Go Back

Homeowner's Guide to Water Heaters

Back to School With Water Heaters 101

Homeowners can educate themselves on the basics of water heaters this back-to-school season with this quick guide from expert plumbers. Water heaters are one of the most important pieces of plumbing hardware that homeowners have in their homes. The water heater provides the home with instant hot water for cleaning, bathing, and other daily tasks.

It’s hard to imagine a modern home without hot running water, but without proper system maintenance, homeowners may not have to use their imagination. Failing to keep up with routine maintenance can lead to a broken-down water heater. Homeowners need to know what kind of water heater their home uses and how to best maintain it.

The Different Kinds of Hot Water Heaters

types of water heatersThe most popular water heaters are gas water heaters, electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters. Gas water heaters are the most common but are not right for everyone. They need to be hooked up to natural gas to power the burner that heats the water. The main benefit of installing a gas water heater is that they typically have lower operating costs than electric water heaters.

Electric water heaters are also a common type of water heater found in modern homes. Electric water heaters use heating rods within the tank to heat the water. The downside of electric water heaters is that they rely on electricity, which means they will turn off during a power outage. Homeowners may need to install a power backup to keep the hot water running during a power outage.

Installing an electric water heater is cheaper than installing a gas water heater, but operating costs for electric water heaters are higher. Tankless water heaters are the most expensive type of water heater to install, but they offer the most efficient performance, leading to the cheapest operating costs. Tankless water heaters only heat the amount of water needed for each task, which eliminates the waste of energy.

Don’t Skip Water Heater Maintenance

professional maintenanceScheduling water heater maintenance by a professional is the most important thing homeowners can do to preserve their water heater and get the most out of their investment. Expert plumbers recommend that homeowners drain water heaters at least once a year. The technician will flush water heater tanks during appointments to remove sediment buildup.

Sediments are created during the heating process as the natural minerals in the water settle at the bottom of the tank as solid sediment. Over time these sediments build up to create a slurry of corrosive material that negatively affects water heater performance. Flushing the water heater tank once or twice a year is important for preventing corrosion and promoting efficient performance.

Another thing that homeowners can do to improve water heater performance and prevent corrosion is to replace the anode rod every three to five years. Anode rods attract corrosive materials and corrode instead of the water heater tank. Failing to replace the anode rod every three to five years can result in corrosion and the need for a premature tank replacement.

How To Know If You Need Water Heater Replacement

Signs a water heater needs repair or replacement:

  • Noisy water heater
  • Smelly water
  • Rust-colored water
  • Not enough hot water
  • Inconsistent temperatures

Homeowners should be looking for warning signs that they need water heater repair. Leaving a water heater in disrepair can be dangerous and costly. Corrosion can create water heater tank leaks that result in water damage and could even cause a house fire if the water reaches electrical wiring.

Water heaters usually last around 10-15 years. Doing proper maintenance can help improve the longevity of the system. As hardware ages, homeowners can expect to do more water heater repairs. At a certain point, water heater replacement makes more sense than continuing to repair an old water heater.

Replacing an old water heater with a new, efficient model can increase the home’s value and save the homeowner money on utility bills. New water heaters, especially tankless water heaters, are more energy efficient and water-saving than older models.

About Magic Plumbing

Magic Plumbing has over 40 years of experience serving San Francisco, CA, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront service, personal attention, and 24/7 live answer. Call them today for water heater services in San Francisco, CA.