The first thing you want to find out during a cold shower is the cost to repair a hot water heater. Here’s everything you need to know.
Do you want to know the total cost to repair a hot water heater? If this question is on your mind, there’s a good chance you just stepped out of an icy shower. There’s nothing worse than a broken water heater, except for what it can do to your budget.
Water heaters can break down for a variety of reasons. Even the most expensive, top-of-the-line unit may give you grief eventually. When you find yourself without hot water, you need to find a way to repair or replace the system right away. Before we talk about prices, let’s figure out what’s going on with your water heater.
Limited hot water and lots of banging
A properly operating water heater is quite silent. You may hear the faint sound of the heating element whenever it reheats the stored water. Other than that, you shouldn’t notice it at all. But if your water heater starts sounding a head-banging drummer in a heavy metal band, something isn’t right.
If you have to take shorter showers and listen to a percussion section each morning, there is a good chance there is sediment in the water heater tank. Homes with hard water are more prone to sediment buildup than those with soft water. What you need to do is have a plumber drain the tank and flush out the sludge.
What’s this going to do to your wallet? Since this is a preventative maintenance procedure, it will only set you back around $100. Of course, if the plumber notices something else that’s gone array, you may end up paying more. If you want to prevent a drumming water heater, it’s best to schedule a routine flush at least once a year (more often if you have hard water).
Not a single drop of hot water
When you open the hot water faucet, it should only take a few seconds before warm water begins to flow. Faucets that are closest to the water heater get warm faster than those halfway across the house. But, if you wait for an eternity and the water never heats up, you need to take a good look at your water heater.
There are several reasons why you no longer get any hot water, and each one comes with its own price tag. Only a plumber can tell you for certain what’s wrong, and the longer you wait, the more cold showers you’ll have to endure. Here are some examples of common issues:
- Broken thermostat
- Malfunctioning heating element
- Tripped fuse/faulty breaker
- Gas leak
- Power outage
If you need to replace the thermostat, you’ll probably end up spending about $150-200. A new heating element is a touch more expensive. Most cost about $200-300 to install. If you’re unable to reset the circuit breaker, it could cost anywhere from $20 for a fuse to $1,000 for a new breaker panel (and that’s a job for an electrician). Gas leaks are both dangerous and pricey. The cost varies tremendously, so be sure to have a plumber give you a written estimate. Finally, a power outage shouldn’t cost you a dime, given that it’s a citywide problem.
Water pooling around the base
Water should remain inside the tank at all times. If you notice condensation on the surface or puddles around the base of the tank, you may have an emergency on your hands. It doesn’t take much for a small water leaker leak to turn into a full-blown flood. Think about how much liquid your water heater stores. Do you really want to deal with the aftermath of a 50-gallon leak?
What may come as a surprise is that a small leak doesn’t always mean you need a new water heater. A plumber will inspect the system to determine the source of the leak, and they will also let you know if it’s repairable or not.
Sometimes a leaking value is to blame. Loose drain valves are notorious for leaking over time. Water may also leak from the pressure-relief valve. Of course, you need a master plumber to determine the exact cause. Regardless of which valve you need to replace, you should set aside a few hundred dollars to cover the cost.
Is water heater repair or replacement better?
When the water heater goes out, you’ll need to decide between fixing the problem with a few new parts or replacing the entire system. Sure, repairs are cheaper than buying a new unit, but will they save you money in the long run?
Sometimes fixing the water heater only buys you time. Think of it as a bandage. You’ll have a few more months (years, if you’re lucky) before you experience problems again. Of course, if money is tight, this may be the best way to start saving for a new water heater.
Even though you want to save money, you may find yourself taking a few more cold showers. Replacing the system is a surefire way to resolve all your hot water problems. But buying a new water heater doesn’t come cheap. Basic models often cost around $1,000, and you should expect to pay around $3,000 for a tankless water heater.
When making this important decision, the biggest question to ask is, “How old is my water heater?” Even if you don’t know the answer, a plumber can look up the age with the serial number. Repairing any water heater that is more than ten years old is never a wise decision. Most models start to fail around this point. Instead, you should invest in a younger, more desirable water heater.
Trusted plumber for all your water heater repairs
Water heater repairs should never become a DIY project. You risk flooding your home or electrocution—and, trust us, neither of those scenarios is fun. Instead, you should look for a plumbing company that knows how to fix all types of water heaters, including tanked and tankless models.
The team at Morningside Plumbing doesn’t want you to suffer through another day without hot water. We are ready to tackle your water heater disaster any time—day or night! While we hope you’ll never experience a plumbing emergency, we’re always here for you. With over 50 years of experience, there’s no plumbing issue we can’t handle. If you’re ready for a long, hot, steamy shower, click or call 404-445-6139 to learn the cost to repair a hot water heater.