There is not much worse than stepping into an ice-cold shower first thing in the morning, and though it will probably wake you up, making an emergency call to your plumber is no way to start a day. The big challenge is determining whether your water heater needs to be replaced entirely, or if it can be repaired. There are three factors you can evaluate to help you determine if you need water heater repair or a replacement. Those factors are age, condition, and your budget.


The average lifespan for a water heater is 10-12 years, and how well said water heater has been maintained will have a big impact on its life-expectancy. Some simple routine maintenance like flushing the tank yearly, and periodic replacing on the anode rod inside of it will extend its life. Water heaters are pretty simple machines, with few parts, so any necessary repairs will likely be limited to the pressure relief valve, thermostat, heating element, or burner.


A leaking or ruptured water heater tank is usually not repairable, and will require a replacement. If your water heater has burst due to a faulty pressure relief valve, then there is little likelihood of it being repaired. The anode rod inside the water heater is prone to corrosion which weakens it. Regular replacement of these rodas can prevent a lot of common water heater issues.

We recommend testing the pressure relief valve occasionally. The best way to do this is to lift the valve up, then letting it snap back down. You should be able to see or hear water draining if the valve is working properly. If you do not hear or see water, turn the water heater off completely and contact a Clarke & Rush Plumber right away.


Repairing a water heater will almost always be less expensive than installing a new one. If your budget allows, however, most homeowners opt to save money and energy over time by installing a new, energy-efficient water heater. Installing a tankless water heater may lower your utility bills even more.

To learn more about whether you can opt for water heater repair instead of replacement, contact Clarke & Rush. We’ve proudly provided plumbing services for the Sacramento area for over 5 decades.