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When It’s Time for a Water Heater Replacement

water heater replacementA water heater is one of the unsung heroes of home comfort, providing the everyday means for you to shower, bathe, as well as clean both your dishes, and clothes. Yet you probably don’t think much about your water heater – until you’re shocked by a cold shower or flooded basement.

If you have come face-to-face with one of those harsh realities recently and find yourself looking for a new water heater, it could be a blessing in disguise, especially if your water heater is into its second decade of use: a new, modern day water heater model can be up to 20 percent more efficient than an older model, which translates to hundreds of dollars in energy savings over the lifespan of the equipment. If your water heater is only a few years old, however, repairing it could make more sense.

If you’re not sure which way to go, there are some factors to consider…but first, here’s a little bit of background about how water heaters work.

Water heater 101

A conventional water heater is a simple machine that contains a heating element (for electric water heaters and heat pump water heaters) or a burner (for gas/propane models), along with a volume of water stored in a tank.

Because water heaters are so streamlined, only a few things can go wrong with them, including:

  • A failed pilot light (gas or propane only)
  • A tripped circuit breaker (all types)
  • A malfunctioning heating element, burner, or thermostat (all types)
  • A stuck valve (propane or gas only)

Repairing any of these problems is typically not expensive when done by a qualified heating professional. However, if the problem turns out to be a leak – or if the water heater is more than 10 years old – you’re probably looking at a replacement.

Water heater replacement considerations

When it comes time to replace your water heater, you will have several choices to make. Here are five of the biggest ones:

  • Water heater type – Families of water heaters include conventional water heaters, tankless water heaters (which heat water instantly on demand), and tankless coil or indirect water heaters (systems that use your home’s heating system to warm water).
  • Fuel type – The fuel you use to heat your water will affect how much it costs – sometimes dramatically.
  • Size – Right-sizing a water heater can get tricky without some professional guidance – (hey, we can help with that!).
  • Energy efficiency – Similar models can be available with different efficiency ratings (higher efficiency = more expensive, all other things being equal), so be sure you’re comparing apples to apples when shopping!
  • Total cost – It’s smart to compare not just the cost to purchase a new water heater, but to calculate the total cost of ownership for each option, which includes fuel costs, life expectancy of the unit, and more. An on-demand propane water heater can cost twice as much up front as an electric water heater, for example, but it will also last twice as long, be subject to fewer repairs, and improve efficiency by 20-30% percent year-after-year.

As you can see, you will have some big decisions to make if your water heater needs to be replaced. Let the pros at Frank Lamparelli help you make them!

In the market for a new water heater in our Boston-metro service area? We can help. Contact us today for a FREE, no obligation estimate on a water heater upgrade for your Massachusetts home.