LESLIE: Chuck in Tennessee is next and you’re thinking about replacing a gas water heater but you’re just not sure. So, hopefully, we can help you figure it out. What’s on your mind?
CHUCK: Our house was approximately 15 years old when we bought it. And the owner said that the water heater – gas water heater – is the original and the only thing they’ve ever done is replace the thermal (ph) coupling and we were told that, you know, that’s all you really ever have to do to a gas water heater. And it works fine and everything but I just wondered, energy wise, is it advantageous to replace that water heater?
TOM: How old did you say it was, Chuck?
CHUCK: About – let’s see, ’87. So that’s what …?
LESLIE: Almost 20 years.
CHUCK: … nineteen years old.
TOM: Yeah. I would say, Chuck, with a water heater that’s almost 20 years old, it’s at least five years past a normal life expectancy. A gas water heater’s going to last you 10 to 15 years and then it’s typically going to leak. Now yours is beyond that. I have seen them last, you know, 15 to 20 years. But in this particular case, I wouldn’t chance it. It’s not an expensive thing to replace. For a few hundred dollars you can get a new one. Are they more efficient? Some are; some aren’t. Now if you switched to a tankless water heater, you’ll pick up some additional efficiency substantially but it’ll be more expensive to install. But I think if your water heater’s near 20 years old, you’re kind of living on borrowed time – if you know what I mean – with this thing, Chuck. So I think you ought to replace it.
Chuck, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.