We all enjoy the benefits of flowing hot water in our homes. Indeed, it’s a little surprising just how much most of us take it for granted, considering how recent it is in human history. But eventually, alas, things do start to go wrong. Hot water heaters don’t last forever. The water heater tank replacement project may not be something to which you look forward, but replacing water heaters and ensuring good hot water tank maintenance can’t be avoided indefinitely. Here are some valuable tips to see you through the process.
6 Tips on Water Heater Replacement
1. How old is your hot water heater? Answering this question will already tell you a lot. The average water heater’s life span is 8-12 years. If you start having trouble with a heater in that age range, you have a definite red flag on your hands.
2. The approach of the end of your water heater’s optimum efficiency may or may not be forewarned by obvious trouble. Certainly, there could be a major leak, which would tell you it was time. There are subtler signs to watch for, though: If the water starts seeming less hot, despite no change in the registered temperature on the heater, you could have a malfunction. Look for smaller leaks around fittings. Corrosion on the heater or any of the plumbing connections are another warning sign.
3. The next question is what to do about it if such problems arise. Certainly repair can be an option, but if it’s pushing eight years old, or indeed older, replacement is likely the sounder choice. It is true that the major parts in hot water heaters are designed to be replaced. However, once your heater is into the latter stage of its life, the prospect of corrosion grows considerably, making part replacement both more difficult and less effective.
4. In addition to simply preventing the problems that led you to make a replacement in the first place, a further bonus from replacing the water heater can be far greater energy efficiency. Those seeking replacement heaters due to age, today, will be pleasantly surprised to find a new generation of far more energy efficient heaters. When shopping for a new unit, look for the Energy Star label, and research the annual cost to operate the heater. Check the appliance’s sticker for this other helpful information.
5. When choosing your new heater, you should know the necessary fuel type–electric, natural gas or propane (LP) gas. You also have to determine the gallon size necessary for your home. If you’re unsure about this, a plumbing contractor can be of assistance. Also, take care for the basic practicalities of the physical unit: measure the maximum height and width of the space you have available for the installation of your new hot water heater. It wouldn’t do much good to buy one that didn’t fit into the space you have available for it. Along the same lines, be sure you have the necessary clearance space to open any access doors into the installation space.
6. If you’re just buying your first new water heater after nearly a decade or more, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover the virtues of the tankless model. They’re more expensive, surely, but a great investment for the long haul. Tankless hot water heaters will last 20 years. As noted above, this is a considerably longer product life span than the tanked counterparts. Maximum energy efficiency is another bonus: tankless heaters are small, can be installed closer to the bath or kitchen. This allows your hot water to reach those areas more quickly – reducing the amount of hot water needed and thus heated. Also, tankless systems heat the water as you need it, thus providing great savings in money and energy. You often will have to run the water at the facet for half a minute or more for it to fully heat up, but this is a minor trade off for the savings in heating costs.
Hope these tips on replacing water heaters and ensuring good hot water tank maintenance help you with your future hot water heater tank replacement projects.