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Water heaters are an integral part of our lives, but are work horses that we often forget about until either we have no hot water or we have a water heater leak. Once we have an emergency, however, we want them fixed immediately.
Honor Plumbing can help you prepare for such an emergency, so if the time comes when your water heater is on the fritz, there’s no need to panic.
Common Water Heater Problems And Causes
Water heaters, like other home and commercial fixtures, can have issues over time, particularly if they are not properly and periodically maintained by a professional plumber. Below are some of the most common water heater problems and the most likely causes:
Leaks. Water heater tanks usually leak due to age or problems with the valves (heater drain, pressure and temperature relief). Leaks can also be caused by pressure buildup inside the tank, corrosion, or rust.
Loud noises. If your tank has been emitting a nasty, banging sound, it could be a major red flag of an internal component issue. This could be due to sediment deposit or a burned out heating element.
No hot water coming out. This is a nightmarish scenario, especially when it happens on a cold morning as you turn on the shower faucet. But in actuality, we don’t think it’s a nice problem at any time.
A complete lack of hot water could be the result of a blown fuse or a problematic pilot light.
Water discoloration/smell. There are a lot of instances when the water heater gives out water that is discolored, smelly, or both. Such problems can be due to sediment or rust buildup inside the tank and at times because of bacteria buildup.
Too hot/not enough hot water. There are cases when the water coming from the heater is either too hot or there is hardly any hot water coming out of the faucet. Such situations could be caused by a problematic thermostat, temperature-pressure relief valve, or sediment deposits inside the tank.
Another possibility especially when the hot water seems to have trouble coming out of the tank is that the galvanized pipes are too small in diameter, particularly for old homes with .5-inch diameter pipes. This can be solved by replacing the old pipes with .75-inch diameter pipes.
Is It Time To Replace Your Water Heater?
If your water heater is already old or has had more than one problem recently, it may be time (and less costly in the long run) to replace it. While there are temporary fixes that can be made to defective or damaged water heater parts, it could be wiser to buy a new water heater altogether.
Water heaters have a definite service life, so it makes sense to change old heaters that are nearing or already beyond their maximum length of use.
Different Water Heater Types
There are different strokes for different folks, they say. In the case of water heaters, there are a few options that are unique, so we advise learning more about the differences before buying.
That being said, we are always happy to recommend what we feel would be best for your home or business, as well as provide the reasons why.
Standard tank. Traditional water heaters are called standard tank heaters. They feature a heated water storage tank that supplies hot water to faucets and showers inside a building. They can be powered by either gas or electricity.
Pros: Affordable. Lasts up to 12 years. Dual power source.
Cons: Can be cost-inefficient since you will pay for the water heating bills even if you’re not using the water heater.
Standby heat loss is a term which means the water is heated and then, as it sits without use, it cools off, and so is heated again, whether you are using it or not. This incurs constant, on-going costs to provide “instant hot water” any time it is needed.
Tankless. More modern heater models have done away with tanks and instead feature a heating mechanism that does not necessitate using a tank to store the heated water.
So how do tankless water heaters work? When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water.
Pros: On-demand supply of hot water. Up to 20 years of service life. Highly energy-efficient. Dual power source
Cons: Can be more costly to set-up initially.
Heat pump. This type of water heater carries almost the same features as standard tank heater models, but instead uses a compressor that preheats water by harnessing ambient air or ground temperature. A heat pump water heater runs on electricity.
Pros: Energy-efficient. Great option for homes without a natural gas fuel supply.
Cons: Can actually be costly to run since the source is electricity. May not work well in cold places.
Solar. Solar water heaters are not uncommon these days. In fact, more and more property owners prefer them over other water heater models due to the benefits that they offer.
How do solar water heaters work? Direct systems circulate water through solar collectors where it is heated by the sun. The sun's thermal energy heats the fluid in the solar collectors. Then this fluid passes through a heat exchanger in the storage tank, transferring the heat to the water. The fluid then cycles back to the collectors.
There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don't. The water is stored in an insulated tank, thereby providing hot water even at night.
Pros: Energy source is renewable. Easily the most cost-efficient water heater type.
Cons: Can be more costly to install.
Condensing. For buildings that require a large-capacity hot water supply system, this is a great pick as it can provide more than 55 gallons of hot water at any given time.
Pros: Re-uses exhaust gases from the system. Energy-saving. Highly efficient.
Cons: Not the best choice for establishments and homes with limited space due to the large tank size.
Water Heater Efficiency Factor: Why Does It Matter
One of the biggest concerns in choosing which type of water heater to use is the Efficiency Factor (EF) rating of a particular heater model. The EF simply indicates in numerical fashion the efficiency of water heaters in terms of converting energy to heat – in this case, heat to the water.
When comparing heaters of similar size and water holding capacity, you should always choose the one with a higher EF since it means it’s the more efficient of the two. The higher the EF, the less energy the heater will use to provide your needed hot water.
Here are the average EF ratings of some of the models of water heaters that we’ve mentioned:
Standard: They have an EF rating of .58-.62, which translates to 58-62 percent energy efficiency. The Energy Star models can score up to .67 EF.
Tankless: Tankless heaters clock in at a .92+ EF rating.
Heat pump: Heat pump heaters that run on electricity can score a .90 or higher EF rating.
Water Heaters - Get The Right Plumbing Team
Our company emphasizes providing value-for-money residential and commercial plumbing services in Southern California. At Honor Plumbing, we take pride in our ability to handle every imaginable situation involving water heaters – whether it’s repair, replacement, or installation.
We warranty our work to offer clients assurance and security knowing that we are truly confident with the quality of service that we offer.
Call us today at 866-245-9313 and let us take care of your water heater-related concerns.
Tags: Water Heaters, water heater repair, water heater replacement, water heater problems, water heater leaks, water heater installation