November 8, 2022
By Mark Paup

Should I Replace or Repair My Water Heater In Iowa?

Updated January 17, 2024

Water heaters provide a year-round supply of hot water and comfort, so it’s important to have a functional system. Are you having issues with your water heater and want to know if it’s worth repairing or if you should go ahead and replace it?

A tank water heater repair in Iowa can cost anywhere from $400 to $5,000+. Meanwhile, the average cost for a replacement is anywhere from $1,700 to $4,000+. If you have a tankless water heater, service ranges from $5,000 to $12,000+.

Looking at replacement costs can give you pause. However, it can be more cost-effective long-term, especially if you’re shelling out for frequent repairs.

Only after an in-person inspection from a qualified plumber can you truly gauge the best course of action. However, you can get a ballpark idea by reviewing the following factors:

  • The age of your water heater
  • The repair your water heater needs
  • The warranties you have

We’ll examine each of these factors in detail below. That way, you have all the information you need to decide on the more budget-friendly option.

Is your water heater on the fritz? Contact a professional plumber to examine it!

Trust the trained plumbers at Golden Rule to keep your water heater working at its best. We’ve been serving Des Moines Metro homeowners for over 20 years, and we look forward to serving your tankless or tank water heater with repairs or replacements.

Call us at 515-393-4526 or schedule online for 5-star service today!

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The Age of Your Water Heater

The older your tank or tankless water heater is, the more likely you will pay for a replacement.

Most water heaters last 10 to 15 years. As your system ages past 8-10 years old, its parts start to wear out, and repairing it may only buy you another 1-2 years of operation before you need a new one.

When crunching the numbers, you might question why you should invest another $150-$500 in a system when you need to replace it soon. This is especially true with older systems, as they may have parts that are no longer in production or are challenging to find. Moreover, repair costs can rise due to the short supply and labor needed to locate parts.

On the other hand, it’s worth paying for a repair if you have a relatively new system in generally good condition, as a few hundred dollars of investment can keep your water heater working for five or more years.

The Repair Your Water Heater Needs

The type of water heater repair will greatly impact whether to choose a repair or replacement. Here’s a good rule of thumb: water heaters are worth repairing if repair costs are less than 50% of a potential replacement. Beyond that, a replacement will save you more money in the long run due to ongoing energy costs, as water heating accounts for a large chunk of your annual utility bills.

Water heater repairs range from relatively simple to extensive. Certain water heater parts can cost as much as a full replacement. However, most minor repairs should quickly get your system back in working order. A professional plumber will diagnose your water heater’s problems and provide a quote based on the parts that need repair.

For example, replacing a pressure relief valve or broken pilot light on a tank water heater will be more affordable than repairing a leaking tank, as a leaky tank repair typically exceeds the 50% rule.

Meanwhile, common repairs for tankless water heaters vary in pricing like below:
  • $ Water heater flush: A tankless water heater flush removes any mineral buildup that can create clogs or overheat.
  • $$ Repair or replace broken burners or heating elements: In tankless water heaters, faulty burners or heating elements can lead to improper heating.
  • $$$ Repair or replace broken circuit boards: The tankless water heater’s circuit board may need replacing if you have lukewarm water.

The Warranties You Have

A valid labor and/or parts warranty can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket repair costs.

Typically, the plumber who installs your water heater will provide a labor warranty lasting up to 1-5 years to cover the labor cost for any problems caused by a poor installation.

The water heater will also usually come with a parts warranty from the manufacturer that lasts 5-10 years, depending on the brand. This parts warranty will cover repairing or replacing damaged parts due to manufacturing defects. If you have a tank water heater, most residential water heaters will have a parts warranty that specifically covers a defective tank if it cracks or leaks during the warranty period.

It’s important to keep in mind that the parts warranty only stays valid if you’ve met the following conditions:
  • Registering your water heater within 6 months of installation
  • Maintaining your water heater annually with a licensed plumber
  • Repairing or replacing parts only with on-brand parts

You can check if your warranties are valid by contacting your installer or the water heater manufacturer. Or you can look up the system’s model number on the manufacturer’s website. Any plumbers you hire can also help you check your warranty statuses. If you’re outside of one or both warranties, consider the previous factors: the age of your system and the suggested repair prices.

Get Water Heater Recommendations from Golden Rule!

Golden Rule has served Des Moines Metro homeowners for over 20 years. We have some of the fastest response times in the area, and we stock our trucks with the latest tank and tankless water heater systems for speedy service. Whether you need a tankless and tank water heater repair or replacement, our professional plumbers receive thorough in-house training to fulfill your every request.

Call us today at 515-393-4526 to see why we have over five thousand 5-star reviews!

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