Photo By clubfoto at istock
Water heaters are convenient features in your homes. They provide you with hot water for your bath and warm water for your clothes or dishes. A widely used type of heater is basically a tank or a drum that’s filled with water and a heating mechanism.
Call a plumber if you need help installing a water heater in your home. It’s always best to have a professional properly install this to avoid future problems.
What’s in a Water Heater?
Have you ever wondered what is inside your water heater? Here is a quick look at the different components and how they all work together to give you a comfortable bath every morning.
Tank – This holds about 40 to 60 gallons of water. Its outer layer is usually covered with an insulating material and an additional insulating blanket that keeps the heat inside.
Shut-off valve – A separate component located just above the tank. This stops the water flow that goes into the water heater.
Dip tube – Situated at the top of the tank is this tube where the water enters and travels to the bottom of the tank where it is then heated.
Thermostat – A device that controls the temperature of an electric water heater.
Heat out pipe – The water exits the water heater through this pipe and it’s usually located at the top of the tank.
Drain valve – This helps you empty the water from the tank to remove sediment and debris built up inside.
Heating mechanism – For electric water heaters, the heating elements are inside the tank. Gas heaters use a burner and chimney.
Sacrificial anode rod – Usually made of either aluminum or magnesium used to help retard corrosion.
Pressure relief valve – A safety device used to keep the pressure inside the heater within limits.
The dip tube brings cold water to the tank. The heating mechanism, either through an element or a burner, stays on until the water reaches the desired temperature. Thermostats control the water’s temperature and the ideal is 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s hot enough for your use but not too hot to cause scalding.
When you set it a lower temperature, you get to save more energy. Remember to also dial back the heat especially when you go out of the house and won’t be coming back until a few days.
There are water heaters that come with tanks and there are tankless water heaters too. The latter is becoming more popular as it continuously heats water and makes it available on demand. You are able to save more energy with a tankless water heater but its installation does cost more than the traditional water heaters.
Call a qualified licensed professional if you need assistance with either installing or repairing your water heaters.
Tankless Water Heaters
The idea of a tankless water heater is to be able to heat water only when you need to. Installing this type of heater comes with benefits. Although it’s a lot more expensive compared to its counterpart, a tankless water heater lets you save more energy. They also last longer than a tank heater and don’t take much space at home. Also, it can provide you with unlimited hot water.
A tankless water heater uses a heat exchanger for transferring heat from a source to another. When water comes out of the faucet, this is heated through either a gas-fired burner or electric coils. The heat exchanger heats the cold water to your desired temperature.
The two systems are called the whole-house heaters and the point-of-use heaters.
Point of use systems only heats one or two outlets because they are small. You can install them closer to the outlet to avoid water loss. You lose water due to lag time – this is the amount of time that it takes for the water to come out of the faucet. This system is powered by electricity.
The whole house system, powered by propane or natural gas, is a larger system and more expensive. It operates more than one outlet.
Deciding which system to use would depend on the amount of water that you’ll need or the flow rate and the temperature rise. The latter is the difference between the desired temperature and the groundwater temp.
Talk to your plumber if you need assistance or if you have no idea whether you should go for a tankless or a tank water heater.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Tankless Heaters
It’s important to weigh the pros and cons if you are considering installing a tankless water heater in your homes.
- You will never run out of hot water.
- Tankless heaters can last up to 10 years longer than tank water heaters.
- More efficient than the standard heaters because you don’t lose heat.
- You get to save more on your heating bills with a tankless heater.
- Earth-friendly as they do not produce greenhouse gases.
- They don’t take up a lot of space in your home.
- You will never experience flooding as there is no tank involved.
- A lot more costly than standard heaters. They cost 3x as much.
- You may need more fuel to heat the entire tank.
- Electric models may need an additional circuit.
- Not environment-friendly as they produce greenhouse gases.
- It uses a lot of energy, therefore, more heating bills.
- There is a need for annual servicing for gas units.
Water Heater Maintenance
Like all other appliances, you need to take care of your water heater so it lasts long. It can be pretty expensive when you replace them or repair them.
Here are a few tips to help you extend its lifespan:
Lower the Temperature
You can save about 5 percent in your heating bills when you lower the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing this may also reduce the scalding of your water heater.
Insulate the Tanks or the Pipes (for tankless heaters)
Insulating the tank doesn’t only extend the lifespan of your water heater, it also reduces energy as the heat doesn’t escape from it. For tankless heaters, use an insulating blanket to keep the heat in. Should you need assistance, always call the help of a licensed plumber in Mansfield, TX.
Drain the Tank
Do this a couple of times a year. Draining it helps you remove sediments and debris that have built up the interior of the tank. Doing this improves the efficiency of the water heater and may reduce noise coming from it.
Test the Pressure Relief Valve and the Anode Rod
If you do not know how to do this, contact a professional plumber. When checking the valve, watch out for small leaks and call a plumber right away. You may also need to replace the anode rod when it’s less than half of a thick or when it’s coated with calcium. Your plumber in Mansfield, TX should be able to help you out with this.
This applies to tankless water heaters. Replacing the filters keeps the debris from entering. Also, it improves the efficiency of your water heater. When you regularly replace the filters, your water heater will more likely last.
Call a Plumber for Regular Inspection
Your water heater needs yearly maintenance and only a professional plumber can help you with this as they have the experience and the expertise. Doing this lets you catch potential problems early and makes sure that your water heater is functioning properly. Remember that regular maintenance goes a long way.
When to Get your Heater Repaired or Replaced
Imagine how disappointing it would be when it’s winter and you suddenly discover that the water from your water heater is cold. How do you fix that? Of course, you will need a plumber. You can prevent this from happening if you are able to find out that your water heater may be damaged and needs either repair or replacement.
How do you find that out? Here are a few signs that your water heater needs repair:
It’s not a good sign when you suddenly hear loud cracks or strange noises inside the water tank. It could mean that there is a buildup of mineral deposits inside.
Remember that as your water tank ages, residues will start to build up at its base. That’s one reason why you are hearing rumbling noises. Contact a plumber in Mansfield, TX, as soon as you start hearing noises from your water heater. That is one sign that it needs to be repaired.
Water dripping in your basement is just worse. Don’t wait for it to cause flooding. As soon as you notice that there are leaks in your water heater, contact a plumber in Mansfield, TX immediately. Do not attempt to fix it yourself by following a DIY guide that you see online. If you don’t know what you are doing, call a licensed plumber.
If you don’t do anything, it might flood and damage your basement eventually.
Rusty or Contaminated Water
When you notice muddy or sandy water, it could be a sign of sediment build up in the tanks. Contaminated water can also take the form of hot water that has a metallic taste and water filled with rust particles.
You may be able to prevent rust by adding aluminum, magnesium or zinc anode rod to your water heater. Always call a plumber in Mansfield, TX for assistance.
Skyrocketing Heating Bills
The water heater accounts for a significant percentage of your water bill. However, if you notice that your monthly bill suddenly rises, there could be a problem with your water heater. Call a plumber in Mansfield, TX to help you diagnose and remedy the problem.
Your heating bill rises when your water heater isn’t performing efficiently. Have it checked by a plumber whether it needs either replacement or repair.
Not Enough Hot Water
When warm water comes out after adjusting the temperature, it could mean that there is a sediment build up in your water heater. An obvious sign that it needs repair is when cold water comes out instead. Call a plumber in Mansfield, TX so he can help you repair the water heater.
The water heater is made up of different parts that work together to give you hot water for your shower and dishes. When some of these parts keep breaking or you’ve had repairs with them in the past, it may need replacement. Call a plumber so he can give you advice on the best option to take.
An Old Unit
A water heater needs to be replaced when it’s more than 10 years old. Check for the serial number of your heater and take the first two digits. The two digits more likely represent the year it is manufactured. You may check the manufacturer’s website too just to make sure and find out how to check for the year your water heater is manufactured.
Call a qualified and licensed plumber right away when you notice these things. Remember that delayed repair will cost you more. It might even cost you another water heater.
Contact Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Today
We understand how important a water heater is to a home especially during the colder months. You cannot afford to have yours damaged at the time you need it.
Don’t worry as Benjamin Franklin’s licensed and highly experienced plumbers are ready to serve Mansfield, TX 24 hours a day and 7 days a week! We offer different plumbing services including installation and repair of your water heaters.
Apart from a 12-year warranty that we provide, we also offer financing options to qualified customers and same day service for free.
Call us at Benjamin Franklin today to set an appointment!