Water heaters are a standard appliance in homes. Since a water heater isn’t something that many people touch or think about using daily, many problems can go undetected. If you don’t understand how a water heater operates, then how are you going to maintain it properly? More importantly, how will you know if your water heater is failing and needs to be replaced? Learn five things everyone should know about their water heaters.
Sediment Can Form Inside the Tank
Image via Flickr by brianc
All standard water heaters have a tank to heat and store hot water. These tanks range in capacity from 20 to 80 gallons. Over time, the water in these tanks can cause mineral sediment, material which can cloud your water and clog your pipes.
If you have a water heater that works on gas, this sediment settles at the bottom of the tank and blocks the heating element from heating the water efficiently. Professionals recommend that you flush your water heater once a year to keep the unit running well.
Tankless Heaters Have Their Own Challenges
Many homeowners are switching over to tankless water heaters to save money. However, these units have their own set of problems.
The most common complaint about tankless heaters is that the water temperature fluctuates. These temperature differences result from an absence of stored hot water. As a result, keeping water temperature steady is difficult, especially when using hot water simultaneously in multiple locations. You can choose to add a storage tank, but a tank addition defeats the purpose of having a tankless system.
Thermostats Can Wear Out and Need Replacing
Similar to a furnace, water heaters have thermostats to adjust the temperature. Some thermostats have a simple setting such as warm, hot, and vacation, while others have more specific settings with actual temperatures labeled by degrees. Thermostats, however, can wear out over time and may need replacing.
Proper Insulation Levels Are Key to Performance
Water heaters have varying levels of insulation built into their tanks. You can find your water heater’s specific insulation details in the user manual, online, or on a label on the side of the tank.
If you are replacing your current water heater, research water heaters and pick one with the insulation that will meet your climate and temperature needs. If you find that your water heater needs to run more often to keep your water hot, you might consider investing in an extra insulation cover.
Keep the Pilot Light Operating
A water heater which works on Gas, require a working pilot light to activate and heat water as needed. Most gas water heaters have instructions for activating the pilot light on the side of the tank; the instructions are generally simple and easy to follow. However, even if you activate the pilot light once, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have to relight it again. Pilot lights can extinguish themselves for many reasons.
These five basic points about water heaters are ones you need to understand, although there’s always more to learn if you’re interested. If you have a problem with your water heater, consult a professional repair technician for help.