How much does it cost to repair a water heater?

Knowing the cost before getting an estimate can equal big savings

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Water heaters are a necessity, and unexpected breakdowns can be a hassle. They typically have a life span of 12 to 20 years, so if your unit is reaching this age, it might be time for repairs or even a replacement.

On average, repairing a water heater costs around $600, but it can cost anywhere between $90 and $1,725. Here are some tips on how to save money on water heater repairs and replacements.


Key insights

On average, it costs $600 to repair a water heater.

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You can expect to pay $45 to $150 an hour for labor.

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You may be able to DIY your water heater repair.

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Water heater repair costs

Depending on the repairs needed, you can expect to pay $45 to $150 an hour for labor and $15 to $400 in parts. However, some damages, such as leaks, may require a replacement. For example, if water is in your water heater pan, your tank probably has a hole from rust or corrosion, and you'll have to get a new system. Replacements typically cost around $880 to $1,800.

Here are the average costs for common repairs:

Water heater repair costs by type

There are two major types of water heaters: electric and gas. However, there are also sump pump, heat pump and waterless units. Each one has its own price range for parts and repairs. Gas water heaters typically need more frequent repairs and can cost more than electric heaters. However, gas units are usually more cost-effective and less expensive to run than electric water heaters.

Additionally, electric units require a few unique repairs, including tripped breakers, bad thermostats and faulty heater elements. Tripped breakers can be fixed easily by resetting your system, but bad thermostats can cost $20 to $200 to repair, and faulty heater elements cost around $200 to $300.

Here are the average costs of repairs for gas water heaters:

Additional water heater costs

During water heater repairs, you may encounter a few extra fees. Some units might need a new gas line, which costs anywhere from $260 to $820, a water line, which costs $400 to $2,000 or additional wiring, which costs $500 to $1,000.

Additionally, water heaters need regular preventive maintenance and tuneups yearly to extend their life span. A plumber typically costs between $100 and $500 to tune up, flush, inspect and test different components in your unit. However, if you want to save some money, you can do the maintenance and tuneups yourself. Tuneup kits usually cost around $30 and are pretty simple to use.

Can you DIY a water heater repair or replacement?

If you're looking for a cheaper option, you could potentially repair your water heater yourself. Most repairs only take an hour or two and are relatively simple. Typically, repairs cost under $100, and you'll only need a few tools.

However, if you are replacing your water heater, calling a professional might be worth it. Replacing a water heater is an advanced job that requires experience. Simple mistakes can lead to gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning and fires, so it's best to call a trained plumber.

Here are some do-it-yourself replacement costs for common repairs:

When should a water heater be replaced?

Before your water heater breaks down completely, there will be some signs that it needs repairs or replacement.  If your unit is making your energy bill higher than normal, leaking, making strange noises, running out of hot water or producing metallic-tasting or discolored water, it might be time for a replacement.

Additionally, most units last for around 12 years, but some high-efficiency models can last up to 20 years. So, if your water heater is reaching this age, it might be time for a new one.

Does your home warranty cover water heater repair or replacement?

Many home warranties cover various systems and appliances for normal wear and tear, including water heaters. This coverage is usually provided in the company’s system plan but is sometimes only offered in the highest-tier plan. You can sometimes add water heaters to your home warranty plan as an add-on.

Here are some water heater repairs covered by a home warranty:

  • Gas valves
  • Main burners
  • Electrical heating elements
  • Vent dampers
  • Manifolds
  • Relief valves
  • Limit controls
  • Pilot burners
  • Flame spreaders
  • Thermocouples
  • Regulators
  • Thermostats
  • Anode rods
  • Thermal expansion tanks
  • Fuel storage tanks
  • Flues
  • Piping insulation 
  • Heat recovery units

Quick and easy. Find a home warranty partner now.

    FAQ

    How long does a water heater last?

    Water heaters typically last around 12 years, but higher-efficiency models can last closer to 20 years.

    Do I need to have my water heater serviced regularly?

    Yes, water heaters should have preventive maintenance such as tuneups, burner cleanings and a complete tank drain, and they should be flushed every one to two years to ensure your unit is running properly.

    Does a water heater have a warranty?

    Water heaters usually come with a six-year manufacturer warranty, but certain units are covered for up to 12 years. Some companies even allow you to extend your coverage for an additional fee.

    Bottom line

    Repairing your water heater yourself can be a relatively simple job and save you hundreds of dollars in labor fees. However, if you are completely replacing your unit or you decide to call a plumber, you can expect to pay $45 to $150 per hour for labor. If you want to save some extra time and money, double-check to see if your home warranty plan covers repairs and replacements on water heaters.


    Article sources
    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
    1. Angi, “How Does a Water Heater Warranty Work?” Accessed May 8, 2024.
    2. Angi, “How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Hot Water Heater?” Accessed May 8, 2024.
    3. Angi, “How Much Does Water Heater Replacement and Installation Cost?” Accessed May 8, 2024.
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