Picture of Confused Woman

Water Heaters: A Comprehensive Guide

Take a moment and think about what your day-to-day would look like without hot water. Pretty uncomfortable and inconvenient, right? From bathing to cleaning your dishes, and from laundry to simply washing your hands, your routines and chores would be greatly impacted. And not for the better.

As hot water is an essential part of our daily lives, we here at Prime Plumbing thought it prudent to dive into your residential water heater options and reveal the common signs your water heater is headed towards breakdown. That way, you never have to worry about whether your system will perform. Here is the comprehensive guide to your water heater.

Water Heater Appliances—Your Options

There are two types of water heaters on the market today: the traditional storage-tank water heater and the tankless water heater.

Storage Tank Water Heaters

The traditional water heater is the most widespread water heater installed in the United States. How does this system work? Continuously heating water, the classic water heater stores water in a tank, heating and re-heating the water, until that water is called upon and used.

As you can imagine, this is not the most energy-efficient process. The water within your storage tank loses its warmth through standby heat loss, which will lead to increased energy consumption and costs to keep your water hot.

Traditional water heaters are ideal for those that have consistent water use and for those that are on a budget, as the upfront installation cost is pocket-friendly! However, if you are a household that has many visitors, or has a large hot water demand, a tankless system may be better suited for your home.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters were invented to address the inefficiency of standby heat loss. With a tankless system, hot water is produced only when it is needed. Tankless water heaters begin to heat water only when you turn a plumbing fixture “on”. So, if you are worried about running out of hot water, this is the water heater for you. You’ll be able to say goodbye to shower schedules!

Tankless units can function as point-of-use systems or whole-home networks. If you are continuously running out of hot water, a point-of-use system can be installed to address one fixture. So, if your shower is constantly going cold, this system can be linked to that specific fixture, providing a director hot water flow.

Tankless water heaters are additionally more energy-efficient, decreasing operational costs, as the system is not expending energy when fixtures are not in use. However, this system is more expensive to install. So, these are best for those living in their forever homes.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Water Heater? 

Your water heater requires repair if:

Your Water Is Consistently Cold

Perpetual cold water is a major pain. If your unit is under ten years of age, and it is not producing hot water, you likely have a malfunctioning heating element. Luckily, this part of your system can be easily replaced by a professional!

Your Water Pressure Is Low

If you notice a shift in water pressure, your water heater may be leaking. This is a serious issue, as pooling water can cause a myriad of potential problems from flooding to backflow. If you experience a dip in water pressure, contact your local plumber ASAP, as your plumbing network may be in jeopardy of further damage.

You See Pooling Water

When water is leaking out of your storage tank water heater, it is probable that the tank has cracked. This will require that your system is drained and then repaired.

You Have Discolored Water

If rusty-colored water begins to pour from your faucets, your water heater has likely been compromised by rust, which can then later affect your plumbing pipes and contaminate your water supply. Your tank will need to be drained and cleaned to restore your water to its original state.

Your System Is Making Strange Noises

A steady rumbling is normal; however, if you hear popping and banging emanating from your water heater, there is likely sediment building up within your tank. To restore quiet operation, have your tank flushed out and cleaned!

When to replace your water heater:

It Is Old

On average, water heaters will last you eight to ten years. After this time, the normal wear and tear of operation typically slow down the efficiency of the unit. Can you keep your water heater for longer? You can, but you shouldn’t. Outdated technology will cost you more to operate. Not to mention, you’ll have repetitive repairs to address. If your water heater has reached the end of its lifespan, it’s time for a new water heater.

It Is Improperly Sized For Your Home

If your water heater is too big or too small for your home, your water will never sustain heat. You will need to replace your current water heater with a correctly sized unit to match your hot water demand.

For water heater installation, replacements, and repairs, contact (208) 209-7848 at Prime Plumbing. We are here to help maintain your day-to-day comfort.