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Water heaters are a very important part of a building or home. Water heater repair is a very important part of having a water heater. They are the reason you have hot water for showers or in the sink. They come in a variety of different types, shapes and sizes as well as their own ways to be repaired. If you ever have the experience of needing to have your water heater repaired you will know that it can be a bit of a process, but nothing that a professional can’t handle. There are many different types of water heaters, all of which come with their own sets of challenges.

Gas Water Heaters

A gas water heater is the most common type of water heater found in the majority of homes. They don’t require very much maintenance, and check up on it will make sure that it is good to go for years to come.

Gas water heaters utilize the process known as convection. This is the process by which heat rises. Cold water is kept and pumped in through the bottom of the water heater and is heated by a gas burner. As the water heats up it naturally rises and is drawn off by a hot water discharge pipe. The cold water that is brought in by an external tank is controlled by a shutoff valve. The location of the valve is important to know in case the water heater needs to be worked on. The plumber can come in and shut the water off so he can work on the tank without worry of water getting all over the place. The hot water side of the heater is where all of the business takes place, it is from here where the hot water goes to heat up the showers, sinks, tubs, etc.

Electric Water Heaters

An electric water heater is the next most common water heater that you will find in businesses and homes. The water in the heater is heated using 2 metal electrical elements, one near the middle of the tank and one near the bottom of the tank. These also require little maintenance, only needing to be worked on every few years, similar to the gas water heater. Both suffer the similar problems like electrolytic corrosion which can be caused when water flows across two dissimilar metals. This is common in most homes as the majority of homes use copper piping. When copper piping is used, to avoid this corrosion, a dielectric union is created. They are both very similar in design other than the heating method. They both have tubes that enter in through the top, one for the cold water and one for the hot water that gets distributed throughout the home.

Tankless Water Heaters

This type of water heating is unique, and more focused towards commercial water heating, but can also be used in residential areas as well. It is connected to the main water line that enters the home or business and functions by heating water as it enters your home. It does not require a tank like the other water heating methods and because of this it is not constantly running. This is great for you as it saves you money because it is more energy efficient.

The benefits of a tankless water heater include saving you money. This is due to the fact that a tankless water heater does not use energy unless it is turned on, unlike gas or electric. This is what saves you money, they are very energy efficient. Tankless water heaters are also small and compact, making them easy to install and save you space in your home or office. With tankless water heaters, they tend to be a very complex units. This is why with this type of water heater, it is always recommended that if you are having an issue with that type of water heater to get in touch with a professional. This way you know that the job will get done right and in a quick amount of time.

How to Repair/Replace a Water Heater

Repairing or replacing a water heater can be easy or hard depending on the issue at hand. If it is something as simple as replacing a valve or heating element, that can be done with little effort. If you have a water heater that is 8-12 years old and is getting to the point where it is starting to leak, it is time to get it replaced.

Here are some tips on troubleshooting your water heater if you are experiencing not enough hot water.

  • Gas Water Heater
    • Make sure the gas is flowing and the pilot light is lit. This will indicate that the burner is working which is a very good sign.
    • Flush the heater, this will remove any sediment build up from the tank.
    • Insulate the hot water pipes.
    • Clean the gas burner and replace the thermocouple.
    • Raise the temperature setting on the thermostat.
  • Electric Water Heater
    • Make sure that the tank is plugged in, then reset the thermostat.
    • Flush the heater, this will remove any sediment build up from the tank.
    • Insulate the hot water pipes.
    • Replace the heating element, reset the thermostat
    • Raise the temperature on the thermostat.
  • Other Common Problems and Solutions
    • Hissing or sizzling noises may indicate that the sediment must be drained from the tank. Remove and soak the elements in a pan filled with white vinegar for an hour then scrape off the collected scale.
    • Leaking pressure-relief valve, it’s time to get a new valve.
    • Leaking water supply pipes, it’s time to tighten the fittings, and if that doesn’t work then it is time to replace the fittings.

How to Maintain Your Water Heater

  1. Drain the water heater at least twice a year to get rid of any excess sediment buildup that causes corrosion. This will also increase efficiency, which in turn will save you money.
  2. Test the pressure relief valve. Pull it down and let it snap back, this will release a burst of water into the overflow drain pipe. If this doesn’t happen then it is time to replace the valve.
  3. Make sure your thermostat on the heater is now higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is just a general rule of thumb for all water heaters.

The Importance of Letting a Professional Work on Your Water Heater

Letting a professional work on all of your plumbing issues, water heaters included is always a good idea. These people who come and work on your issues are well trained and experienced and know what they are doing. Let them do their job, it will help you save time and money in the long run.

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