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of Wisconsin

Residential, Commercial Repairs, Property Management & Preventive Maintenance
Water-Heater Installations, Replacements and
repairs in Southern Wisconsin

Repair or Replace!  That is the question isn't it?  Many times our competition is quick on the finding that your heater needs to be replaced and cannot be repaired.  This may be due to a lack of experience or training but it is the difference between a couple hundred dollars and upwards of $600 for labor of removing the old and installing the new unit.

If the unit is defective the manufacturer will replace it if detected early enough.  They will even pay the labor in most cases.


When choosing a plumber to work on or fix your boiler/water heating troubles there can be many reasons to choose COMPLETE CONTRACTORS (Formerly Complete Handyman of Wisconsin). Usually the factor that matters most; with home-owners and business management is COST. Money matters when it comes to plumbing. This is not only because plumbing is expensive. Yet also because it takes a skilled plumber to diagnose and trouble-shoot complicated Water-tank issues.

Repair or Replace?

Based on the manufacturer's suggested service life, the life expectancy of a water heater is about 8 to 12 years. That varies with the location and design of the unit, quality of installation, maintenance schedule and water quality.

If your water heater is more than 10 years old, leaks around the base of the tank, and/or works erratically or not at all, it's probably time for replacement. However, before you begin the replacement process, make sure that an electrical problem, such as a blown fuse or tripped breaker, is not the reason for the unit's failure.

If you're replacing a water heater, you can replace it with the same type of unit. However, upgrade possibilities should be considered. For example, you may choose to increase or decrease the unit's holding capacity to accommodate a changing family. Or, you may opt to go tankless. 

When looking for a water heater, consider these features:

  • Gallon capacity (40-gallon and 50-gallon heaters are the most common)

  • Recovery rate (the number of gallons the heater will heat in an hour)

  • Dimensions (width and height — physical space may limit your ability to upgrade your unit's capacity; will the heater fit in the space you have for it?)

  • Energy efficiency ratings (a sticker on the side should list the estimated annual cost of operation for the unit)


Before making repairs or purchasing a new water heater, check the nameplate on the side of your current unit. Here you will find helpful information including the tank capacity, insulation R-value, installation guidelines, working pressure, model and serial number. If you have an electric water heater, the nameplate will also list the wattage capacity and voltage of the heating elements.


This information will serve as the starting point in your search for replacement parts or a new water heater. For help choosing a water heater, read our Water Heater Buying Guide.

Answer these questions to determine whether or not you want to tackle water heater installation:

  • How will you dispose of your old water heater? Check local codes governing disposal of such appliances.

  • Will you be able to physically handle the unit? Water heaters are bulky and heavy. You will need assistance.

  • Do you have the tools necessary to do the job? Water heater installation requires adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers, a hacksaw and pliers. You may also need a propane torch if your installation uses copper pipe.

  • Do you have time to do the job? Once you start replacing a water heater, you have to finish.

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