The prospect of repairing a hot water heater can be a bit daunting.
How much will it cost? How long will it take?
It can be tempting to ignore minor problems, but it’s actually cost-effective to resolve those as promptly as possible. The longer a problem is ignored, the more expensive it will likely become as the system gets worse or stops working altogether.
So how much will water heater repair cost? The exact amount varies depending on the issues you’re facing, the time it takes to repair, and even the technician you hire.
Common Water Heater Repair Issues
Perhaps the largest factor in determining how much repairs will cost is the issue at hand. Some water heater problems cost more than others.
Here are some of the most common issues homeowners face with their water heaters:
Dip Tube – $10 to $150
The dip tube carries cold water to the bottom of the tank for heating. If the dip tube is corroded, blocked, or leaking, water heating won’t occur as efficiently.
On average, a new dip tube costs about $10, and it can run up to $150 to have it repaired professionally.
Pressure Relief Valve – $20 to $200
The pressure relief valve makes sure your water tank pressure remains at safe levels. If pressure builds up too much, this valve opens to relieve some of that pressure.
If you notice that the valve is consistently leaking, it may mean that the tank’s pressure is too high, or you might simply have a faulty/clogged valve.
The cost of a new pressure relief valve is about $20, and repairs may total to $200.
Anode Rod – $20 to $50
The function of the anode rod in your water tank is to prevent corrosion. It does this by taking on corrosion first—as long as the anode rod is corroding, your water tank and heating element won’t.
Once the rod is rusted out, other parts of your water heater will start to corrode.
It’s recommended that you repair your anode rod once every five years or so, a task that will typically net you $20 to $50.
Common Electric Water Heater Repair Issues
In addition to these common problems, electric heaters will have their specific issues apart from other types of systems.
These may include:
Electric Thermostat – $150 to $200
The thermostat regulates the temperature in your water heater. If there is more heat needed, it will turn on the heating elements. Once water is warm enough, the elements are turned off.
If you notice issues where you don’t get much warm water, it may be a thermostat issue.
The individual part typically costs about $20, but it’s recommended that you get professional repairs, which could amount up to $200.
Heating Element – $200 to $300
Electric heaters use a conductive metal element to heat the water. Therefore, if the element is corroded or stops functioning, you don’t get hot water.
Professional repairs for a heating element can cost up to $300.
Common Gas Water Heater Repair Issues
The differences between gas and electric heaters mean that gas units will have different issues that potentially arise.
These problems include:
Thermocouple – $20 to $150
If the pilot light in your gas water heater has gone out, the problem is frequently a bad thermocouple.
The thermocouple is an apparatus that senses whether the pilot light is lit and triggers the gas control valve.
Repairs typically cost about $150 to have it done professionally, though a new thermocouple itself only costs about $20 on average.
Gas Control Valve – $300 to $500
Another issue that may occur is a bad gas control valve.
If neither the thermocouple nor the pilot light is malfunctioning, this is frequently the root cause, and having it professionally repaired could set you back as much as $500.
It’s important to get this replaced, as expensive as the cost to replace may be—without it, the unit won’t be safe to operate since gas flow isn’t properly controlled.
Common Tankless Water Heater Repair Issues
Tankless water heaters are a relatively new technology that helps save you on water heating costs. Since they function quite differently from conventional water heaters, they will have their own unique issues.
Professional repairs are typically required, and those often run somewhere between $150 to over $800, though the average tends to hover around $600.
Tankless water heaters require periodic flushing to keep mineral and sediment from building up inside the unit. Cleaning this buildup out will allow the unit to run more efficiently, so it’s recommended that you get your water heater tank flushed about once per year.
The average cost for flushing and cleaning can reach up to $200.
Other Costs to Consider With Water Heater Repair
Of course, other factors could impact the cost of repairs.
Most plumbers and technicians will charge an hourly rate for their services, and these tend to range from $50 to $150 per hour.
Also, if your system is still under warranty, then your costs will likely be far lower for hot water heater repairs than if it’s an older unit.