The water heater is an essential tool to have around the house, and it becomes significantly more convenient to own one during the winter season. You always want to have access to hot water, and it becomes almost a necessity if you wish to live comfortably during the cold months. As such, it’s important to make sure that your water heater is working optimally before the winter weather arrives.
The average water heater can last eight to twelve years, assuming that it receives proper care and maintenance. The brand and design of the unit are also factors to consider in measuring its longevity. If your water heater has been in service for more than ten years, there’s a high probability that it’s already working on its last legs. In these situations, it’s better to find a replacement instead of spending on repairs.
In most cases, however, immediate repairs and maintenance options can work wonders in prolonging your water heater’s shelf life. Before you make plans to buy a new unit, here are a few common issues that might be causing your water heater to perform less efficiently, along with some troubleshooting tips to solve the problem:
My Water Heater Doesn’t Produce Enough Heat
If your water heater starts churning out lukewarm water when it’s supposed to be hot, the issue is usually related to the thermostat. For an electric water heater, your first troubleshooting step would be to reset the thermostat while the power is still connected. Then, flush the heater to remove dirt particles and any built-up sediment from the bottom of the tank. Cleaning the tank usually solves this problem, but if it doesn’t work, you might have to insulate the hot water pipes or replace the heating elements or thermostat altogether.
The process is quite similar for gas-based water heaters. While the gas is connected and the pilot light is switched on, flush the heater to remove unwanted particles that may have settled inside the tank. Next, clean the gas burner and replace the thermocoupler if necessary. If you’re not familiar with it, the thermocouple is a safety device that automatically shuts off the gas once the pilot flame is switched off.
My Water Heater is Making Weird Noises
If you hear any hissing or sizzling noises coming out of your water heater, there’s a good chance that sediment has collected in the tank. Simply draining the tank might not clear the buildup, especially if it’s been quite a while since you last flushed your water heater.
To better clean the tank and get rid of dirt and other clogging materials, you can soak the tank with white vinegar, or a mixture of vinegar and water, for at least an hour. The mixture should help soften the sediment buildup and make it easier for you to manually scrape off the particles from the bottom of the tank.
My Water Heater is Leaking
Leaking is a serious sign of damage in water heaters, and it’s recommended to have a professional look at your unit for best results. However, if you want to check the cause of the leak yourself, you can also do that so that you’ll have an idea of which part needs to be repaired or replaced.
For instance, some water heaters show their first signs of leaking on the pressure relief valve. Test your relief valve by lifting the handle and letting it snap back, it should release a small burst of water into the overflow drainpipe. If it doesn’t, it means it’s time to buy a replacement valve already.
The supply pipes are also common suspects of leaking. You can try to prevent leaks by tightening the fittings on the pipes or applying sealants to obvious leak spots. If the leaks don’t let up, it’s best to replace the fittings with new ones than risk water damage to your home.
A Final Word on Getting a New Water Heater
As much as possible, you want to maximize your water heater’s shelf life to get your full value of investment back. As long as you perform maintenance at least twice a year, you should be able to repair damages before they progress any further, increasing your water heater’s serviceable years by preserving its top efficiency.
If your water heater suffers significant damage, compare the repair costs with the price of a brand new heater. If the repair costs will reach approximately one-third of the price of a new water heater, you’re better off purchasing a new unit.
To make sure that your new water heater is properly installed, you can always count on Patrick’s Hot Water for professional services. Aside from quality installations, Patrick’s Hot Water can also assist you with timely inspections, dependable maintenance services and affordable repairs if necessary. For all your water heater related concerns, contact Patrick’s Hot Water to avail the best services at the most competitive prices.