Things to Keep in Mind When It Comes to Your Water Heater

November 17, 2016

Your water heater is probably the most underappreciated appliance in your home. Seriously – without your water heater, you wouldn’t have any of these luxuries:

  • Steamy showers
  • Hot baths
  • Sanitized dishes
  • Clean towels and sheets
  • Hot water, period.

Given the importance of the water heater, do you truly know much about it? We’re here with a few things to keep in mind when it comes to replacing, maintaining, and servicing your water heater.

The typical lifespan of residential water heaters is about ten to twelve years.

Natural gas and electric water heaters will typically last about a decade before you need to consider replacing the appliance. If you are not sure how old your water heater is, the date the system was manufactured will be shown in the serial number which you can find on the identification tag on the water heater tank.

Aging water heaters are nothing to take lightly. A water heater that is ten years or older is at higher risk of getting a leak and causing water damage to your home. If your water heater is positioned in your attic or above the ground floor, the potential for catastrophic damage goes up. Be sure you have your water heater maintenance yearly to keep any leaks from causing damage to your home.

The most typical breakdown of residential water heaters that will entail replacement is a leaking tank.

It is best to have your plumber install the water heater in a drain pan with piping that allows the pan to drain outside your home and minimize the potential of water damage. All water heaters should have a operational and accessible shut-off valve on the inlet water supply to the tank, and a ball-type valve on the gas supply. For electric water heaters, an electrical shut off should be located nearby.

If a water heater is “undersized,” in particular a gas water heater, the equipment will fail in a shorter period of time.

When a gas water heater is consistently drained of hot water due to substantial hot water utilization, the gas burner discharges more frequently which can produce heavy condensation on the outside of the tank. The condensation can cause more expeditious breakdown of the steel tank. Furthermore, the extreme heat from the gas burner on the underside of the water heater tank can also cause damage to the glass lining on the inside of the tank, which decreases the life cycle of the water heater.

Water Heater sizing is a crucial replacement consideration.

All water heaters are under pressure from the water supply, and as water is heated, it expands creating even more pressure. When considering replacement of a water heater, it’s usually better to go with a bigger 50 gallon tank, rather than a 30 or 40 gallon tank, as long as the location will accept the larger size. The larger tank will also give you more hot water capacity.

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