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A Guide to the Best Water Heater Warranty

When your water heater breaks down from normal wear and tear, your daily routine may be impacted significantly, as this system is responsible for heating the water you use when showering, doing laundry, and washing dishes. Keep reading this review to find the best water heater warranty for your home.

Hot Water Heater iStock

A residential water heater is a home system that’s responsible for heating up water for cooking, cleaning, bathing, and space heating. If your system fails, a home warranty can protect against the unforeseen costs caused by a breakdown.

In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team will discuss the importance of protecting your water heater, how to find the best water heater warranty, and which home warranty providers offer this type of coverage.

Cost Breakdown of Common Water Heater Repairs

If your water heater unexpectedly breaks down, a home warranty can save you money on costly repairs or an entire system replacement. Below are some of the most common causes of water heater breakdowns, what can be done to resolve the issue, and the average cost of related repairs and maintenance.

Water Heater Repairs

Malfunction Solution Average Cost
Malfunction Solution Average Cost
The pilot light will not ignite on gas heaters Replace the valve or thermocouple $45 to $150 per hour
Your water has a rusty color and a strange odor or taste The anode rod may have extensive corrosion and requires replacement $20 to $50 per hour, plus labor costs
The water in your home won’t heat to the specified temperature It’s possible that the dip tube is broken and needs to be replaced $150 per hour, plus replacement parts cost

Lifespan of Water Heaters

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors states that tankless water heaters typically last for 10 years, while conventional systems degrade between six and 12 years. If you don’t have a water heater warranty when your system starts to fail, you could be out hundreds of dollars on necessary repairs and replacements.

Water Heater Warranty vs. Home Warranty

Most manufacturers include a water heater warranty whenever you purchase a new system. In most cases, you’ll have to register your system’s serial number (found in your warranty information packet) within 30 days after installation to receive coverage. This may cause problems for homeowners who inherited a water heater after buying a home if the previous owner didn’t correctly register the unit.

Additionally, once the manufacturer’s warranty expires, homeowners face the risk of paying for repair or replacement costs completely out of pocket; this can become expensive as water heater installation costs can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Sometimes, a manufacturer will offer an extended coverage plan to lengthen a warranty. However, this extended protection may not cover both parts and labor for repairs or replacements.

To guarantee that the essential parts of your system are protected, consider investing in a home warranty. A home warranty is an annual service contract that protects major systems and appliances in your home, including your water heater, whenever they break down due to normal wear and tear.

Read more: What Is a Home Warranty?

Making a Claim with a Manufacturer’s Warranty vs. Home Warranty

To request service under a manufacturer’s warranty, the policyholder must locate a licensed dealer in their area. While most qualified technicians can repair a water heater, many manufacturers limit who can perform the work. If there’s not an approved repair technician in your area who can tackle the necessary repairs, you may experience delays in resolving the issue.

On the contrary, most home warranty companies have a dedicated network of experts who are qualified to repair water heaters and other covered home systems and appliances. After a claim is accepted, the provider will generally dispatch a technician within 48 hours.

Cost Difference Between Manufacturer Warranties and Home Warranties

On average, a home warranty costs around $300 per year for basic protection and $600 per year for more comprehensive packages. Homeowners are also responsible for paying a service trade fee to a technician once they arrive to diagnose or make a repair. These fees generally range between $75–$125 per claim.

Water heater warranty costs will differ dramatically between manufacturers and vendors. For instance, Home Depot offers a five-year warranty for $69 on systems that are purchased from the store. Rheem also provides an extended water heater warranty for $115 when the installer uses an upgrade kit during installation.

man working on water heater Adobe Licensed

Best Water Heater Warranty Providers

Of all the home warranty providers in the industry, the following three are the best for offering water heater protection.

Compare Home Warranty Companies

Provider American Home Shield Choice Home Warranty Select Home Warranty
Provider American Home Shield Choice Home Warranty Select Home Warranty
Get a free quote Visit Site Visit Site Visit Site
Water heater coverage Covered under ShieldPlatinum™, ShieldGold™, and ShieldSilver™ Covered under Basic Plan and Total Plan Covered under Gold Care and Platinum Care
Monthly premiums $40–$58 $36–$44 $36–$38
Service fees $75–$125 $60–$85 $75

American Home Shield (AHS) offers extensive coverage for water heaters and other home systems and appliances. In addition to its affordable coverage, American Home Shield stands apart as our preferred provider for the following reasons:

  • Covers 49 states (all but Alaska)
  • Has a claims center that’s open 24/7/365
  • Provides generous coverage caps
  • Responds to service requests within 48 hours, 98% of the time
  • Allows policyholders to select service fees of $75, $100, or $125—a higher fee results in lower monthly payments
  • Boasts a B rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
To receive a personalized quote from American Home Shield, simply fill out this online form or you can discuss the policy's terms with a customer service expert by calling 844-529-9298.

Frequently Asked Questions about Water Heater Warranties

What are the different types of water heaters?

There are several types of water heater models that all function slightly differently.

  • Storage tank—Equipped with a reservoir, the heating process in this type of heater occurs within the storage tank.
  • Tankless—Also known as on-demand heaters, tankless water heaters directly heat water without the use of a reservoir. Tankless options are popular due to their small stature and the option to mount on a wall with little disruption to your space.
  • Heat pump—These transfer heat, rather than generating it directly for providing hot water.
  • Indirect—These tie into a home’s heating system to create hot water.

What’s the difference between a gas and electric water heater?

The primary differences between gas and electric water heaters are the heating components. A gas unit includes its thermostat on the control valve, while electric models feature a separate temperature controller. Gas water heaters are also equipped with safety features like a heat-limiting device to prevent overheating and a thermocouple to disconnect the fuel during an emergency.

Which water heater is best for my home?

The type of water heater that makes the most sense for your home largely depends on the space you have. For instance, a tankless model has a much smaller footprint and is ideal for small, single-family homes as opposed to a unit with a large storage tank.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.