ERM Plumbing & Heating

April 6, 2023

A tank water heater is an essential home appliance responsible for providing hot water for various household needs. The average lifespan of a tank water heater is 8-12 years, but it can last longer with proper maintenance. However, like any other appliance, it can develop issues over time, which may leave you wondering whether you should repair or replace it.

Today, we will discuss the factors to consider when deciding between repairing or replacing your tank water heater:

1. Age of the Water Heater

The first thing to consider is the age of your tank water heater. As mentioned earlier, these appliances typically last 8-12 years. If your water heater is close to or has exceeded this range, it's probably time to start thinking about replacing it. An older water heater is more likely to develop frequent issues and be less energy-efficient, ultimately costing you more money in the long run.

2. Frequency of Repairs

If your water heater requires repairs frequently, it could be a sign that it's nearing the end of its lifespan. In this case, you should weigh the cost of continuous repairs against the cost of a new water heater. If the cost of repairs is adding up, it might be more economical to invest in a new water heater.

3. Energy Efficiency

Older tank water heaters are generally less energy-efficient than newer models. If your energy bills are on the rise, it could be due to an inefficient water heater. Replacing your old water heater with a new, energy-efficient model will not only save you money on energy bills but also reduce your carbon footprint.

4. Leaks

If your tank water heater has a leak, it's crucial to determine the cause and severity of the leak. Minor leaks, such as those resulting from a loose pipe fitting, can be easily repaired. However, if the leak is coming from the tank itself, it could be a sign of internal corrosion. In this case, it's best to replace the water heater, as repairing it would only be a temporary fix.

5. Availability of Parts

As your water heater gets older, it may become more challenging to find replacement parts for repairs. If you're unable to locate the necessary parts or if the cost of the parts is prohibitive, it's time to consider replacing your water heater.

6. Warranty

Before deciding to repair or replace your water heater, check if it's still under warranty. If your water heater is still under warranty, you may be able to get the repairs done at a reduced cost or even for free. However, if the warranty has expired, you'll need to weigh the cost of repairs against the cost of a new water heater.

7. Upgrade Options

When considering whether to repair or replace your tank water heater, it's also essential to explore different upgrade options. Tankless water heaters, for example, are more energy-efficient, save space, and provide hot water on demand. If you're looking to upgrade your water heating system, it might be worth investing in a tankless water heater.


Deciding whether to repair or replace your tank water heater depends on factors such as its age, frequency of repairs, energy efficiency, and the severity of the issues it's experiencing. In general, if your water heater is more than 8-12 years old, requires frequent repairs, or is no longer energy-efficient, it's time to consider replacing it. But of course, always consult with a professional plumber to assess your water heater's condition and help you make the best decision for your home and budget!

ERM Plumbing & Heating offers plumbing and heating services to help people dealing with plumbing and heating problems overcome them quickly, affordably, and effectively. If you are looking for heating repairs and more in Calgary, work with us today.

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