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Serving The Greater
Coeur D’Alene & Spokane Area

Serving The Greater Coeur D’Alene & Spokane Area


ACI Northwest Blog

When to Repair Vs Replace a Water Heater


Any time a major appliance starts to act up, a homeowner starts to worry. Is this an urgent problem? Do I need to schedule an appointment right away? Is it something that can be repaired? Or will I have to replace the whole thing?

When it comes to water heaters, you’ll have the same questions when something goes wrong. The good news is that many water heater issues are often repairable. Here are some pointers on when you need repair and when it’s time to think about replacement. 

It’s Time for Repair When…

  • You hear an odd noise: The most common odd noise to hear from a tank water heater is a rumble. It might sound like the water is boiling in there. Chances are, it’s sediment in the tank that has settled out of the water. This makes a strange sound when water percolates through it, and it can be flushed to wash the sediment out. Any other odd noise also indicates that it’s time for repair.
  • The temperature drops: Water heaters have multiple heating elements. If one of them fails, you’ll still have warm water, just not hot water. When you get water heater repair in Spokane, WA, your plumber can replace the broken element.
  • The hot water runs out too quickly: If it used to last longer, it might be that pesky sediment again, taking up space in the tank that should be holding plenty of hot water.
  • Your water and energy bills increase: While a utility bill that covers other appliances might increase for many reasons, and of course leaky plumbing would account for wasted water, if they both go up, your water heater is likely the culprit.

It’s Time to Consider Replacement When…

  • You see puddles below the water heater: Cracks in metal can close up tight when the metal cools down, so you might not see a crack in your tank that is opening up when it gets hot. But you will see the puddles. Your water heater can’t be patched. A plumber can make sure the leak isn’t coming from a loose connection, but if it’s the tank itself, it needs to be replaced.
  • Your hot water is discolored: A component called the anode rod helps to delay the day when the tank itself begins to rust. Eventually, though, the tank will succumb to corrosion. A plumber can make sure the source of the discoloration isn’t elsewhere in your plumbing and then help you consider your replacement options. 
  • Your water heater is getting old: A well-maintained tank water heater might last 10-12 years. A tankless system might last twenty. Lack of maintenance will shorten those lifespans. If you’ve got problems that need repair, but your water heater is near the end of its life expectancy, replacement may be a better investment.

The Importance of Professional Installation

It’s all too common for plumbers to be called to repair water heaters whose problems began with amateur or DIY installation. Don’t let this happen to you! Proper professional installation will help your water heater run effectively and efficiently and without frequent repairs. In the case of a gas water heater, installation by a licensed plumber is a legal requirement in many jurisdictions to avoid gas line hazards.

ACI Northwest is here to help. Contact us today to discuss water heater repair or replacement.

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