Six Unexpected Costs of a Water Heater Leak


Your first thought when your water heater starts leaking is probably going to be the expense that you will have to replace it. While that is likely going to set you back a pretty penny, especially when you think about permits and installation costs, there are some other expenses that you need to think about because they can add up quickly.

Water heater failures are one of the leading causes of residential property damage due to water. This means that at the first sign that something is amiss with the water heater, you should have it checked out. This includes a hissing sound coming from the water heater, a lesser amount of hot water or cooler water than what is normal, or a sudden and unexplained increase in the water bill.

If you do end up having a hot water heater leak, you should be prepared for some or all of these costs in addition to the cost of replacing the hot water heater. Planning for these expenses as part of the replacement cost might make things a bit easier on you. If you don’t have to pay some of these, you can always save that money for the next home improvement or maintenance project you have.

Flooring Replacement 

There is a chance that the floor around the hot water heater will be damaged. While this isn’t a huge deal if the water heater is in a basement or crawl space with a concrete floor, it can really cause problems on wood floors.

The cost of replacing the floor depends on a variety of factors. One of these is how expensive the flooring is. Typically, special order flooring will be more expensive than flooring that is available at a home improvement store.

Subfloor Repair

If the water remained on the floor for a long period of time or if the leak was particularly bad, there might be damage to the subfloor. This can be a big expense if you have to replace the subfloor. You may have to get a contractor in to see how extensive the damage is so that you can determine what you need to do.

Wall Replacement

There is a chance that all or part of a wall will need to be replaced or repaired. This is something that you really have to watch because if the wall is damaged and you don’t notice it, there is a chance that mold and mildew might be able to grow there. That can lead to even more of an expense because you may have a larger area that will have to be replaced by the time you notice that there is something wrong.

Furniture and Belonging Replacement

If the hot water heater is in an area that is near furniture, storage, or other belongings, you may have to replace items that got wet when the water heater leaked. The amount depends on how expensive the items are to purchase, as well as how much of it you decide to replace.

Increased Utilities

Increased utilities are a big factor when your hot water heater leaks. You will likely have an increased water bill, as well as an increased energy bill. The water leak might have been causing a constant flow of cold water into the tank. That can cause the water bill to increase. When the cold water continues to flow into the tank, the hot water heater will work harder to heat up that new water. That means that either your gas bill or electric bill is going to increase because of the increase in energy that is necessary to heat the new water.

Missed Work

You will likely have to miss work for a while so that the plumber can come in and replace the hot water heater. Of course, it might be possible for you to schedule the appointment for a time when you are off of work already or use paid time off if you have it available. If not, you will have to add the missed wages that you will incur to the overall cost of the hot water heater leak total.


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