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What is a water heater?
A water heater is an appliance that aids in heating and storing water. What makes water heaters interesting is that they exploit the principle that heat rises to deliver hot water right to your faucet with minimum fuss.
Common energy sources for heating up water include electricity, burner oil and natural gas. Some modern applications have also moved to solar and geothermal heat for increased efficiency.
A water heater’s thermostat controls the temperature of the water inside the tank. Normally, you can set the temperature anywhere between 120 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit (49 to 82 degrees Celsius). The water temperature setting recommended by most manufacturers is between 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (49 to 60 degrees Celsius). This is hot enough to be sufficient for household use, but not hot enough that it can pose a scalding risk.
Types of water heaters
Tank Water Heaters
- Popular choice for homeowners, constantly holding and heating gallons of water
- Usually located in a garage, basement, or utility closet
- To heat the water, tank water heaters typically use electricity or natural gas.
- Easier to install than their tankless counterparts, requiring about three hours of labor.
Tankless Water Heaters
- Uses a gas burner or electricity to heat the water pipe, supplying water on demand.
- Effectively converts 92%–94% of its energy to heated water
- Higher cost is a result of a more labor-intensive set-up, as new gas and water lines are required for installation
Common Water Heater Problems
Regardless of what type of water heater you have installed, these machines can only work as efficiently for so long. Water heaters can manifest their signs of wear and tear as you keep using it through the years. Sooner or later, you might call for professionals to check up on your water heater tanks once common water heater problems occur.
- Scalding hot water
- Lukewarm water
- Bad smelling water
- Loud noises coming from the water tank
- Leaking water heater tank
- Questionably high water bills
- Air bubbles or cloudy water
- Rust in Water
- Abnormal water temperature fluctuations
- Not enough hot water for household needs
- Pressure fluctuations when operated
Signs You Need Water Heater Repair or Installation Services
Water heaters are an essential part of the household as you use the sinks and showers to bathe and clean. As a homeowner, your appliances deserve some time and attention from you. Your water heater is no stranger to this. The million dollar question is, how will you know when to give your water heater your loving attention?
Keep an eye out for the following signs as to when to book a professional for your maintenance.
- When water isn’t getting warm
- Your water is dirty or discolored
- It’s past the lifespan of your hot water heater
- You’re using more water than before
- The system is getting noisy
- When your water heater has leaks
Water Heater Maintenance
- Test TPR valve
- Check anode rod
- Drain tank, remove sediment
- Adjust temperature
- Insulate pipes
- Insulate the heater
Test the TPR Valve
- Shut off the power and the cold-water supply valve.
- Place a bucket under the pipe connected to the temperature-pressure-release (TPR) valve on the top or side of the tank. (This valve opens if the tank pressure gets too high.)
- Lift the valve’s tab to let some water out, then let go. If water keeps flowing, drain the tank partway, unscrew the old valve with a pipe wrench, and install a new one.
Check the Anode Rod
- Put a hose to the tank’s drain cock and let out a few gallons of water.
- Now fit a 1 1/16-inch socket onto the rod’s hex head on top of the heater (or under its top plate) and unscrew the rod. If it’s less than ½ inch thick or coated with calcium, buy a new one, wrap its threads with Teflon tape, put it back in the tank, and tighten securely. Use this segmented rod if headroom above the tank is limited.
Drain the Tank and Wash Out Sediment
- Drain the remaining water in the tank into the bucket, then stir up the sediment on the tank’s bottom by briefly opening the cold-water supply valve. Drain and repeat until clean water comes out of the hose.
- Close the drain cock, refill the tank, and turn its power back on.
Adjust the Temperature
- Find the temperature dial on the side of the tank and unscrew its cover. Adjust the dial to 120 degrees using a flathead screwdriver. For every 10 degrees the temperature is lowered, you can expect to save up to 5 percent in energy costs.
- Turn the water heater off or the thermostat down to its lowest setting if you plan to be away from home for more than three days.
Insulate the Pipes
- Buy some self-sticking 3/8-inch-thick foam pipe insulation that matches the pipes’ diameter.
- Slide the foam over the hot-and cold-water pipes as far as you can reach. Insulating the cold-water pipe prevents condensation in summer.
- Peel the tape and squeeze the insulation closed. If the pipe is 6 inches or less from the flue, cover it with 1-inch-thick unfaced fiberglass pipe wrap.
Insulate the Heater
- Cut the insulating blanket (shown: R-4.5 foil-covered bubble wrap) to fit around pipes, the TPR valve, and the temperature control sticking out of the tank.
- Wrap the side of the tank, and seal cuts with foil tape. Do not cover the tops of oil or gas heaters.
- Cap an electric heater with an oversize circle of insulation, and tape its edge securely to the side of the tank.
Should You Get a Repair or a Replacement?
Just like any other gadgets or appliances, your water heater tank needs its regularly serviced by a professional. Water heaters can last decades, but they still require upkeep and maintenance. But how will you know if you need to repair or replace your water heater?
Water Heater Repair
Signs to look out for if your water heater needs repair:
- Rusty, dirty, or contaminated water
- Inconsistent water temperatures
- No access to hot water
- Water takes a long time to warm up
- Water heater tank is leaking
- The age of your water heater exceeds 15 years
Water Heater Replacement
The first rule in replacing a water heater is to get your plumber to inspect your old one before you decide to buy a new one. If the heater is working and it’s safe, just keep using it. However, if the heater is old, then it is time to replace it.
In some cases, replacing a water heater can save you hundreds of dollars every year. Many people think about replacing their water heater every 10 years, but in reality, a water heater that is 10 years old is much more likely to break down than a new one. Your average water heater lasts 15 years. If your water heater is 10 years old, you may be able to save $300 per year by replacing it. So, if you can afford the price difference, why not upgrade?
Water Heater Service in Puyallup
Most homeowners don’t think to call a professional to repair their water heaters. That’s where we come in. AirBest Duct Cleaning has a professional team of licensed plumbers who will provide water heater repairs. We can fix your leaking tank, broken pump, or damaged pipe. We will inspect your system and replace any worn parts.
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