Your Water Heater: Repair or Replace?

When the hot water is cold, you need  help!

When the hot water is cold, you need help!

Sometimes, a water heater will go on the fritz. Maybe it's making weird noises or the water temperature is steadily becoming more and more inconsistent.

But, does that mean it needs to be replaced?

Probably not actually. Most water heaters have a lifespan of up to 15 years before replacement becomes something that should be considered. So up until then, the most prudent course of action is going to be to maintain it regularly, and have a Phoenix plumber repair any issues rather than spend big money to get it replaced.

Common symptoms that the water heater needs to be repaired:

Since most of the components of a water heater are all stuck on the inside, it’s not always obvious where or what the problem is. If something goes wrong inside, really the only way to know is the keep an eye out for the following “symptoms” that could indicate that the heater needs to be repaired:


It begins making strange noises, such as rattling or thumping. Sometimes it can be heard right next to the heater, but other times it can be heard all throughout the house as well, though likely much quieter.


A pervasive and unsettling rotten egg or sulfur odor that’s coming from the water or the air near the water heater, which is a sign of sediment build up in the tank. Sediment is a contributing factor to several other potential problems that would require a water heater repair.

Water heater replacement is a balance between age and troubles. It is often better to repair a newer one.

Water heater replacement is a balance between age and troubles. It is often better to repair a newer one.

Cold water

When the hot water stops being as hot for as long or refuses to get hot at all, or any inconsistency that either comes out of nowhere or builds up over time to something noticeable is another sign that there is something in the water heater that requires a repair.

While this doesn’t cover what all needs repaired in the water heater, these are the things to keep an eye, ear, and nose out to catch. If these are dealt with in a timely fashion, it’s possible to extend the life of the water heater well beyond expectations. A good Phoenix plumber may even be able to help a water heater reach the lifespan beyond the anticipated 10-13 years. Ultimately, keeping the old unit can save you money, a chance which you'll jump at if it is an Energy Star heater.

When to replace, rather than repair

Having a plumber repair the water heater should always be the first option when the unit is young and if it is not leaking. There will eventually come a time when the homeowner should replace a plumbing appliance. But don’t jump the gun on this one, just because it’s not the most efficient system doesn’t mean that replacing them will be any cheaper or better in the long run if the usable one is replaced too early. With all the care and focus on sustainability lately, it’s important to remember that throwing out an old water heater before it’s lived it’s full life and replacing it with a “more efficient” system isn’t necessarily going to be better. It’s just all around better to use the water heater as long as possible before upgrading to a newer and more efficient version.

The caveat

Sometimes your plumber may tell you that your water heater is still under warranty and will advise you that replacement under the warranty is your best option!

When you do replace a water heater, consider the Energy Star series, especially if the home is in a locale in which the local power company has a tiered-billing program.

If you need a licensed, bonded, insured plumber for your Phoenix area leak or your next plumbing project, call MNS Plumbing today at 602-362-4524.