You can’t think about August without thinking about the start of a new school year. It’s a busy time for many families, and a time filled with excitement about the year ahead and the many new things to learn and experience. Even if you’re not preparing to go back to school, it’s a good time to learn something new and different.
In the spirit of the season, today we’ll give you a lesson in hot water heaters. Most of us depend on these on a daily basis for showers, cooking, washing machines and our overall comfort, but don’t know a lot about how they work or what to do if they’re not working.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of how hot water heaters work, a checklist for hot water heater maintenance and some indicators that let you know your hot water heater needs repairs.
An Introduction to How Water Heaters Work
There are two primary types of hot water heaters - conventional water heaters that use a tank and tankless water heaters. In a standard water heater, cold water enters the tank through a dip tube.
It’s then heated with either gas or an electric component and stored until needed. When your hot water faucet is open, colder water enters the tank and hot water is pushed out of the tank and to the faucet. The other type of water heaters, tankless, are becoming increasingly popular.
Rather than storing water, they provide hot water on demand. When the faucet is opened, cold water is pushed through the unit, where it’s heated with either a gas burner or an electric element. Whichever type of unit you have, you likely have quick access to plenty of hot water for your home’s needs.
A Checklist for Hot Water Heater Maintenance
While we often don’t think much about hot water heaters until they have a problem, it’s a good idea to do some regular maintenance on your hot water heater. Staying on top of this will help to keep it functioning well, avoid plumbing emergencies and extend the life of your hot water heater.
Here’s a checklist you can use for staying on top of hot water heater maintenance:
- Set the thermostat to 120 degrees to maximize efficiency.
- At least once a year, flush out the tank to clear sediment and minerals.
- Regularly check the anode rod so you can ensure that you’re replacing it as soon as it’s rusted.
- Test the pressure release valve to ensure that it’s functioning correctly and not leaking.
Knowing When Hot Water Heater Repairs are Needed
Another way that you can avoid a hot water heater emergency or outage is by knowing when your unit needs to be repaired. Often before your unit goes out or starts leaking, there are some signals that it has a problem.
By recognizing these signals and having your water heater unit repaired, you can avoid the headache, expense and potential damage of a hot water heater emergency.
You should have your unit looked at if:
- It’s not heating properly or it’s producing lukewarm water.
- You hear popping or banging sounds around it.
- If your hot water is cloudy.
- If either your unit or pressure release valve is leaking.
If you think that you need to upgrade your water heater or if you’re in need of hot water heater maintenance, call The Plumbing & Air Service Co. at (336) 502-8540.