Water heaters spend most of their lives hidden in basements or utility rooms, and are usually taken for granted until they develop a problem. They last around a decade, depending on their design and maintenance schedule. Slow-developing issues can be ignored easily, until the shower turns icy cold. Determining whether water heater replacement is needed before an unnecessary crisis creates chaos makes sense.
Unless a homeowner enjoys do-it-yourself projects, the unit often escapes inspection. One obvious sign of trouble includes a wet buildup or visible leakage around the base. This can be a serious issue, because a leaking unit has the ability to cause an expensive flood if it gives out completely. If hard-to-ignore moisture is routinely appearing around the heater, shut it down immediately.
If there is no need to turn on the cold tap when showering, the heating unit is probably functioning at low capacity. When this issue is not logically related to higher-than-normal use patterns, it can be a result of malfunctioning internal heating elements or connections, which mainly affect homes that rely solely on electric power. Units that usually recover quickly may simply be too small for the number of users.
Sediment that builds up inside is disturbing to see, but a very common phenomenon. When connected for long periods, microscopic bits of soil collect in the bottom of the tank, degrading the metal and sometimes resulting in overheating. Yearly flushing helps avoid this issue, but if that has not been standard practice, professional flushing performed by a plumber may be needed.
Other common symptoms can be heard in the form of strange rumblings, clicking, or high-frequency whining sounds. While difficult to accurately pinpoint, the noises are a good indicator of the need for maintenance, and may foretell failure. The noises are also usually the result of a buildup of sediments, and a thorough flushing may help. In many cases, the tank has come to end of its useful lifespan.
Even when there are no overt signs of impending malfunction, replacement will be reflected by the monthly energy bill. Although different regions use a variety of energy sources, a heater accounts for nearly one-quarter of the cost. An old unit may work adequately, but at far greater energy consumption. A modern, efficient model saves money and cuts carbon emission levels.
Tankless heaters are worth considering as an alternative to the traditional cylinder. They heat only when necessary. Rather than being stored, water is warmed as it passes through, providing a regulated supply of up to five gallons per minute. Larger households may find this restrictive, but without a bulky tank, more than one heater can be installed, solving the capacity issue.
Some White Hall MD homeowners swap out their own units, but others find the idea overwhelming. Although a replacement of the same type should logically fit the old connections, new threading may be necessary using either solvent welding or soldering. People without the experience, time or patience to do this job turn to a trusted plumbing and heating service to get the work done right.
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Author: Karina FrostThis author has published 246 articles so far.