The cost to replace a hot water heater pales in comparison to living without one.
As a homeowner, one of your concerns might be the cost to replace a hot water heater. They don’t last forever, after all. But can you imagine living without one? No hot water for cleaning, hand washing, dishes, laundry, showers, and baths. Not only would it be incredibly unpleasant, but it also wouldn’t be healthy. Hot water helps kill bacteria and viruses that can spread through dirty hands, dishes, and clothing, to name a few. Water heaters are an integral part of our daily lives, yet we don’t give them much thought – until they stop working.
You know how important a functioning hot water heater is, but what happens if yours stops working? Take a look at everything you need to know, including the cost to replace it if repairing it isn’t a possibility.
How Does a Water Heater Work?
Having hot water when you turn on the tap seems like magic. The reality is a little more complicated. A typical water heater is a large metal cylinder, usually installed in a basement or main-floor closet. It fills with water, and a heating element heats the water.
Here’s how it all comes together:
The metal cylinder contains a liner that holds the water. Tanks typically range from 40 to 60-gallon capacity.
The dip tube:
There is a pipe at the top of the tank called the dip tube. That’s where water enters the tank. The water flows to the bottom where it’s heated.
The shut-off valve:
This valve sits above the tank and stops water from flowing in when the tank is full.
The heat-out pipe:
The hot water flows out of the tank through the heat-out pipe.
The thermostat monitors the temperature as well as controls it.
The heating element or burner:
On an electric water heater, the heating element is inside the tank and works to heat the water. On a gas water heater, there is a burner that works to heat the water.
The drain valve:
A plumber can empty the tank by using the drain valve. Whether it’s to replace the tank, or any of its parts, or to clean the tank, the drain valve allows you to remove the water before working on the water heater.
The pressure relief valve:
This valve ensures the pressure in the water heater doesn’t get too high. If the pressure builds, it can be dangerous. Because water expands as it gets hot, it’s critical to have a functioning valve to release the pressure.
The anode rod:
The anode rod works to prevent corrosion in the tank.
All of these parts work together to make hot water. The thermostat monitors the temperature of the water and directs the heating element to turn on if the water is too cool. The heating element stays on until the water reaches the desired temperature. The hot water rises to the top of the tank, where it exits through the heat-out pipe and travels to the various faucets in your home when you turn on the hot water tap.
What Happens When the Water Heater Fails?
There are some sure signs your water heater could be on its way out:
- Your water is straight-up cold
- It’s warm but never hot
- The hot water runs out quickly
- The water is rust-colored or smells or tastes bad
- The water heater starts making a rumbling noise
- Or there’s water around the base of the water heater
Any of these are signs that your water heater needs attention from a professional plumber. Some problems that cause these issues are repairable, but often the system needs replacing. This is especially true if the water heater is more than 10-12 years old.
The primary causes of these issues can include:
- Internal rust from a worn out or corroded anode rod
- Sediment buildup inside the tank
- Uncontrolled water pressure from a faulty valve
- Heating element failure
- Old age
The Average Cost to Replace a Water Heater
The cost to replace a water heater varies depending on the size of the unit and the potential installation location, such as the basement or a closet. Most water heaters run between $300 and $2,000. Installation costs are separate and are dependent on the plumbing company and what and how they charge for their labor. It can run from $45 to $150 per hour.
What to Look for in a New Water Heater
The unit you choose will determine the cost. While top-of-the-line, super-efficient appliances are fantastic, not every house has the same hot water needs. You should consider how many people live in the house and how much water you use daily. The storage capacity is important, and the more people who live in your home, the bigger the water heater should be.
Also, consider space. If your unit lives in your basement with plenty of space around it, you don’t have any restrictions on the size. If it needs to fit in a small closet, keep that in mind when making your selection.
Energy efficiency is a significant factor when shopping for a water heater. The more energy-efficient the unit, the less you’ll spend on your monthly utility bills. Get the most efficient unit you can afford, but above all else, make sure you keep your budget in mind when shopping for new equipment.
How Morningside Plumbing Can Help
If your water heater goes kerplunk, you can’t go long before repairing or replacing it. The team at Morningside Plumbing has got you covered. Our master plumbers can assess your needs and recommend the right unit for your home, family, and budget. We’ll remove your old, worn-out tank and replace it with one that will work effectively and efficiently for years to come. Our professional installation will have you back in hot water before you know it.
Instead of going without hot water or living with a water heater that isn’t functioning like it should, contact the team at Morningside Plumbing today. We’ll go over the whole process as well as the cost to replace the hot water heater in your home. Call us at 404-984-2090 and talk to one of our friendly, experienced staff members to get started on the road to hot water whenever you need it.