Your Guide to Hot Water Tank Repair and Replacement

Information on hot water tank replacement or water heater installation for construction. Water heater replacement is required every ten to twelve years.

Your Guide to Hot Water Tank Repair and Replacement

Hot Water Heater Replacement Costs

In every household, the hot water tank stands as a silent sentinel, ensuring warm showers, clean dishes, and comfortable laundry. Yet, amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, it's easy to overlook the care and attention this essential appliance requires. In this guide, we'll explore why hot water tank repair and maintenance are critical for the longevity and efficiency of hot water tanks, and when the moment arrives to consider replacing it. The installation cost involved with this type of work will vary depending on what model you choose, the fees charged by the contractor and capacity needed for your home.

The Importance of Hot Water Tank Maintenance

When large appliances like a gas water heater, or electric water heater are neglected they slowly fail  and eventually fall apart. Regular maintenance and the occasional upgrade of various parts as they fail is the only way to extend the life of your water heater. The level of total dissolved solids in municipal tap water varies widely, but it always leads to sediment buildup in the tank if not flushed out at least once a year. Parts like the anode rod need to be replaced two or sometimes even three time during the general lifespan of any given hot water tank. There are also numerous other parts that should be replaced as they wear out, but this can only be accomplished if there is regular maintenance or hot water tank repair when needed..

If you are not familiar with how to maintain your tank water heater, then the best way to extend its life is to have a professional maintain it for you. Choose someone you are comfortable with in your area, and ask them to set up a maintenance schedule for everything related to plumbing and heating in your home. If this sounds too expensive, then research how to do most of the basic tasks on YouTube. That way when it comes time to replace a worn out part, you only have to pay for those vital components on occasion.

Here is a short list of reasons why maintenance is important: 

  • Efficiency: Routine maintenance and timely repair are the cornerstones of maintaining the efficiency of a hot water tank. From flushing out sediment to addressing minor leaks, these tasks keep the system operating smoothly.
  • Lifespan: A well-maintained tank can last for years beyond its typical lifespan. By addressing issues promptly, homeowners can delay the need for costly hot water tank replacement.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Regular maintenance and minor repairs are often more cost-effective than dealing with major malfunctions or water heater replacement. By investing in upkeep, homeowners can avoid unexpected expenses.
  • Safety: Neglected hot water tanks can pose safety hazards, including leaks or pressure buildup. Regular maintenance includes safety checks to identify and mitigate potential risks.
  • Performance: Maintenance tasks such as adjusting temperature settings and inspecting heating elements ensure optimal performance. This translates to consistent water temperature and a reliable supply, meeting the household's hot water needs.
  • Efficiency: A properly maintained tank operates more efficiently, resulting in lower energy consumption. Cleaning components, insulating pipes, and addressing heat loss contribute to improved energy efficiency.

Determining When Hot Water Heater Replacement is Required

Hot water tanks usually last ten to fifteen years, depending on how clean you local water is and how well you have maintained it. Eventually, every type of water heater must be replaced. When you replace it is usually determined by how well it was maintained. If you know how old it is, and it will need to be replaced soon, then you can book time with a local plumber to replace it. If you are unaware of what's going on, you don't know why the tank is rusty, you don't bother to investigate why there is a water puddle under the tank, and so on. You will probably be surprised by a small flood when the tank bursts.

Don't fall victim to an avoidable situation like this. Look at your appliances at least once a year to help you figure out what needs to be done to get full use out of it. Look at it this way. It needs to be replaced at some point. The best way to avoid the expense of a mini-flood is to get ahead of that inevitability

Here are a few factors to pay attention to as the time to replace approaches.

  • Age: Hot water tanks typically have a lifespan of 10-15 years. As they age, they become prone to leaks, corrosion, and decreased efficiency. When a tank nears or exceeds its lifespan, replacement becomes a prudent option.
  • Frequent Repairs: If your tank requires frequent repairs or experiences recurring issues, it may be nearing the end of its serviceable life. In such cases, hot water heater replacement offers a more reliable solution than continual repairs.
  • Decreased Efficiency: Aging hot water tanks struggle to maintain optimal performance, resulting in higher energy bills and inadequate hot water supply. If homeowners notice a significant decrease in performance despite regular maintenance, replacement may be necessary.
  • Persistent Issues: Persistent leaks, corrosion, or signs of structural damage indicate the need for hot water tank replacement. Continued reliance on a compromised tank risks water damage and compromises safety.

Who to Hire For Replacing an Old Hot Water Tank

When it comes to replacing an old tank, you have several options for professionals you can hire to perform the task. Here are some recommendations:

  • Licensed Plumbers: Hiring a licensed plumber is often the best choice for hot water tank work. Plumbers have the expertise and experience to safely disconnect the old tank, install the new one, and ensure that all connections are properly sealed and functioning correctly. They can also advise homeowners on the best type and size of hot water tank for their specific needs.
  • HVAC Technicians: HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technicians are also skilled professionals who can handle water storage work. While their primary focus may be on heating and cooling systems, many HVAC technicians are trained to work on water heaters as well. They can ensure that the new tank is integrated seamlessly with the home's existing HVAC system.
  • Home Improvement Contractors: Some people choose to hire general home improvement contractors to replace their tank. While these contractors may not specialize in plumbing or HVAC systems, they may still have the necessary skills to perform the task. However, you should ensure that the contractor is experienced in working with hot water tanks and has a good understanding of plumbing and heating systems.
  • New Water Heater Installers: Some companies specialize in hot water heater installation and replacement. These people have in-depth knowledge of various types and brands and can handle the entire process from start to finish.
  • Manufacturer-Approved Technicians: In some cases, you may choose to hire a technician who is certified by the manufacturer. These technicians have specific training and expertise related to the brand and model being replaced, ensuring that the replacement is done according to the manufacturer's specifications.

Regardless of who you choose to hire, it's essential to verify that this person is licensed, and experienced in hot water tank replacement. You could even go as far as to compare services offered by getting a quote from a few different companies to see what the price range is in your area. Getting a quote does not obligate you to hiring the company.

Randy Strombach
Randy Strombach

Plumbing Contractor, father to three great kids and husband to an amazing wife