When Should You Replace or Repair a Broken Water Heater?

Published On: July 5, 20190 Comments on When Should You Replace or Repair a Broken Water Heater?Tags: , Last Updated: February 13, 20242.6 min read

Repairs for water heaters in Salt Lake City typically cost around $100 but some may spend up to $400. You should consider a replacement if the unit has been used for more than 10 years.

When Should You Replace or Repair a Broken Water Heater

Calculate the projected cost of repairs before you think about a replacement. If repairs will cost more than half of the price for installing a new water heater, then it’s better to choose a replacement. You can also spend less on replacing a water heater instead of repairing it due to a faulty major component such as the tank. Aside from the heater’s old age, there are other signs that you might need to replace it.

Determine the Manufacturing Date

Homeowners can still determine the age of their heaters by looking at the serial number on the equipment. The number usually starts with a letter corresponding to the month of the year. As an example, a serial number that starts with F indicates that the product was made in June. When two numbers like 1 and 9 immediately follow the letter, then it means that the water heater was manufactured in June 2019.

Not all manufacturers follow the same order for labeling dates, so you should check their websites or call them to find out. You shouldn’t wait until the heater causes damage when it leaks, since you may need to watch out for mold growth and other problems. In some cases, you may need a replacement sooner even if the heater hasn’t been used for more than 10 years.

Discoloration, Moisture and Noise

Discolored water indicates another problem with the heater. Once you confirm that it comes from the tank, it’s a good sign that the insides have become rusty. You should expect leaks to happen if you don’t replace it. If you want to rule out rusty pipes, you can drain hot water from the heater. The pipes may be the culprit when you can see clear water after the first or second attempt.

When Should You Replace or Repair a Broken Water Heater - pliers

Old water heaters also tend to create rumbling sounds due to the build-up of sediment inside the tank. Sediment deposits will become harder each time you turn on and off the heater. Hard sediment affects the heater’s performance by forcing it to consume more gas or electricity, which means higher energy expenses.

Cost of Installation

Homeowners in Salt Lake City may spend up to $900 to install a 40-gallon tank, while a tankless unit may cost up to $2,510. Most contractors may charge between $250 and $500 for the cost of labor. Tankless heaters are more expensive because it supplies water to the entire house, while 40-gallon tanks or bigger ones store water at your preferred temperature either for doing laundry or taking a shower.


Expert advice from a plumber or HVAC professional remains better when deciding whether to replace or repair a water heater. A licensed contractor can determine if there are underlying problems for your unit or plumbing system, which you may not know from just a visual inspection by yourself.

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