What You Need to Know about Purchasing and Maintaining a Water Heater
A functional water heater is undoubtedly a great asset to any home. To meet the hot water needs of your family, it is important to own a correctly sized water heater, as well as maintain it through its lifespan. There are different types of water heaters available in the market. The right one for you depends on the size of your home.
Selecting a Water Heater Suitable for the Size of Your Home
Probably the most critical consideration when it comes to selecting a water heater is the size of your home. The water heater you select should be sufficiently large to provide enough hot water to your household as well as to maximize its efficiency. Therefore, it’s extremely important to size a water heater before you purchase one.
Different types of water heaters are sized in different ways. For instance, sizing a tankless water heater requires you to determine the temperature rise and the flow rate needed depending upon whether you want it for the entire house, or for a remote application such as a single bathroom. Tankless water heaters aren’t suitable for large families or homes because they provide a limited amount of hot water, usually 3.5 gallons per minute, on average.
On the other hand, a more commonly used type is a storage tank water heater. Comprising of an insulated tank for hot water storage, this water heater is ideal for large households. To size a storage tank water heater, you need to consider the first hour rating, which is basically the measure of how much hot water your heater can supply on an hourly basis. You can then match this with your home’s hot water needs.
Maintaining Your Water Heater
Inspecting your water heater every couple of months is a great way to spot any anomalies and respond to issues before they develop into major problems. To start with, examine the pipes attached to the unit, particularly the joints, as well as the tank in the case of traditional water heaters. There shouldn’t be any leaks.
In the case of gas-fueled water heaters, look for the gas line and inspect the hose and couplings. If you smell rotten eggs, you probably have a leak somewhere. Also, keep checking the plumbing joints. Excessive corrosion is a strong indication that a gas leak is imminent. Besides, always make sure that no flammable material is kept near the combustion area of the gas-fueled water heater.
In addition, traditional water heaters contain a safety valve called the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve. To make sure that it is functioning well, follow manufacturer guidelines.
If all the above-mentioned features are working efficiently, you’re good to go. But if any of them malfunctions or appears inefficient, call a professional plumber to get it repaired before it’s too late.
When Do You Need a New Water Heater?
The lifespan of a typical water heater ranges between 10 and 15 years. If your unit is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it. If you experience a metallic smell or taste in your hot water, it indicates that your water heater components are breaking down, with their flakes and grits mixing with the water. Again, in this situation, you have to get the heater replaced.
Other indications that your water heater has reached the end of its life include noises of loud cracks coming from inside the heater and any leaks or strips. The water heater needs to be replaced in both these scenarios.