that often gets overlooked. Day by day, they quietly heat your water, causing no problems until the dreaded day comes when you’re hit with an icy shower or you find a giant puddle in the basement. Then your thoughts go into overdrive: is a repair possible, or is it time to replace the water heater?

Conventional storage water heaters are fairly basic. Cold water enters the tank and a gas burner or electric element heats it. A thermostat keeps the temperature where you set it at, usually between 120 and 140 degrees. Pressure builds inside the tank as the water heats up, which is what sends hot water to the tap when you want it. Various things can go wrong with a water heater, some of which are relatively easy to repair while others demand a replacement. Here are a few examples of each.

Repairable Problems

  • Pilot light goes out on a gas water heater
  • Circuit breaker trips on an electric water heater
  • Heating element fails
  • Thermostat malfunctions or breaks
  • Valve sticks

Once a repair is made, keep on top of water heater maintenance to keep future problems at bay. This includes flushing the tank once a year and checking the anode rode every three years.

When Replacement Is the Only Choice

A leak develops because the tank has corroded

Tank is 10 to 13 years old and develops a problem with high repair costs Replacing a water heater is obviously more expensive than repairing it, but modern water heaters are far more efficient than they used to be. Many come with injected foam insulation between the tank and its outer shell to reduce standby heat loss, and glass liners make them less prone to corrosion. Tankless water heaters offer even more savings and may qualify you for federal tax credits. They are three to five times more expensive to purchase, so consider the payback period carefully.

For more information, please contact Sobieski Services, Inc. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).

Image Credit: mfhiatt

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