I respectfully disagree nukedaddy
and ask why would you turn down a new water heater to replace a 3 year old heater?
this gives the home owner another 3 years worth or water heater in the long run
I dont know your situation. but for me. a water heater switch out takes me less than an hour to do if it is not in the attic or basement. wrap in plastic
slip an appliance dolly under the heater, wheel it outside. dump in on the ground
while it is draining hook the new heater up.
I was speaking to his explanation of the failure itself. Water intrusion through the element jacket saturating the insulating filler heated th steam that burst the element jacket. Not the relative ease or economics of warranty service.
I would agree. But that is not what my comments were related to. The ease and economics of replacement vary greatly. Admitted, most are straightforward, but then, of course, most would fall in the 6 sigma area of the cost curve anyway. But some will not, and may cost far more to change out. Or far less. If I know nothing about the specifics, I will resist guessing what the best fix is. I may suggest possible fixes, but the owner will ultimately decide the best path to follow.