Are you worried about the impending water heater replacement cost? Well, imagine sitting down to watch TV, and then seeing water flooding all over the floor and into your wall-to-wall carpet! And when you get up in shock to go check out what just happened, you find that your water heater has burst at the seams. And before you know it, you are not only dealing with a water heater replacement cost, but also the cost of fixing the mess in your floors, carpets, and the mold that grew as a result of rotting wood you never even knew about.
Do you think that sounds impossible? It’s not. This scenario actually plays out very often in homes all across America. Did you know that water heaters can cause an average of $4,444 worth of damage after the payment of the deductible, every time they fail? Did you also know that 69 percent of the time, the failure is caused by a sudden burst of the water heater or a slow leak? Suddenly, planning for your water heater replacement cost does not seem so bad after all.
When Should You Consider Water Heater Replacement Cost?
Not every water heater needs a replacement. However, there comes a time when replacing your water heater is the only thing that you should consider. And if you don’t, then you may end up not just with a $4,000 bill, but also the headache of replacing rotten wooden boards and mold removal. It is, therefore, essential for you to know when to start thinking of water heater replacement cost and include it in your long-term budget. Here are some of the things you should look out for:
How old is your water heater? Where these heating devices are concerned, age is not just a number. The average traditional water heater will last for 10 to 20 years -- or thereabouts.
Tankless water heaters are likely to last for at least 20 years, while the traditional water heaters usually last for 10 to 15 years. It is crucial for you to pay attention to the age of your tank and consider its average lifespan. Otherwise, you will find yourself in a watery mess, and the water heater replacement cost will be the least of your worries.
2. Rusty water or valves
One of the signs that it is time for you to start budgeting for the incoming water heater replacement cost is when your water becomes rusty. Steel is an alloy of carbon and iron, and most water heaters have it as their main component. With time, the water will interact with the steel and begin to corrode.
When the corrosion gets excessive, then your water will become rusty. When you observe this, then it’s time to determine first, whether your plumbing is the problem and has become corroded. If that is not the case, then next you need to check whether there is sediment within the tank. If they are, you can flush the tank to try and extend the lifespan of your tank.
However, if your water heater is rather old and has already undergone this kind of maintenance before, then it is a sign that implies your heater has become weakened by rust. Sometimes, the rust may spread to the outside and may be visible on the pressure valve or water inlet. That is a sign that your tank needs replacing very soon.
3. Increased water heating requirements
Could it be that your storage tank is small and the needs of the house occupants have increased? Is that why you have to heat water more often? Perhaps it is time to determine whether the water heater you have is adequate for your needs. For a family of two or fewer, a water heater with a 30-gallon capacity is enough. A 40-gallon capacity water heater is enough for up to three people. And then for five or more people, a 50-gallon tank will be adequate. The fewer times you have to heat water, the better.
4. Water leaks
Not all leaks around your water heater mean bad news. Some are from condensation. However, with time, corrosion will cause tears within your water heater tank. And this will lead to constant leaks. Leaks imply that your tank is wasting water and also the energy that has been used to heat it.
And that is not all. The constant dripping will form puddles on the floor, and some water will get absorbed underneath. Before long, you will be dealing with wood rot, structural damage to your home, and even mold. So, in addition to dealing with the water heater replacement cost, you will have to deal with mold remediation. It would be prudent for you to replace that water heater before getting hit with higher bills you have not budgeted for.
5. Unusual noises in the water heater
Abnormal sounds in your water heater mean there is a water heater replacement cost in your future. Inevitably, sediment will start to build up over time at the bottom of the storage tank of the water heater due to minerals in the water. You should drain the sediment annually to prolong the lifespan of your water heater.
But as the heater ages, you will begin to hear strange noises like knocking, rumbling, and banging sounds caused by excessive sediment buildup in the tank when the water is heating. These will affect the efficiency of your water heater and raise your energy bills. Draining the tank will become impractical. And when that happens, it’s time to replace your water heater.
6. Rising maintenance costs
There comes a time when you need to sit down and calculate whether it is financially feasible to keep on maintaining the water heater you have. The average water heater repair cost ranges from $244 to $576. If you have to spend this kind of money several times in a short period to keep on repairing your water heater, then it would be better for you to deal with a one-time water heater replacement cost.
Water Heater Replacement Cost and Other Factors to Consider
Once you determine that your water heater needs replacing, it’s time to select another one. You need to consider several criteria when shopping for one. Here are the factors you should consider.
1. The energy source for heating the tank
What kind of energy source do you intend to use to warm your water? Is it solar? Or do you want to use gas or electricity as 85 percent of American households do? The kind of energy source that you will use will determine the water heater you can purchase. Your heater of choice should be compatible with your energy source so that it can work efficiently. You may need to purchase an electric water heater if you don't have access to gas. And some heaters can adapt to different energy sources too.
2. The water heater replacement cost
When you think of the water heater replacement cost, do you get a headache at the thought of exceeding your budget? Well, how much money you are willing or are capable of spending on a water heater matters. The national average cost of a water heater is just under $1,100. That should give you an idea of how much you should save to get a water heater of decent quality.
3. The type of water heater
Two significant types of water heaters exist. It’s important to understand your options in order to select the right one for your needs. There is the traditional water heater with a tank, and the tankless water heater, which heats water as it flows continuously through it, thus making it instantaneously ready for use.
Statistics show that tankless water heaters cost more. On average, it will cost you $3,000 for the privilege of buying and installing one. On the other hand, the traditional water heater will cost you only $889 (for one with a tank with a capacity of 40 to 50 gallons). However, tankless water heaters will last longer and therefore provide you with excellent value for money.
4. Energy efficiency
How energy efficient will the water heater of your choice be? If you are like any other typical American family, then you will pay an average of $2,060 per year for your utilities. Do bear in mind that 13 percent of your energy bills are as a result of your water heating needs. The kind of heater that you select for your hot water needs will thus determine whether you can save some money in this regard.
A water heater that heats more efficiently will save you money. According to ENERGY STAR, a heat pump water heater with its certification will save up to $3,500 in energy costs over its lifetime. A certified tankless water heater, on the other hand, will save you $300 over its lifetime. Therefore, the final water heater replacement cost will also depend on how energy efficient it is.
5. Size of tank
It’s important to factor in the size of a water heater tank when shopping for a water heater. The more people there are in your home, the bigger the tank should be. If you intend to expand your family shortly, then you should consider a water heater that will accommodate your growing family. The same applies if you intend to get renters. That way, you don’t have to incur additional a water heater replacement cost sooner than necessary.
You can use online resources at your disposal to estimate the size of the tank that you will need. As for tankless water heaters, you can judge them based on the maximum rise in temperature they are capable of accommodating at any given rate of flow.
Manufacturers who believe in quality will always offer a warranty of some sort for the water heaters that they produce. You need to find a water heater with the best warranty conditions possible. It is in your best interest to do so, especially if the heater that you buy ends up becoming defective.
Manufacturers will offer you guarantees of different lengths. Their coverage will also vary, with some warranties accommodating more defects than others. Most, however, will offer a guarantee ranging from 6 to 12 years. Some may be spelled out within the serial number section. But if you are buying online, you may need to contact the sellers and inquire about what kind of warranty is available. Always do your due diligence so that you can save money if your water heater becomes defective quicker than you expected.
7. Associated installation services
How much will it cost you to install a water heater? Is it something that you can do on your own? Do you need the services of a specialist water heater installer? And is the installation service included within the water heater replacement cost your seller gives you? Or are they separate? Do you have access to discounted installation services if you buy a particular brand or from a specific seller?
All these questions need answers because how much you have budgeted for in the way of water heater replacement costs may end up being more than you expected. A solar heater, for example, may cost you from $1,882 to $5,231 to buy and install. On average, it will cost you from $350 to $730 to hire a professional to install your heater, so shop for your water heater carefully and take advantage of any associated free or discounted installation services on offer.
8. Customer reviews and ratings
What are people saying about the water heater that you intend to buy? Take the time to look through online sites that provide reviews and ratings by customers. These include Sears, Amazon, and Lowe’s. You should also go through Yelp and read the reviews of the professionals that install water heaters if you intend to acquire their services separately.
Reading through customer reviews and ratings gives you a better idea of how your preferred water heaters perform in reality. You will get the benefit of experience from people who have already bought and started using the products you want to buy. That ensures that you can avoid making purchasing mistakes that others have made before you. And doing so will save you a lot of grief and money.
Why You Should Replace Your Water Heater
While the water heater replacement cost that you have to deal with may not be something you want, it may be necessary. Knowing the signs that show your water heater has unfixable problems will help you start saving early for a replacement. Doing so will ensure that you reduce the overall costs that you would have encountered otherwise if you were to ignore your water heater issues until it was too late. Not all water heater replacement costs are bad. Think of them as investments that will help you save money in the long term and give you peace of mind as a homeowner.
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