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Water Heaters 101: Learn the Basics

Water heaters are one of the most important pieces of home hardware because they provide hot water for daily tasks. Families use hot water for washing their hands, cleaning clothes, taking showers, and more. It is hard to imagine a world without water heaters!

Without a basic knowledge of how water heaters work, homeowners may not have to imagine they don’t have a functional water heater. Taking proper care of a home’s water heater is essential for preventing it from breaking down. In this blog post, our plumbing experts give an overview of everything homeowners need to know about water heaters!

Common Types of Hot Water Heaters

types of water heatersThere is more than one type of water heater. The main types of water heaters installed in modern homes are tankless, electric, and gas water heaters. There are pros and cons to each type of water heater.

  • Tankless Water Heater: Tankless water heaters only heat the amount of water needed for each task, which eliminates wasted energy. New tankless water heaters are an eco-friendly and water-saving option. They are more expensive to install than traditional water heaters but offer longer-lasting performance.
  • Electric Water Heater: One of the most common types of water heaters is electric water heaters. Electric water heaters use heating rods within the tank to warm the water. They are easy to install, safer than gas water heaters, and are usually less expensive to purchase. The downside to electric water heaters is that they have higher operating costs than gas water heaters.
  • Gas Water Heater: The most common type of household water heater is a gas water heater. Gas water heaters use a gas-powered burner to heat the water. They are more expensive to install than electric water heaters but offer less expensive operating costs. Gas water heaters will continue to operate during a power outage, unlike electric water heaters.

Why Water Heater Maintenance Is Essential

water heater maintenanceDuring the heating process, natural minerals in the water separate into solid sediment. Plumbers drain water heaters to remove this sediment buildup. Flushing the tank prevents mineral sediments from corroding the tank and causing other problems. Failing to flush water heater tanks often enough is a common reason they break down.

The best way to prevent a water heater from breaking down or needing frequent repairs is to schedule regular maintenance. Maintenance also helps to keep utility bills low by promoting the most efficient performance. During maintenance, the technician will have a chance to inspect the water heater for signs of damage and catch issues early on.

Homeowners should visually inspect their hot water tanks between maintenance appointments to check for signs of damage such as small leaks. They should also make sure that the area around the water heater is clean and free of debris. Flushing the tank should only be performed by a professional plumber who is experienced and licensed for water heater maintenance.

How to Know If Water Heater Repair Is Needed

Some signs a water heater needs repair or a replacement are:

  • Not enough hot water
  • Inconsistent temperatures
  • Strange noises
  • Smelly water
  • Discolored water

Water heaters left in a state of disrepair can be a serious hazard to the property and homeowners. Homeowners may be tempted to skip maintenance or attempt DIY water heater maintenance to save money, but this could cost them more in the long run if someone gets hurt or the water heater tank bursts.

High temperatures and up to 100 gallons of water are contained within the water tank. If the water tank bursts open, it could cause substantial water damage and even a housefire. No water heater can last forever, and after around 15 years, it is usually time for water heater replacement.

Corrosion of the water tank from a buildup of sediment is a leading cause of water heater tank leaks. Installing an anode rod that attracts corrosive materials can improve the system's longevity. Anode rods need to be replaced every three to five years.

About Ira Hansen and Sons Plumbing

Ira Hansen and Sons Plumbing is a family-owned and operated business serving Sparks, NV, and the surrounding areas since 1986. They offer competitive pricing, personalized solutions, and top-notch workmanship. Call them today for water heater services in Sparks, NV.

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