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What Is The Average Hot Water Heater Repair Cost?

Most homeowners spend between $244 to $576 nationally.
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Most homeowners don't give their hot water heater a second thought until something goes wrong. Whether the unit has started to leak or has stopped heating, a quick repair is essential for your comfort and well-being. Before finding the right plumber, you should know everything that goes into the cost of repairing a hot water heater.

If you are in dire need of a repair, make sure you get in touch with your local plumbing contractors.

National Repair a Water Heater Costs

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Median Cost


Minimum Cost


Maximum Cost
Average Range:


National Average Cost $483
Minimum Cost $52
Maximum Cost $1,200
Average Range $244 to $576
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How do we get this data? This info is based on 8455 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.

Table Of Contents

  1. Average Cost To Repair A Water Heater
  2. Average Cost To Replace A Water Heater
  3. Tank vs. Tankless Cost Breakdown
  4. Gas vs. Electric Cost Breakdown
  5. Additional Costs
  6. Popular Brands & Pricing
  7. Will Replacing My Water Heater Lower My Bills?
  8. Common Water Heater Problems
  9. Water Heater Repair Considerations
  10. DIY Or Hire A Plumber?
  11. Find A Plumber

How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Water Heater

Average Cost To Repair A Water Heater

The average cost to repair a broken water heater is $483. Most homeowners pay between $244 and $576 to have their broken hot water heaters fixed. The final cost of having a water heater repaired will depend on the age of your water heater, the type of water heater, the scope of the problem and whether additional repairs to the natural gas supply, plumbing or electrical systems are needed. Water heater repairs should only be done by an experienced, trained and licensed professional.

Average Cost To Replace A Water Heater

The average water heater has a lifespan of 12 years. If you run into the decision of whether to repair or replace your water heater, a good guideline to follow is to never spend more than half the cost of replacing a water heater on the repair. The average cost to replace a water heater is $850, with most homeowners spending between $780 and $965.

So, if your water heater breaks down and the cost to repair your water heater is $425 and your water heater is older than seven years, you should think about replacing your broken water heater. This has a more expensive initial cost, but over time, you will save more on your energy bills.

Average Cost To Repair A Water Heater  

Tank Vs. Tankless Cost Breakdown

Water heaters come in two different styles: tank and tankless water heaters. Both of these options will heat your water, but they do it in different ways. A tank water heater stores a certain amount of water, usually around 40 to 50 gallons, and heats the water to a temperature you set. A tankless water heater doesn’t store water and heats it only when you need it.

  • The average cost to install a tank water heater is $889.
  • The average cost to install a tankless water heater is $3,000.

Tank Water Heaters

  • Cost is about half of a tankless water heater
  • Installation time is quicker than tankless
  • System is always on, heating water even when you don’t need it
  • Lifespan is around 12 years

Tank Water Heater

Tankless Water Heaters

  • Can save you about 25% on your water heating costs annually
  • Costs twice as much as tank water heaters
  • Installation is expensive and often requires upgrades in other areas of your home
  • Long installation time, around 10 hours
  • Lifespan is around 20 years

Tankless Water Heater

Gas Vs. Electric Cost Breakdown

Water heaters will either be gas-fired or electrically-fired. These will heat your water in different ways, either with electrical coils or natural gas. If you opt for gas water heaters, they are less energy efficient than electric options, but the overall cost of electricity makes the gas-fired water heater less expensive.

Gas Water Heaters

  • Lifespan is around 12 years
  • 60-70% energy efficiency
  • Cost over 12-year span $4,979
  • Price of unit $250.00 to $1,500

Electric Water Heaters

  • Lifespan is around 12 years
  • 90% energy efficiency
  • Cost over 12-year span is $6,248
  • Price of unit $300.00 to $2,880

Additional Costs

If you decide to replace your water heater, there are some considerations to account for. Even if you are replacing your water heater with a conventional one, the installation process is not as simple as it might seem.

Many building codes will require you to upgrade the other systems connected with your water heater. This includes the water heater mount, venting system, supply pipes and the drain pan that is underneath your water heater. Ask your plumber about these additional upgrades to make sure there are no surprises come installation time.

Additional Costs

Popular Brands & Pricing

The most popular brands of water heaters are reliable, affordable, have good value and are always available. That’s what makes them so popular. Some brands are only sold by plumbing wholesalers or through contractors. Others can be purchased at your local hardware store or home improvement store. All costs are for the unit only, this does not include installation, transportation or additional costs.

Will Replacing My Water Heater Lower My Bills

With modern advancements, today’s more advanced water heaters heat your water better and faster. They also save you more on your monthly energy bills. Today’s water heaters are injected with foam insulation between the tank and the outer shell to increase the heat retention. Along with the insulated foam, water heaters are now made with a glass liner inside to prevent corrosion from the minerals in the water.

Replacing your water heater may seem expensive for the initial cost, but over time, it can prove to be worth it. Homeowners have experienced up to a 20% decrease in their energy bills with a new water heater.

Common Water Heater Problems

In water heater tanks, one of the most common problems is corrosion. Hard water can cause corrosion of the tank from the inside out, resulting in leaks. Minerals can also damage the heating element. Other common problems include thermostat issues, dirty pilot light sensors, a broken thermocoupler or electrical wiring problems. Tankless water heaters may experience problems with sensors, fuel supply or the thermostat.

Common Water Heater Problems

Water Heater Repair Considerations

An average water heater tank lasts for eight to 12 years. If your water heater is old and breaks down, you may be better off replacing it, as the average repair costs more than half the average cost of replacement. If a costly part has broken, replacement may be a wise decision, as more parts could soon fail. When water heater tanks begin to leak, a repair usually isn't an option.

A new water heater is likely to be more energy efficient than your older heater, so a replacement could yield savings on monthly energy bills. Some homeowners find that local building codes have changed and that after their water heater is repaired, upgrades to the venting system, drain pan and other components are needed. This can add to the your water heater cost.

DIY Or Hire A Plumber

Your water heater seems like a simple enough appliance, but in reality, it can be a dangerous appliance to work with. There are simple DIY general maintenance projects like relighting the pilot light or replacing a thermocouple that can be tackled by any homeowner.

However, there are other, more complex maintenance projects that require the skill and expertise of a contractor. Projects like a leaking tank will require a contractor to either fix it or replace it all together.

Find A Plumber

There is nothing worse than waking up and hopping into a cold shower. To avoid this, remember to take care of your water heater and perform regular maintenance.

If you think your water heater needs repairs or needs to be replaced, let ImproveNet help! Connect with a local plumber today.

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