Hot Water Heater Repair and When to Replace Them
Hot water heater repair is something you may need one day. If you notice that your water heater is leaking from the tank you will almost certainly need a new one. If it’s leaking from somewhere else, continue reading. And don’t panic! There’s a chance it can be fixed with some simple maintenance. Learn what signs indicate the need for complete replacement of an old unit or if you can get away with a repair.
The Lifespan of a Hot Water Heater
When it comes to hot water heater repair, you should expect an average lifespan of eight to twelve years. Many factors determine how long your water heater will last. Quality of installation, maintenance schedule, water quality, and location all play essential roles in determining the lifespan of these appliances. If you have a water heater that’s more than ten years old, leaks around the base of your tank, or if it works erratically, then now might be an excellent time to invest in a new one.
In some cases, repairs and troubleshooting could save you from having to replace it. When your unit fails, the first thing you should do is determine whether you have an electric or gas water heater. If it’s electric, check for any possible electrical problems. For example, if you’ve blown a fuse or tripped a breaker, this could be the cause. Or it could be the heating element.
If it’s a gas water heater, then the pilot light may have gone out, you may need a coupler, or the gas valve may have gone bad. When it comes to your water heater there are some things you can do to avoid problems. Regular maintenance will extend its life, and some repairs like replacing a pressure relief valve or heating element can be simple if you know what they entail.
The most common problem with a water heater is that it’s not as hot as it should be. This can be caused by either the thermostat or element being faulty, so here are some things you should check when this happens:
Electric Water Heater
- Turn the thermostat up a bit and see if that fixes it.
- Be sure you haven’t tripped a breaker.
- To avoid sediment build-up, you must flush the heater regularly. (twice a year)
- Insulate your hot water pipes.
Gas Water Heater
- Ensure that your pilot light is lit. (best left to a professional)
- Flush the heater to remove sediment from your tank.
- Insulate your hot water pipes to reduce heat loss and raise your water temperature.
- Clean the gas burner and replace its thermocouple (best left to a professional).
- Raise the temperature setting on the thermostat if the water is not hot enough.
Common Problems and Solutions for Hot Water Heater Repair
- Sediment may have collected in the tank if you hear hissing or sizzling noises. Drain the tank until the water is clear and restored, then soak the heating elements in white vinegar for an hour to remove scale buildup. (on an electric heater)
- If your pressure relief valve is leaking, it’s time to replace it.
- Have a leaky water supply pipe? Tighten the fittings. If that doesn’t work, shut off the water and replace the fittings (also best left to a professional).
Tips on How to Maintain Your Hot Water Heater
Here are some simple but essential tips to keep your water heater running at its best.
- To maintain the efficiency of your water heater, drain it twice a year. This practice will rid accumulated sediments that cause corrosion and increase the functionality of your water heater.
- Test the pressure relief valve by lifting it and letting it snap back. If there’s no water coming out, install a new one.
- Set the thermostat temperature setting to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to protect your tank from overheating.
When Maintenance Won’t Cut it
Whether replacing your water heater or upgrading to a new one, you might consider larger tanks and tankless heaters if your home needs more hot water. When you need to replace your water heater, these are some factors you should consider.
- The most common size for a water heater is 40 or 50 gallons.
- The recovery rate is the number of gallons your water heater will heat in an hour.
- Ensure that you measure your space and the dimensions of where the unit will fit in your home.
- You should look for a high-efficiency model to save money and energy.
When shopping for a new water heater, check the nameplate on your current unit. Here you’ll find helpful information about its capacity and other vital statistics like insulation R-value, working pressure, model, and serial number or installation guidelines that will help ensure its safe use in your home. You can quickly identify your water heater’s wattage capacity and voltage of the heating element by looking at the nameplate. This information is a great place to start searching for replacement parts or a new water heater.
A Few More Things to Consider
- Always check local codes for how you are supposed to dispose of your old water heater.
- Water heaters are bulky and heavy. You’ll need assistance.
- The job of installing a water heater is not one for the faint-hearted. You will need adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, a hacksaw, and a propane torch if you’re working with copper pipe.
- Have you got the time to replace your water heater? Once you start the project, it must be completed.
We Have Specialists For Water Heater Repair or Replacement
With over 25 years of experience servicing the North Orange County area Mitch Clemmons Plumbing and his team strive to offer honest plumbing estimates, affordable pricing, and quality plumbing work. Don’t hesitate to leave it to the professionals and call us today at (562) 246-9778!
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