How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Hot Water Heater?

Normal range: $220 - $962

The national average hot water heater repair cost is $591, with most repairs ranging between $220 and $962.

How we get this data
Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated November 2, 2022
Steamy shower
Photo: Sonja Kury / EyeEm / Getty Images

Some homeowners have paid as little as $220 or upwards of $962 to get their hot water running again. The best part of waking up is certainly not an icy blast of water when all you wanted was a hot shower. A water heater is an essential appliance that often gets taken for granted, but repairs can be pretty urgent when it acts up (or quits altogether). Your hot water heater repair cost will vary based on the type of unit you have and which parts need fixing.

See the price range to fix water heater in

your area
How we get this data
Normal range for U.S.
$220 - $962
  • Average
  • $591
  • Low end
  • $91
  • high end
  • $1,650
LOWHIGH

How Much Does a Hot Water Heater Repair Cost Near You?

Different areas of the U.S. have varying prices. Based on where you live, your hot water heater service cost could be higher or lower.

Here are some average costs for different cities:

StateCost
Boston$762
Los Angeles$618
New York City$677
Chicago$552
Houston$622
Lincoln, NE$663
Denver$627
Tampa, FL$539
Nashville$596

How Much Does Hot Water Heater Repair Cost by Type?

Water heater repair prices range from simple DIY fixes under $20 to more complex problems that can cost hundreds. The following issues occur in both electric and gas heaters.

Water Heater Leak Repair Cost

Leaks aren’t something you should ignore or try to handle on your own. You’re going to want a local plumber to take a look. It could only call for the simple tightening and cleaning of a leaking valve, or the outlook might be grimmer.

Let’s rip the band-aid off: if there’s water in your water heater pan or anywhere underneath the unit, there’s most likely a leak in the tank itself. Unfortunately, this usually indicates corrosion or other damages you can’t fix. You’ll have to get a new water heater for around $750 to $1,300. Reward yourself with a hot, relaxing bath when it’s all said and done.

Pressure Relief Valve Price*

If the pressure inside the tank gets too high, the pressure relief valve safely takes care of it. Periodic gushing usually means it’s doing its job, but a steady “leaky” type of trickle could mean a few things:

  • There is sediment buildup in the valve

  • Your tank’s pressure is too high

  • You need a new pressure relief valve

Replacing the pressure relief valve could cost up to $200 if a plumber comes out, or it’s a $20 part that requires a couple of basic tools (see DIY repair cost section below). Always turn off the unit, shut off the gas, and let the water cool down before attempting anything.

Dip Tube Replacement*

If your water can’t seem to stay very hot for long, a broken or corroded dip tube is likely to blame. Dip tubes usually go for about $10, with an average professional replacement cost of $150. In both electric and gas heaters, this part carries new, cold replacement water down to the bottom of the tank while the hot water is in use. If it fails, the cold and hot water mix, resulting in a tepid and sad shower before you can rinse out the shampoo.

Cleaning and Flushing the Tank

What’s that noise? If you’re hearing something rattling around in the tank, that’s probably sediment. It’s not just annoying: if left alone, it might lead to leaks, heating element failure, or the death of the entire unit (oh no!). It’s a good idea to have a plumber flush it ASAP for around $200.

*Find DIY price breakdowns in the “Cost to Fix It Yourself” section below.

How Much Does Hot Water Heater Repair Cost by Style?

Lukewarm water coming out of your shower could point to several issues, such as a thermocouple problem in a gas heater, or a heater element failure in an electric heater. Because these all require different parts and expertise to fix, costs vary based on the style you have. The two main categories are gas and electric water heaters.

Gas Water Heater Repair Costs

Gas water heater repair costs usually come from pilot light problems, thermostat issues, or a failed thermocouple. Each displays different symptoms with varying water heater repair prices that go with it.

Pilot Light

Your pilot light going out is the most manageable issue to diagnose because, well, the light isn’t lit. Finding the source of the problem might be just as easy as discovering it, or it could point to a bigger issue. 

First, try lighting the pilot light again. Make sure you can do it safely. If you don’t want to do this (no judgment), a service call might cost you around $45 to $150 per hour.

If you’re doing your best to light it and it won’t cooperate, then there could be a problem with either the thermocouple or the valve.

Thermostat

Problems with your gas heater’s thermostat require repairing or replacing the whole valve unit. A new one will cost you about $80.

Thermocouple Replacement Cost*

If your pilot light stays lit but the burner isn’t lighting, this often means a problem with your thermocouple. The thermocouple senses the pilot light and uses this signal to trigger gas from the gas control valve. Calling out a pro to replace this part should run you about $150 or less.

Electric Water Heater Repair Cost

There are a few problems that are unique to electric water heaters. These usually involve tripped breakers, faulty heater elements, and bad thermostats.

Tripped Breakers

If it’s only a tripped breaker, yay! Just reset it and start planning the bubble bath you’re going to have later.

Heater Element Replacements*

Electric water heaters have two heater elements: one on top and the other on the bottom. The top controls the bottom, and if it fails, a very cold and very sad shower is in the near future. Having this repaired professionally usually goes for about $200 to $300.

*Find DIY price breakdowns in the “Cost to Fix It Yourself” section below.

Thermostat Replacement

Each heating element has its own thermostat, and if those don’t work, the elements won’t either. Hiring a pro to replace a thermostat averages around $150 to $200. The part itself costs up to $20 and is easily replaceable without disturbing the elements themselves.

*Find DIY price breakdowns in the “Cost to Fix It Yourself” section below.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Water Heater Yourself?

Residential water heater
Photo: JulNichols / E+ / Getty Images

If you’re a dedicated DIY-er who is willing to do the research, you can save big on your hot water heater service cost. Be sure to observe all appropriate safety measures because hot water is really hot, and gas/electricity is nothing to mess around with either.

DIY Pressure Relief Valve Replacement Cost

Replacing your own pressure relief valve is a safe and relatively simple water heater repair to take on by yourself. The valve itself costs around $20 and you’ll need about $10 to $13 worth of supplies if you don’t already have them in your toolbox.

Here are the tools and materials you need:

  • Wrench: $5

  • Plumber’s Tape ($4) or Joint Compound ($8)

DIY Dip Tube Replacement Cost

A withered away or broken dip tube is a common culprit when your water isn’t freezing cold but definitely isn’t warm enough. You can replace this yourself with under $10 worth of tools that you might already have, plus around $10 for the new dip tube.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wrench: $5

  • Screwdriver (to pry out the old dip tube): $3

DIY Thermocouple Replacement Cost (Gas Heaters)

Can’t relight your burner or your pilot light? It’s probably because of a thermocouple issue, which causes the gas control valve to stop releasing gas. You can get the part for around $20 and the only other thing you’ll need is a little book learning.

Important note: Don’t forget to turn off your unit, shut off your gas connection, and allow the water to cool before you do this. Otherwise, ouch.

DIY Heater Element Replacement Cost (Electric Heaters)

Cold water from your electric heater? This could mean a problem with your heater elements. First, shut off the electricity to the unit and then proceed to the testing phase. You can get a continuity tester for around $10 at the hardware store, which should show you if the elements aren’t working as they should. If they are, then you might have a faulty thermostat on your hands.

If testing shows you that they indeed aren’t working, a tune-up kit for about $30 can give those heater elements a much-needed boost. If that doesn’t help, a replacement part might cost anywhere from $10 to $80 depending on your specific heater model.

What Factors Influence Hot Water Heater Repair Cost?

Your cost to repair a water heater depends on the type of heater you have, as well as the price of any replacement parts. The hot water heater service cost also plays a big role. Can you safely (and effectively) undertake the repair on your own, or will you have a pro come out? All of these factors come into play when determining water heater repair prices.

Hot Water Heater Repair Cost Breakdown

Breaking down your hot water heater repair cost is simple: you’ve got parts, and you’ve got labor. Your bill depends on how expensive the part is and how much the pro charges. Many repairs are pretty doable DIYs if you don’t mind the research, so this is an area where you can save big.

Parts

Water heater repair prices vary based on the part you need. Many small parts cost $50 or less, while a full replacement goes up to $750 to $1,300.

Labor

Most plumbers charge around $45 to $150 per hour. You’ll notice that water heater repair prices often entail a small, inexpensive part with a comparatively large charge for labor. If you’re not the type to tinker with appliances that can burn you, or if you’re not comfortable with your diagnostic abilities, the peace of mind is well worth the cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re concerned about your water heater, there are six major signs that it’s about to fail.

Here are the key death rattles to watch for:

  • The unit is more than ten years old

  • Rusty water comes out of your hot water faucets

  • You hear banging and rumbling noises from excessive sediment buildup

  • You see leaks coming from the tank itself (not from valves/connections)

Deep breath, you’ve got this. If you find any of these signs, start considering a replacement before the ice-cold shower forces you to.

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