Educate Yourself On the Basics of Water Heaters
Nearly every home in America is equipped with a water heater - they're such common fixtures in everyday life that they're often taken for granted. Indeed, most homeowners probably don't pay much mind to their water heaters unless there's a problem. And if the unit was installed in the house before they ever moved in, they might not know much about it.
But it pays to have at least a basic understanding of water heaters, troubleshooting, and general maintenance to make a more informed decision when the time comes to replace the unit. So this article will lay out everything homeowners need to know about water heater basics!
Different Kinds of Water Heaters
Several different water heater types are available today, each of which has its upsides and downsides in terms of cost, lifespan, and maintenance requirements.
Conventional water heaters are by far the most common type. These feature a large storage tank where hot water is held until it's ready to be used. The water in the tank is held at the correct temperature using natural gas burners or electric heating elements. Gas water heaters tend to have a higher upfront cost but generally cost less to operate (depending on the cost of natural gas in the area). However, many electric water heaters are designed to be extremely energy efficient - particularly those that use solar or heat pump technology.
Tankless water heaters rapidly heat water as needed rather than keeping water hot perpetually. This makes them much more energy efficient than conventional water heaters, but they tend to cost more initially. However, tankless models tend to last around 20 years, compared to most conventional units' 10-15 year lifespan. Tankless water heaters come in gas-powered and electric models and require a little less maintenance than conventional units.
Water Heater Maintenance Basics
Every water heater, regardless of type, needs regular maintenance to function properly and remain in good shape over the long haul. Some water heater maintenance tasks can be performed by the homeowners, while others are best handled by a professional (particularly those involving natural gas plumbing).
For a conventional unit, homeowners would do well to flush the water heater tank at least once a year to remove sediment buildup. If left unchecked, sediment can interfere with heating efficiency and damage the tank. Homeowners should also inspect the anode rod (a perishable device inside the tank designed to prevent corrosion) and replace it if necessary. Another important task on conventional units is to test the temperature & pressure relief valve for proper function.
Tankless water heaters also need to be flushed periodically to remove mineral deposits, but unless the home has very hard water, one can typically do this every 2 years. However, tankless units have air and water filters that need to be cleaned or replaced annually.
How To Tell If a Water Heater Needs Repairing
Routine maintenance will help prevent most water heater problems, but it's still important to spot signs of trouble when they arise - the sooner issues are caught, the better.
Among the more obvious signs that a water heater needs repairs are: the temperature fluctuates, the hot water runs out faster than usual, or the water is lukewarm. These can indicate various problems, from dirty gas burners and sediment buildup to faulty thermocouples or failing thermostats. Low hot water pressure and smelly/discolored water often point to sediment buildup.
Some signs may come from the water heater itself, such as strange noises (popping, rumbling, or whining noises) or water leaking from the unit. If homeowners notice any of these signs, they would do well to call a professional as soon as possible to repair the problem before it can escalate - if the damage gets bad enough, the only option may be an all-out water heater replacement!
About Anytime Plumbing, LLC
The family-owned Anytime Plumbing, LCC has served Las Vegas with pride since 1982. They offer free estimates and unbeatable parts and labor warranties, so homeowners know they're getting the best parts and workmanship when they call Anytime's licensed and insured experts. Anytime offers 24-hour emergency service and a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so don't wait to call them for water heater repair in Las Vegas, NV!