The thought of replacing appliances gives many buyers sticker shock – but there’s one that shouldn’t set off alarm bells
Most buyers we work with instantly cringe at the idea of older appliances that need replacing. New appliances make you think $$$, right? But, there’s one of these appliances that isn’t like the others and won’t make quite the dent in your wallet you’d expect.
The appliance I’m talking about? A water heater. Big, bulky and complicated, coming across a home with an aging water heater can set off some serious alarm bells in buyer’s minds. But the truth is, they’re often the cheapest appliance to replace.
I notice that buyers consider water heaters to be in the same vein as air conditioning units or furnaces, but the truth is they have varying life expectancies and costs to replace. While replacing a water heater certainly comes at a cost, it’s not as pricey as those other appliances and, therefore, is a much easier repair to tackle.
Furnaces and A/C units have a life expectancy of around 20 years, give or take. A new A/C or furnace is going to set you back between $3000-5000 each which can be a lot when you’re already taking on the costs of purchasing and moving into a new home. You’ll absolutely want to know the age and condition of both of these appliances before buying a new home, so you’re either ready to plunk down the money to replace them or negotiate with the sellers.
However, a water heater isn’t quite as dramatic. They do have a shorter life expectancy – at around 10 years – which means we encounter more aging models in need of replacement. The good news is that they tend to be under $1000 to replace. A much easier pill (or should we say bill) to swallow!
Part of our home inspection includes examining age and all components of all major appliances, heating/cooling included. For water heaters, this includes plumbing connections, tank, burn chamber, pressure relief valve and exhaust. You’ll not only know the age and condition, but if there are any parts that need maintenance in the meantime.
We’re always ready to dispel similar myths and break down the cost of recommended repairs when presenting our summary to buyers. Seeing how this is a common one, we thought we’d spread the word – don’t fear the aging water heater!