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Is Water Heater Repair Always Expensive?

Is Water Heater Repair Always Expensive?

Water heater repairs aren’t always as expensive as you may think. According to 2023 data, the average repair bill is $600, while most jobs cost between about $90 and $1,700.¹ However, many water heater repairs are on the low end of this scale. 

Plumbers charge from $45 to $150 per hour.² Minus the costs of labor, many smaller water heater parts are inexpensive. We’ll look at some of the less expensive water heater repair jobs to show that your next service call may not break your budget.

Examples of Affordable Water Heater Repairs

A leak is one of the most common reasons people call about their water heater. It almost always requires replacing the unit. Other issues, like a lack of hot water, reduced water quality, or noise, have various causes that don’t necessarily require expensive solutions. 

The less expensive repairs for water heaters include:

  • Replacing a Heating Element ($200 to $300): An electric water heater has a heating element at the top and bottom. The element may cost as little as $20. But it does take a technician time to replace it.²
  • Replacing a Dip Tube ($150): A dip tube prevents hot and cold water from mixing. It can be purchased for as little as $10. But for a professional to replace a broken or corroded part in a gas or electric water heater, you’ll probably spend around $150.¹
  • Replacing the Anode Rod ($20 to $50 per part): The anode rod attracts corrosive materials to protect the water heater tank. It should be replaced every five years, which isn’t a DIY task. It must be done carefully, and a professional will charge $50 to $150 per hour for this.¹
  • Replacing the Pressure Relief Valve ($200): The pressure relief valve is a $20 part, so replacing it yourself can save you—if you have the right experience. However, it requires shutting off the gas, turning off the water heater, and waiting for the water to cool, not to mention delicate work.¹
  • Replacing the Thermostat ($150 to $200): Most thermostats aren’t expensive. You may pay as little as $20 for the part; the rest is for labor.3 For a gas water heater, the valve unit must be replaced with the thermostat; this costs about $80.¹
  • Replacing the Thermocouple ($150): A thermocouple in a gas-powered water heater senses whether the pilot light is lit and signals the gas control valve to open. It’s a vital component but doesn’t usually cost more than $150 (with labor) to replace.³
  • Replacing an Igniter: If your water heater uses an igniter, the piece can cost between $75 and $350 to replace. A faulty or worn-out part won’t ignite the gas and will prevent water from heating.³
  • Replacing the Expansion Tank ($100 to $400): Water expands when heated, so this tank holds excess fluid to relieve pressure. It can cost up to $400 to replace, factoring parts and labor. Expect to replace the expansion tank once during your water heater’s lifetime.³
  • Replacing the Flue Vent Pipe ($100 to $350): A PVC flue pipe costs up to $350 to replace, depending on the pipe’s material, length, and accessibility. The pipe is an essential component that directs exhaust gases from the appliance to outside your home.¹
  • Replacing the Timer ($100 to $350): If your water heater has a timer, it allows you to control when the unit heats water and when it turns off. It’s also an inexpensive part, but expect to pay for labor.¹
  • Cleaning/Flushing the Tank ($200): Loud noises from a water heater are often caused by sediment in the tank. If not drained, it can cause expensive damage. We recommend flushing your water heater professionally at least once a year.

Call Waldrop for Water Heater Repair

Water heater repair isn’t always expensive. At Waldrop Plumbing – Heating – Air, we fix and install all types of water heaters, including conventional storage tanks, tankless, heat pump, solar-powered, and condensing water heaters. To schedule water heater services in Upstate South Carolina, contact us online or call (864) 536-0887 today.


  1. https://www.angi.com/articles/how-much-does-it-cost-repair-water-heater.htm 
  2. https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/plumbing/repair-a-water-heater/ 
  3. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/water-heater-repair-cost/
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