Is It Time for a New Water Heater?
Water Heater Maintenance
A quality water heater can last ten to fifteen years if it’s properly maintained. There does come a time, though, when you may need to repair or replace your system. Before you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new water heater, determine if your unit’s problems could be solved with a tune-up.
If your water is not hot enough make sure the power is connected (if your heater is electric) or that the pilot is lit (if you have a gas system). Try resetting the thermostat and flush the heater to get rid of any sediment that’s built up in the tank. Add extra insulation around exposed hot water pipes and raise the temperature on the thermostat a few degrees. If your water heater runs on gas, clean the gas burner and replace the thermo coupler, a safety device that shuts the gas off if the pilot light goes out.
If your heater is making hissing or popping noises, drain the tank until the water runs clear to remove accumulated sediment and debris. Soak the elements in white vinegar and scrub them to remove lime scale and buildup.
If your water pipes are leaking try tightening the fittings. If that doesn’t work, shut off the water and replace them. Leaky valves should always be replaced.
A brand new water heater can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more; buying a new system should be your last resort. Many common problems can be resolved by a few minor repairs.
Most water heater parts are designed to be replaceable. This includes heating elements, thermostats, anode rods and valves. If your heater is less than 13 years old and has been working just fine until a specific time that you can pinpoint, you will probably need a simple repair. A professional will be able to tell you what’s not working and can install replacement parts to fix the problem.
Consider factors like local weather, design of your equipment, quality of installation, level of regular maintenance the unit receives, volume of daily use, and your water quality. All of these things can shorten the lifespan of your water heater. If your system undergoes a lot of wear and tear, replacement might be more cost effective than trying to fix a struggling unit.
If your heater is more than 13 years old and has started to malfunction it’s probably cheaper in the long run to buy a new system. If you notice leaks in the body of the heater tank itself or around plumbing fixtures, you should replace the unit immediately. Excessive corrosion on the tank or around pipe connections usually indicates a major problem, too. If you can only get cold water from the hot water tap, if your heater isn’t able to consistently produce enough hot water, or if you hear clanking, popping or sizzling noises that persist after parts have been replaced, it’s probably time to shop for a new water heater.
Contact Horizon Services
With over 20 years of service experience, we have helped thousands of homeowners in the Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Gloucester, Camden, Burlington County New Jersey and Northeastern Maryland areas with their plumbing needs. Our team of plumbing professionals consists of some of the most experienced and most qualified plumbers working today in the Delaware Valley. These are top-notch plumbing technicians who can accurately diagnose and quickly fix any and all plumbing problems. Plumbing emergencies are our specialty!.