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As someone with a hectic life, you probably give very little thought to your home’s water heater until something goes wrong, like when you took an ice-cold shower this morning or found a pool of water around your water heater the other night. If your hot water heater is acting up, you may be faced with the decision of whether to repair or replace the unit.

This is a challenging call to make since your money is on the line. You don’t want to have to invest in a new heater if the one you have simply needs parts fixed, but you also don’t want to keep throwing money at a lost cause. So, what do you do?

Below, we explain when repairs can fix the issues you are experiencing and when replacement is your only option.

When Water Heater Repairs Are Possible

Water heaters have few moving parts, meaning if there’s a problem heating your home’s water, it likely means one of its parts needs to be fixed or replaced. If the unit is less than ten years old, it will make sense to have the system repaired.

Getting the temperature of the water warm enough is one of the most common water heater problems. To fix this problem, you may need to replace the heating element or thermostat, insulate the hot water pipes, or raise the temperature setting on the thermostat.

You can also have these water heater issues repaired:

  • A leaking pressure relief valve
  • A hissing or sizzling hot water tank
  • A leaking water supply pipe

When Water Heater Replacement Is Your Only Option

Several factors go into the decision of whether it’s time to replace the water heater or not:


One of the most significant factors in determining if you need to repair or replace your water heater is the age of the unit. Gas water heaters last an average of 10 years, while tankless water heaters last around 20 years. If your water heater is near the end of its life when it has another issue, it will make more sense to replace the unit than to spend money on repair costs.

Frequency of Repair

If you’ve had your water heater repaired several times over the past few years, it’s probably time to have the system repaired rather than replaced. Frequent repairs could be an indication that another issue is right around the corner.


Over time, the minerals in the water react with the steel of the water heater storage tank. This causes corrosion of the tank, which leads to leaks. If the storage tank of your water heater is leaking, then replacement is your best option because repairs can be very costly.

Repair vs. Replace: That Is the Question

It’s challenging knowing if you should repair or replace the hot water heater. Your money is tied up in whatever decision you make, and you want to be sure your investment is a good one. 

If your water heater needs to be replaced, this may be a great time to consider upgrading to an on-demand or tankless water heater to save you money in the long run because of its energy saving capabilities. Northern Services can help you find the best option that fits you and your home or business.  

Hopefully, our breakdown of the different scenarios of when you should repair versus replace your water heater help you make a definitive decision. If you’re still unsure, you can reach out to our team of experts. We have years of experience working on water heater repair and replacements, so we can assist you in determining the ideal option for your situation.

Contact us today about our water heater services, drain cleaning services, or any one of our other offerings.