Cost of Water Heater Repair

Water Heater Repair Costs

The costs related to repairing or replacing water heaters vary based on a few different factors. When an issue is suspected with your water heater, contact a trained water heater technician to come diagnose the problem and determine an estimated cost of repair.

Common Water Heater Issues

One common gas-fired water heater issue is with the pilot light. The pilot light may go out too frequently, in which case you can initially re-light it yourself per manufacturer’s instructions, but it may need to be inspected by a technician and potentially have the thermocouple replaced. A thermocouple is a safety function that works in conjunction with the pilot light. If the pilot light goes out, the thermocouple senses this and triggers the gas valve to close so gas is not released continually. This device gets dirty and stops working properly overtime, thereby contributing to further pilot light-related issues.

Other common issues occur with the thermostat or heating elements. These devices can fail in both gas-fired and electric models and costs to repair them are relatively the same. 

Leaks in the water heater tank can also arise and are usually too costly to be repaired so tank replacement will need to be considered instead. If your tank is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, you may have tank leakage as part of your included coverage.

Cost of Repairs

On average, traditional storage water heaters will cost approximately $150-$400 depending on the type of repair and if the unit is gas or electric.

To repair the common issues discussed in the above section, the following price averages apply:
  • Clean and/or Repair Thermocouple: $395
  • Replace Thermostat and/or Heating element: $150-$200
  • Leaks: unless under warranty for repair, replacement is more cost-effective than repair

Repair or Replace

The first key factor to consider before going forward with repairs or replacement is the age of your storage tank water heater. These traditional-style water heaters typically last 8-12 years.

An interior anti-corrosion tool called an anode rod helps prevent damage to the lining inside of the tank by attracting corrosive materials to itself instead. However, after a few years this device eventually becomes corroded as well and thereby the water tank breaks down more quickly. Rust-colored water or an off-putting odor and/or taste signify this degradation. At this state of disarray, it is advisable to have your water heater replaced with a new one. 

Keep in mind, newer tankless water heater systems will not have this particular problem as a concern and therefore last an average of 20 years, but they also cost 2-3 times more than storage tank models.

A general cost of replacement for a 50-gallon traditional water heater is $1000 for electric and $1100 for gas-powered models. Tank leakage after 6-8 years typically signifies the end of tank life and the necessity for replacement. Manufacturer’s warranties often last for no longer than six years so unless your repair can be issued within that period, replacement will need to be considered. A trained water heater technician will be able to determine if repair or replacement is the best course of action for your situation. 

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