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Should I Repair or Replace My Water Heater? A Minneapolis-St. Paul Tech Answers

To repair or replace your water heater: that is the question.

Not to worry—we’ll help you figure out what you should do.

First, you can use clues from the unit itself to determine whether you need to replace it completely or not.

For example, you should replace your water heater if it’s:

  • Over 10 years old
  • Leaking from the tank
  • Delivering rust-colored hot water
  • Needing frequent repairs

(Learn more about each of those points in our article, "When Should I Replace My Water Heater?")

However, there’s another very important factor to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace your water heater: the warranty.

In this article we’ll explain:

  • How the warranty helps in your repair or replace decision
  • How to determine whether you have a valid labor or manufacturer warranty

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How the warranty helps in the repair or replace decision

If your water heater repair is covered under warranty, then you’ll most likely want to repair it (vs complete replacement).

You see, your water heater warranty may cover:

  1. The cost of the replacement part
  2. The labor to replace the broken part
  3. ...Or both

Let’s look at the difference between parts and labor warranties:

  • Labor warranties are offered by plumbers as a guarantee on their work. After a water heater is first installed, a plumber will usually offer a warranty on certain repairs within a 1 or 2 years from the date they first installed your water heater.


Most plumbers will also offer a labor warranty on their repair work. Let’s say you had a part break down, then a plumber fixed it. But the same part broke down 6 months later. Typically, plumbers will offer a 1–2-year guarantee on their repair work, so they’ll likely cover the cost to repair the part again.


  • Parts warranties are offered by the manufacturer, who will cover important water heater parts that are broken or malfunctioning within a certain time frame (usually 5 to 10 years from the date the water heater was first installed).


What a typical manufacturer water heater warranty covers

A typical water heater warranty can cover important parts like:

  • The tank (if it’s leaking)
  • Broken thermostats
  • Faulty heating elements
  • Malfunctioning gas control valves

Note: A manufacturer warranty doesn’t cover these parts if they break due to neglect or normal wear and tear—only if they break down prematurely due to a manufacturer error.

Examples of things NOT covered by water heater manufacturers include:

  • Issues related to improper sizing or overuse
  • Water odors or tastes
  • Noise because of sediment buildup
  • Problems caused by improper installation
  • Anode rod consumption
  • Damage caused by weather or negligence

To know what’s covered by your manufacturer, you’ll need to check your warranty. We’ll show you how...


How to determine whether you have a valid labor or manufacturer warranty

To check if a part is covered by the manufacturer, follow these steps:

  1. Find the model number for your water heater (it should be on the tank or outer case).
  2. Search for the model number on the manufacturer's website and look for the corresponding warranty. The warranty will list what parts are covered for your particular model and if any exclusions apply.
  3. If you can’t find the warranty on the website, try calling the manufacturer or the plumber who installed your water heater for more information.

Note: Most water heater manufacturers require homeowners to follow specific guidelines in order for the water heater warranty to be valid. These guidelines include:

  • Registering your water heater with the manufacturer within 90 days after it was first installed
  • Using only authorized replacement parts when you need a repair
  • Getting regular water heater maintenance from a certified plumber

If you don’t meet the manufacturer’s guidelines, then your parts warranty may be considered invalid by the manufacturer.   

To check if a repair is covered under your labor warranty, contact the plumber who installed/last repaired your water heater. They’ll have the record of your water heater installation and labor warranty info.


Whether you need a water heater repair or replacement—we’ve got you covered


Schedule an appointment today

We hope this article pointed you in the right direction. But if you still have questions, or you need a water heater repair or replacement, just give us a call.

Learn more about our water heater services and see a list of cities we serve in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.


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