Fix It or Nix It? – Weighing Repairs vs Replacements

noritz_tankless_water_heaterEmergency home repairs are hard enough to deal with, making last minute decisions more difficult and potentially costly in the long run. One of the most frequent questions we get asked is “Is my _______ worth repairing or do I need a new one?” To help answer this question, we’ve compiled a quick list of things you should look out for when weighing the pros and cons of replacing a system component, such as your water heater or sewer line. This advice isn’t only restricted to plumbing either – any home repairs should be thought out with the same careful judgment.

Cost of repairing compared to cost of replacement.

This is usually the first thing on your mind when handling a major home emergency. When all is said it done, repairing isn’t always the cheapest solution. If it’s going to be a temporary fix until the next failure, then maybe it’s time to look at replacing that item. As a general rule of thumb if the cost to repair is at least half the cost of replacing, then replacing is probably the best route. Your decision should also take into consideration the age of the item in question. Is this system component obsolete? If so, making any further investments into maintaining it might be a waste of money.

Relative age of appliance or system component.

There’s more to consider than simply “is this ______ old?” The age of your water heater might not seem like a crucial factor, but when you consider advances in technology related to efficiency and safety, comparing new to old becomes less cut and dry. Newer models take advantage of breakthroughs in machining, manufacturing, and nanotechnology to lower energy bills and increase longevity of appliances. A great example is heat pump technology that uses ambient heat in the air to preheat the water in your water heater for increased efficiency. Another example is tankless water heaters that are designed to be modular, meaning parts are easily replaced instead of replacing the entire unit.

Planned replacements.

According to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), “about 90% of water heater replacements are of an emergency nature.” Water heaters also have a large capacity to cause secondary damage to your home, so it’s important to be mindful of the age and condition of your water heater. The typical life expectancy of a water heater is 10-15 years, so once you’ve crossed that threshold you should begin serious planning for a replacement unit. This goes for any major component of your plumbing or other home system. When planning for replacements, it’s always good to research the latest technology trends and find a more efficient model with an increased lifetime.

If you have questions about the age or condition of your plumbing system, don’t hesitate to call or send us a message to schedule a free in-home evaluation and recommendations for upgrading your plumbing before it becomes a problem.