Imagine going to take a warm shower, or trying to wash some dishes, but all that comes out of your tap is cold water. Or you need to wash your clothes in a warm cycle, but you can't because your water heater isn't working.
Far too often, homeowners fail to give their water heaters a second thought—that is, until something goes wrong and they are stuck with only cold water. Water heater breakdowns are often the result of a lack of maintenance, either because the homeowner forgets or simply doesn't fully understand the importance until it's too late.
What a Water Heater Does
In your home, you're going to run into a number of different situations in which you need hot water to get something done; washing clothes, doing the dishes, showering, bathing, and more. However, none of this is possible without a water heater.
How gas water heaters work
Gas water heaters work through the process of convection. Cold water is stored in a large storage tank (usually between 40 and 80 gallons depending on a home's hot water demand). That water is then heated by a gas burner located below the tank. A pilot light and a gas line provide the fuel needed to ignite the burner. Due to the laws of physics, hot water will rise from the bottom of the tank to the top as it is heated by the burner. When you need hot water and open the hot water tap in your kitchen or bathroom, the hot water discharge tube siphons off water from the top of the tank and delivers it wherever it is needed. Because the process of combustion creates carbon monoxide as a biproduct, exhaust from the water heating process is safely expelled from your home through an exhaust flue and vent pipe.
How electric water heaters work
As the name suggests, electric water heaters use electricity as a fuel source to heat water, so these systems do not have a pilot light or a burner. Rather, they contain two electric heating elements to heat the water. Similar to a gas water heater, the heated water rises to the top of the tank and is stored until there is a call for hot water. Because there is no natural gas present, electric water heaters do not come with a carbon monoxide risk.
How Water Heater Efficiency Can Impact Your Energy Bills
If your water heater isn't running efficiently, it can do more than just prevent you from having hot water. It could also impact your utility bills because you would have to wait longer for the water to warm up. The longer you need to let your faucet or showerhead run until the water heats up, the more water you're wasting and, unfortunately, paying for. Hot water recirculation pumps are a great way to combat this problem—because they provide you with almost instant hot water, you'll use less water and enjoy more efficient performance from your water heater.
What to Consider When Repairing, Replacing, or Installing a Water Heater
It's not common for a home to not have a water heater at all. However, there may be situations in which a remodel is taking place and installation is needed. Most of the time, though, there is a need for repairing and replacing, but homeowners are not always aware of what may be best for them and their situation.
Here are some things that homeowners should keep in mind regarding whether to replace or repair their water heaters when they break down:
- The age of the water heater: Water heaters typically last around 8-12 years on average. If you have an older water heater, replacing it may be the best option to avoid further problems. If your water heater is newer, it may only need small repairs to restore functionality.
- The cost of the repairs: Some repairs may be minimal and it would be more cost-effective to simply perform the repairs. However, if the cost is exorbitant and you would benefit from spending a small amount extra on a replacement, this should be considered.
- How often repairs are needed: The more often you need repairs, the more likely you're going to continue to have problems. However, if your water heater rarely has issues, you can still perform repairs without having to worry about it breaking down on you again.
One of the most important things when you have a water heater problem is to know where to find a skilled and experienced plumber to help you fix the issue. This is exactly what you'll find with Before & After Plumbing and Drain.
Call Now for Water Heater Service in the Phoenix Area
Our Phoenix-area plumbers have many years of experience providing the plumbing services homeowners need when they need them most. We work hard to give you peace of mind and get your home running like normal.
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