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The real cost of keeping your old water heater

Maintaining an old-fashioned water heater comes with a slew of expensive costs. Water heaters in older homes are prone to breaking down and need constant repairs. Even large tank heaters in modern houses cost homeowners more money in monthly energy bills. Read on for a closer look at the real cost of keeping an old water heater.

Even when an old-style water heater appears to be in working order, it still requires lots of yearly maintenance to keep it that way. Allstate insurance recommended that homeowners perform this complicated procedure once a year to prevent fewer repair costs down the line. In fact, the insurance company suggested completely draining your tank every eight months if there are three or four people living in your home. If the tank relies on natural gas as a source of energy, you also need to clean out the burner and ports. Failure to perform this regular maintenance could lead to mineral build up and the eventual failure of the whole unit.

Old-fashioned water heaters can easily drain your wallet.Old-fashioned water heaters can easily drain your wallet.

If a tank water heater does experience problems, it can be costly to fix them. Average rates for repairs on mid-sized heaters are around $160. And there's not much guarantee that the repairs will last, especially if the tank isn't maintained properly. Getting rid of all the built-up sediment in a tank is very important, because, as we've discussed before, that sediment could be dangerous to your health and your utility bills.

"On average, a new tank costs around $1,000"

The final part of any old-fashioned water heater's life is when it goes bust. When that happens, the smart thing to do is forget about huge tanks and instead go for an electric tankless water heater, which doesn't have any of the problems discussed in this article. Replacing one big tank with another is costly. On average a new tank costs around $1,000 with prices going all the way up to $3,000. The hassle of moving all these bulky tanks around is another headache to consider – they aren't very easy to get up and down a flight of stairs.

Old-fashioned heaters are also just plain inefficient. Previous articles have discussed the ineffectiveness of natural gas heaters and the myriad other ways in which a tank can loose energy. The short version of this story is that tanks can really tank your utility bills. If your old heater fails this winter, will you get another one and face all these costs? Or will you ditch the tank for something better? By now, the choice should be obvious.

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