We field a lot of questions about water heaters here at EZ Plumbing. So, we thought we would compile a list of some of the most frequently asked questions to resolve your most pressing water heater inquiries.
What’s the Difference Between a Tankless and a Conventional Water Heater?
Conventional water heaters use a large insulated tank to hold anywhere between 30 and 80 gallons of water. The water is heated and stored until it is delivered to your sinks, showers, tubs, and dishwasher.
A tankless or on-demand water heater has no tank. Instead, it quickly heats the water as it’s fed through the system by using high-powered burners.
How Can I Prolong the Lifespan of the Water Heater?
First, check around the tank for any signs of damage about every six months. Check the joints of the pipes for gaps, look for any signs of leakage, and ensure that the tank isn’t cracked.
In addition, it’s a good idea to check the anode rod to see if it needs replacing. The anode rod is designed to attract corrosion away from the interior of your water tank. However, this results in the rod itself slowly getting very rusty. If the rod gets too rusty, the tank will start to corrode.
Finally, you should flush your water heater’s tank every six months to a year. The sediment and grime that builds up in your tank can make it run poorly and lower its lifespan. Draining it regularly will help keep the water clean and the water heater performing efficiently. If the water that comes out of the tank is too dirty, it might be a sign that you need to have your tank professionally cleaned.
Is Maintenance Necessary?
In order to keep your water heater in proper working order and avoid costly repairs and premature replacement, it is necessary to do some regular maintenance on your water heater. Depending on the quality of the unit, the amount of wear and tear it experiences and how well it’s cared for, you may not need professional work done, but you will still need to do some basic inspections and maintenance.
Why Am I Running Out of Hot Water So Quickly?
Sediment is a common cause of this problem. If you let sediment build up too much, it can cut your tank’s capacity in half. Sediment buildup can be avoided with regular tank flushes. If the buildup is too severe, you may have to get the sediment professionally cleaned out of the tank.
Your tank might also simply be too small for your home. Typically, a home with one or two occupants only needs a 30- to 40-gallon tank. If you have five or more people in your home, however, you might need a 60- to 80-gallon tank.
What Should I Do If I Find a Small Puddle of Water Under My Water Heater?
Check the tank for any signs of cracking and moisture. If the water is purely coming from the bottom of the tank, it could be a leak in the liner. Either of these issues may require replacement of the tank.
Less costly and more repairable causes of the puddle are your drain valve leaking, or the temperature-pressure release valve being activated without your knowledge.
What Do I Need to Take Into Consideration When Buying a New Water Heater?
The first consideration is the energy source. Water heaters most commonly run on gas, but many modern units are being designed to run on electricity. Most people opt for using the energy source of their previous water heater since the connections are already in place, but it ultimately comes down to your views on which source is more efficient and affordable.
Another consideration is capacity. The fewer occupants the house has, the smaller the tank should be. You also don’t want to buy a water heater that is too big for the space it will occupy.
It’s also important to ensure that the water heater is designed to be energy efficient. Check to see if the unit has an Energy Star certification to save money on your energy bills.
What Do I Do When There Are Loud Banging or Rumbling Noises?
These sounds aren’t immediately indicative of serious problems, but they are signs that your water heater is working too hard. The cause of this is likely sediment deposits making it difficult for the heated water to escape from the bottom of the tank.
What Should I Do If the Pilot Light Won’t Ignite or Stay Lit?
Problems with the pilot light are almost always the result of a bad thermocouple. Replacing the thermocouple should solve the problem. However, remember that handling the pilot light is potentially dangerous. Always follow the safety instructions listed in your water heater’s manual.
At What Temperature Should I Set My Water Heater?
The standard water heater temperature that most people find comfortable is 120 degrees. Most new models come preset at that temperature, but older models were frequently set to 140 degrees, which is usually too hot for most users.
What Should I Do If My Water Smells Bad?
Check to see if your cold water has a similarly bad smell. If the cold water has an odor, you’ll need to either contact your water company or call a plumber to see what’s causing the smell. If the aroma is only present in your hot water, it could be due to bacteria in your water coming into contact with corroded parts of your water heater. Replacing commonly corroded parts, such as anode rods and pipes, can eliminate the smell. If that doesn’t help, however, you might have to replace the unit.
We hope you find this FAQ helpful. If you run into any troubles with your water heater, please contact us at .