Taking a cold bath is no fun, and the Martinez family of Florida found that out the hard way.

Only two years after the family, including their young children, moved into the home, Celinette noticed the water heater was leaky and rusty. Shortly thereafter, the entire family realized their hot showers didn’t stay hot for long.

“I just thought that we wouldn’t be able to afford a new [water heater], and we’d just get used to taking fast showers,” she said.

Replacing an electric water heater can cost from $1,000 to $1,600, with a gas-powered one costing an estimated $1,000 to $1,400 – a bill that can be overwhelming to homeowners with limited funds or a fixed income, especially as the economy recovers. Unfortunately, water heaters are one system that needs to be replaced more frequently – every eight to 12 years for tank-style heaters and approximately every 15 to 20 for a tankless version. That lifespan can be shortened if an area has hard water or the water heater is located in an unheated area where the heater has to labor harder in the winter months. Tank-style water heaters should have the tank drained and the sediment washed out regularly, but many homeowners aren’t aware of this maintenance chore.

When a water heater is approaching the end of its useable lifespan, a cracked tank may leak and cause rusting – just the situation the Martinez family found themselves in. Many other homeowners are positioned to find themselves in similar situations – 40 percent of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency expense according to the Federal Reserve Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households.

Fortunately for the Martinez family, HomeServe was able to help replace the water heater at no cost to them through the HomeServe Cares Foundation’s Caring for People program and they’re enjoying hot showers again. Caring for People provides pro bono emergency home repairs that impact safety, health and quality of life to qualifying homeowners.

“I was ecstatic and super grateful for the opportunity to have this installed in my house,” Celinette said. “When I heard it was a high-efficiency water heater, I realized I’m going to save a lot of money on my water bill.”

For information on partnering with us to offer your energy consumers peace of mind and the HomeServe Cares Foundation, contact us.