If your water heater has sprung a leak, or if the water in your home is not heating up at all, repair may or may not be an option. Depending on the problem, replacing your old water heater with a new one may be the only solution.
Water heater replacement is best left to a professional, like I&C Mechanical – Plumbing & Heating. If you require gas water heater installation, our plumbing experts can help with your water heater install.
We’ve put together some tips to assist you in troubleshooting your gas water heater issues. It will also help you to recognize when water heater replacement may be in order. Remember, if you perform regular maintenance, you can extend the life of your water heater.
The life expectancy of a water heater may vary depending on location and design of the unit, quality of installation, maintenance schedule and water quality. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, if it leaks around the base of the tank, or if it works inconsistently or not at all, it’s probably time for a replacement.
The most common problem with a water heater is water that isn’t as hot as you’d like it to be. This is usually caused by a faulty thermostat or a defective heating element. Consider the following when your water is not hot enough:
- Make sure that the gas is connected and the pilot light is lit.
- Flush the heater to remove sediment from the tank.
- Insulate the hot water pipes with foam pipe sleeves.
- Clean the gas burner and replace the thermocouple, a safety device that shuts off the gas automatically if the pilot light goes out.
- Raise the temperature setting on the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some other common issues that may require repair or replacement include:
- Clanging noises, which means sediment may have collected in the tank and the particles are hitting the sides of the tank. Drain the water heater tank until the water becomes clear.
- Leaking pressure-relief valve. This can be an indication of other problems, such as high water pressure or a high temperature inside the tank. The T&P valve is an extremely important safety device. If your T&P valve is leaking or not working, a plumber should be called immediately to inspect and evaluate the problem.
- Leaking water supply pipes. Tighten the fittings, or if that doesn’t work, shut off the water and replace the fittings. There are a lot of different connection fittings sold today that do not require soldering. However, keep in mind that these are mechanical devices and they can fail, whereas a professionally made solder joint will last for many years.
If you’re replacing a water heater, you can install the same type of unit. However, you may want to upgrade to a different size unit to accommodate a larger family or perhaps a more energy-efficient model. Keep in mind that new water heater efficiency standards were adopted in April 2015. As a result, new water heaters may have the same capacity as your old model, but will be larger in diameter and sometimes even taller than your old one. This is due to additional insulation required to make the water heater more efficient.
When looking for a new water heater, consider these features:
- Gallon capacity: 40-gallon and 50-gallon heaters are the most common
- Recovery rate: the number of gallons the heater will heat in an hour
- Energy efficiency ratings: a sticker on the side should list the estimated annual cost of operation for the unit
A I&C Mechanical – Plumbing & Heating water heater expert will help you with installation of your water heating system, as well help determine which unit is right for your home, family size and budget.