Try Troubleshooting First
Look at basic things, like whether the water heater is properly connected to its power source and whether the heating element and/or gas burner are clean.
You can also try flushing out your water heater, insulating your hot water pipes, and turning up the thermostat on the unit. If these don’t fix your problems, it’s time to bring in a professional to take a look at it.
Consider Repair vs. Replacement
If you can’t fix your water heater, call in experts to try a water heater repair. If they can’t fix it or the repair is going to be expensive, it’s time to choose a water heater replacement instead.
You may want to skip water heater repair entirely if your unit is older than the average life of a water heater. This is 8-12 years, depending on the heater itself, how well it was maintained, the quality and hardness of the water where you live, and more.
How to Choose the Best Water Heater Replacement
The best water heater replacement for you may be different than the best one for your neighbor or for someone else. When looking at a water heater replacement, consider:
- The size of water heater you need, based on the size of your home and the number of people living there. Most people choose 40 or 50 gallon water heaters.
- The physical dimensions of the water heater. Make sure it will fit in the space allotted for it in your utility area.
- The heater’s recovery rate. How many gallons of hot water can it heat in an hour? Will it heat up water fast enough for your needs?
- The heater’s energy efficiency rating. If you want an efficient appliance, make sure you take this into account before you buy a new water heater.
Who Do I Call for Water Heater Repair and Replacement?
Most people call in professionals to perform a water heater repair and/or replacement, though some choose to do it themselves. If you’re considering this, think about:
- How you will dispose of the old water heater. You’ll need to make sure you follow all relevant laws and don’t do this illegally.
- Whether you can handle the unit physically. A water heater replacement can be heavy, so make sure you have help or can manage it yourself.
- Your technical know-how. You should know how to replace the water heater and be familiar with the tools involved before you try to install it.
- Your time. It can take a while to replace a water heater and you’ll want to finish the job once you start it.