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Part of owning a home or property is maintaining both the structural and mechanical elements so that everything runs smoothly and efficiently. When something goes wrong – with a hot water heater, for example – we often have to decide whether the item can be repaired or if a full replacement is necessary, and it’s not always easy to know which way to go.

Here’s what you should know when making the decision.


Factors to take into account when considering a repair:

  • AGE: Most manufacturers recommend that a water heater be replaced about every 10 years. If it’s younger than this, a repair might make the most sense.
  • WARRANTY COVERAGE: If the water heater is still covered, this will most likely make a repair a lot easier. Find out what your coverage includes.
  • CONDITION: For a relatively well-maintained unit in good condition, a repair might be the most cost-effective option.
  • COST: Minor repairs can extend the life of your unit and save money.
  • LIVING SITUATION: Selling a house with a functioning hot water heater is a requirement. This does not mean, however, that a unit on the cusp of the 10-year mark need be replaced. You may determine that the cost of repairs far outweigh the price of a new hot water heater in a house you’ll no longer be living in.

If you’re thinking about repairing your hot water heater on your own, do your research and know your capabilities. It’s important to know what fixes you can make yourself and when it’s time to call in a professional.


Factors to take into account when considering replacing your unit:

  • AGE: Older units (over 10 years old) become less efficient and are more prone to breakdowns. The cost to replace with a brand-new, high-efficiency hot water heater may be worth the expense of frequent repair costs.
  • WARRANTY COVERAGE: If the hot water heater is no longer covered, you may find yourself with a repair cost that makes replacement (and a new warranty) a better option.
  • CONDITION: If the unit has not been well-maintained over the years, its useable lifespan can decrease.
  • COST: If you find yourself spending over half the original cost of your older hot water heater on repairs, it may be time to replace.
  • LIVING SITUATION: If you love your home and plan on staying there for years to come, an older hot water heater that stops functioning on a regular basis can be unpleasant and result in time lost from work or other activities due to frequent repair appointments. Additionally, if you have “outgrown” your smaller tank, upgrading to a larger tank will make your home life more comfortable.
  • PARTS: Older hot water heaters may no longer have available parts. In this situation, repairing is not an option.
  • EXTENT OF DAMAGE: Corrosion or considerable leaking of the unit is usually not able to be repaired. If you see external corrosion, you most likely also have it on the inside (and more extensively) where you cannot see it.

For expert advice, contact Wolfschmidt Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, a plumbing, heating and air conditioner repair service in New Jersey. Wolfschmidt is a full service company, providing heating and air conditioner installation services. Call us 24/7 at 800-658-8611 and let us assist you with your plumbing, heating and air conditioning system needs.

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