One of the amenities that modern living has afforded us is hot water. Unfortunately, too many people take this luxury for granted and lack even the most basic knowledge about the device that gives us heated water for cooking, cleaning, and bathing. There is nothing more frustrating than jumping into the shower and finding no hot water, especially if it is a very cold day. You need to keep your hot water tank running efficiently, and this can be easily achieved with regular water heater services
Water heaters are not complicated household machines, but they are necessities that require routine maintenance like anything else. One of the best things you can do to keep from having to call a plumber in the middle of the night if your heater stops working is knowing when a problem is present.
When should a water heater be replaced?
Whether due to general wear or tear or mechanical defect, a troubled water heater will typically give off a few warning signs. The key to preventative maintenance is to be aware of these signs; bear in mind that heater repair is much less costly if addressed immediately. Failure to notice an issue can lead to potentially expensive damage; this can easily be avoided by keeping an eye out for these problems.
Signs your Water Heater is About to Fail
Lack of Hot Water
While overuse often causes this, the heating element inside your water heater may be damaged if turning the temperature dial up does nothing. A quick way to tell if this may be the case is by waiting a few hours and turning on a hot water valve. If the water is cold, you have pinpointed the issue.
It Makes Noise
A little noise is not always an indicator of a defective unit, as sediment that comes into contact with the heating element will cause this. However, if the noise is constant and remains even if you have flushed your tank, the element is likely failing.
The Temperature will Fluctuate
Old or damaged water heaters often fail to keep the water heated at the set temperature. If you often have to adjust the dial or are noticing dramatic ups and downs in the temperature, be sure to contact a plumber.
Leaks and Tank Corrosion
These are often the tell-tale signs that a heater replacement is needed. The life expectancy of these devices tends to be about 8-10 years, so keep an eye on yours if it is nearing this mark.
Many things can go wrong with a hot water tank, so it is important to know what to look for to spot trouble before it happens. All hot water tanks, be it gas or electric, are fitted with a pressure relief valve. If you find this valve leaking, it is a sign of potentially serious problems and signals a need for water heater services.
On gas hot water tanks type, the typical fault that requires water heater services is a faulty thermocouple. This piece of metal is what makes sure the pilot light stays turned on and bringing up the main burner when the thermostat indicates the water temperature in the tank needs to be heated. If the thermocouple fails, the pilot light will not stay on.
On electric hot water tanks type, the fault is usually thermostat failure. When the thermostat goes faulty, either the water will not be heated, or it will be overheated, and thus causing the pressure valve to bleed off the excess pressure.
Most of the heater manufacturers ship the new water tanks with the temperature set fairly high. So reducing the thermostat that controls the water temperature to about 115 degrees will certainly help keep your water heater services running longer as well as provide comfortable hot water throughout your house.
About once every month or so you should drain the water from the bottom of the tank to remove or reduce the amount of build-up. A method to reduce the water heater service operating cost is to drain the water till it runs clear. Over time, as materials build up in the tank, it will not only reduce the amount of space for water, it will also take longer to heat the water. This consumes more power.
A little mechanical aptitude can go a long way in water heater services as some of the tips involve fixing the leaking faucets and using low-flow shower heads. This will help reduce the amount of work the heater tank has to do to keep the water hot. The less the tank needs to work, the longer it should last.
Water heaters have the potential to blow up because of the steam power they generate. As water heats, it expands, which creates an enormous amount of pressure. If there is a malfunction with the thermostat and the temperature pressure relief valve, then the water temperature will continue to rise, and the pressure will build, unchecked, until it explodes. And because the safety valves are mechanical, they are vulnerable to failures. If the thermostat goes, the final safety check is the temperature pressure safety relief valve. If both of these security tools fail, then the heater can overheat and explode, and when this happens, the actual heater can shoot up like a rocket through the wood, brick, and concrete structure of your home.
While the homeowner themselves can perform most minor water heater services, those who are uncomfortable with performing this type of service work, or if the water heater services involve plumbing, gas or electric connections, it may be wise to call in a licensed service professional.
Work with a professional plumber in Northern Virginia and keep your home safe all year round. 4servicepros uses the latest technology to troubleshoot effectively and quickly repair any plumbing problem and offers a fast response and free estimates. Learn more about 4 Service Pros.