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What Should I Spend on Water Heater Repair?

What Should I Spend on Water Heater Repair?

What Should I Spend on Water Heater Repair?

The average water heater repair costs $599, according to Angi. You may spend as little as $90 to fix a water heater, but a major repair can cost $1,700+. Water heaters don’t last forever and one variable in a repair vs. replacement decision is what you spend. Water heater repairs are mainly priced based on the cost of parts and labor (plumbers can charge from $45 to $150 per hour).

How Much Is Too Much

A major water heater repair can cost over $1,000 (but most common repairs are much less). By comparison, water heater replacement costs about $1,300 on average. If your water heater has a big leak, the tank is most likely corroded or failing and water heater replacement is your only option.

Needing multiple water heater repairs in a short time is a reason to consider whether to spend on fixing it again. Repairs typically cost a few hundred dollars. That means if you require two or three repairs in a year, you’re spending almost as much as replacing the unit. Other signs you’re spending too much or are at risk of overspending include:

  • Your Water Heater Is Old: If the unit is less than seven years old, a repair is worthwhile. However, if it’s over 10 years old, it’ll likely need another major repair soon. Older parts may be harder to find and more expensive.
  • The Unit Shows Signs It’s Failing: Your water heater may have multiple issues if hot water runs out quickly, there’s no hot water, or your hot water supply is murky, rusty, or has a metallic odor. Water that’s too hot is also an ominous sign. Also, consider a replacement if the tank is noisy or the water pressure is low.
  • A Repair Estimate Exceeds 50% of the Replacement Cost: The 50% rule is a good measure of whether to pay for a water heater repair. That means if a repair will cost half the price of a new unit or more, replace it. The unit’s age and frequency of repairs are strong considerations here.

Water heater repairs are often effective. However, depending on the unit and a plumbing contractor’s advice, a replacement can save you money in the long run.

Associated Costs of Water Heater Repair

As stated earlier, the repair cost is largely determined by the type of problem and the part that’s malfunctioning. Here’s a look at what you can expect to spend for common repairs:

  • Pressure Relief Valve: While the valve is a $20 part, it can cost up to $200 for a plumber to replace it. The valve should work periodically, but if it’s triggered more steadily, the tank pressure may be too high, or the valve may have sediment buildup or need to be replaced.
  • Dip Tube Replacement: A dip tube costs about $25. On average, expect to spend $150 for a professional to replace it. An important part of your water heater, it moves cold replacement water to the bottom of the tank when you use hot water; otherwise, both will mix and reduce the water temperature.
  • Anode Rod Replacement: While an anode rod costs between $20 and $50, a plumber can replace it for $50 to $150. The job typically takes about an hour. The anode rod protects the tank from corrosive materials and needs to be changed every few years.
  • Water Heater Tank Flush: A water heater flush kit can cost around $150. However, why take chances when you can hire a plumber to clean out the tank for about $200? They can also check for leaks or other issues to fix before they get worse.
  • Expansion Tank Replacement: With parts and labor, expect to spend $100 to $400. An expansion tank holds excess water that expands when heated. It is typically replaced once during a water heater’s life.

Other water heater repair costs depend on the type of unit. If you have a gas water heater, you may need someone to light a pilot light, which costs $50 to $150 for a plumber’s visit. A thermocouple costs about $150 to replace, while a gas control valve costs $350 on average.

If you have an electric water heater, a tripped breaker can stop it from working. Fortunately, you don’t need to hire anyone or spend money to reset a circuit breaker. However, heater elements cost around $200 to $300 to replace. 

What Other Costs Are There?

What you spend on water heater repairs can be determined by other factors. For example, replacing a flue vent pipe connected to the unit can cost $100 to $350. Replacing a timer costs a similar amount. The cost of maintenance is a factor too. A tune-up each year can cost $100 to $500, so consider that on top of any potential repairs during the season (tune-ups can also prevent repairs).

How Do I Save on Water Heater Repairs?

To spend less on repairs:

  • Hire a Professional In the First Place: While you’ll pay for labor, their expertise and availability of parts and materials ensure the issue is fully resolved.
  • Insulate the Water Heater: Insulate the tank and pipes using properly rated materials to reduce heat loss. Your water heater will, therefore, not have to work as hard.
  • Drain/Flush the Tank Annually: A professional can do this during your annual maintenance visit. It can prevent repairs and extend the life of your water heater.
  • Compare Multiple Estimates: Compare the repair cost estimates from at least three contractors. Don’t assume the lowest price equals the best service, but you can find a better deal.
  • Schedule Service for Off-Peak Hours: If it’s not an emergency or you’re not in immediate need of hot water, you can avoid weekend or holiday fees. When possible, call during the work week or the off-season.

Contact Monarch Home Services for a Water Heater Repair Quote

Our licensed plumbers repair water heaters throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Available 24/7, we can address emergencies and quickly get your water heater running again. Our team can address any type of problem. They can fix all makes and models and provide advice on replacement if necessary. To schedule a visit or receive a water heater repair quote, call (661) 215-6737 today.

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