The unexpected failure of an aging water heater can pose a major inconvenience for homeowners in addition to the costs of emergency plumbing service and a replacement unit. With proper maintenance, however, many older water heaters can safely provide efficient, cost-effective performance that outweighs the costs of replacement.
In general, homeowners struggled to calculate how the up-front cost of a new water heater compares to continued maintenance on an older unit.
“Most homeowners will eventually encounter a situation where they have to decide between continuing to maintain an older water heater and simply installing a new unit,” said Dustin Bowerman, senior director – field services for Bradford White Water Heaters. “Unfortunately, there’s not a simple formula. But there are some basic principles that can help homeowners find a solution that minimizes the risk of unexpected equipment failure associated with aging units but also ensures they’re getting efficiency, performance, and value from their home’s water heater.”
Some factors Bowerman recommends homeowners keep in mind when considering whether to repair or replace a water heater include:
- Age: The expected lifespan of a residential heater varies greatly, depending on the model, application, maintenance, water conditions and other variables. If your water heater is out of warranty and requires major repairs, consider investing in a new water heater. For older water heaters, watch out for small, inexpensive repairs. If they become more frequent, the costs can add up quickly.
- Scheduled maintenance: Following the recommended maintenance program not only keeps your equipment operating, it allows technicians to conduct visual inspections to identify potential issues. Many manufacturer warranties require scheduled maintenance. This information should be outlined in your product’s manual.
- Leaks: Most small leaks are the result of loose or disconnected equipment and can be easily repaired. As water heaters age, however, small internal cracks can develop that are harder to repair. If the source of a leak isn’t easily identifiable as a loose fixture or connection, replacement may be the best option.
- Climate: Environmental conditions such as extreme heat, extreme cold, precipitation, salt, and the hardness of water affect how long a water heater remains operational. The harsher the conditions, the sooner you will likely have to replace a heater.
- Warranty: The scope of a manufacturer’s warranty is limited, but it can be a valuable tool in case of production defects.
Additionally, Bowerman recommends homeowners ask themselves a series of questions before deciding to replace a water heater:
- Will investing in a new water heater save money in the long run?
- Will a new unit add efficiency?
- Has household demand for hot water changed since the current unit was installed?
- Are there new local, state, or federal regulations to consider?
- How frequently does the current heater require service?
- Will new higher efficiency equipment reduce energy costs enough to pay for replacement installation?
“Every water heater will need to be replaced at some point,” Bowerman said. “But most sudden breakdowns are preventable. If you’re scheduling regular maintenance, using the heater appropriately, and it’s within the reasonably expected lifetime of the unit, a modest investment in fixing it may be a better value than incurring replacement costs.”
For more information and resources about when and why homeowners should replace their water heaters and where to find professional and financial assistance, visit https://www.bradfordwhite.com/is-it-time-to-replace-your-water-heater .
About Bradford White Water Heaters
Bradford White Water Heaters is a full-line manufacturer of residential, commercial and industrial water heating, space heating, combination heating and storage products. The company maintains headquarters in Ambler, Pennsylvaniaand has manufacturing facilities in Middleville, Michigan; Niles, Michigan; other Rochester, New Hampshire; and distribution and training centers in Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada. For more information, visit www.bradfordwhite.com.
SOURCE Bradford White Corporation