Enjoy Warm Water
Waiting for your shower to warm up can be especially frustrating during the chilly winter months. If you're dealing with lukewarm water, your water heater may be on its way out. Check out which issues signal repairing or replacing your water heater and what new options are out there if you do need a new one.
Determine Whether to Replace or Repair
Whether you use gas or electric, traditional tank-style water heaters have a lifespan of 8-12 years. The older your unit is, the less efficient it becomes. If your water heater is increasing in age, or if you find yourself revisiting the same issues over and over, it may be time to have a new one installed. Aside from age of your unit, here are some potential signs you may need a replacement:
- There is Rust or Corrosion
Rust and corrosion are natural foes of any steel water heater, but our area's hard water makes it worse. Check your water heater's temperature and pressure relief valve as well as its water inlet and outlet connections. Rust in these areas likely means it needs to be replaced.
- Drain Valve Does Not Drain Water
Sediment build-up negatively affects both electric and gas water heaters. As it accumulates, it can clog the drain valve. Flushing the tank annually can help and there are ways to unclog build-up, but proceed with caution or call a professional. If you don't know what you are doing, these potential fixes can make matters worse.
- The Hot Water Tank is Leaking
A leaking hot water tank is not repairable. As soon as you discover such a leak, turn off the heater's power and water supply, then call in a professional to help.
- Water is Lukewarm or Warm Water Runs Out
Many of the things that cause lukewarm water can be repaired, but issues most commonly stem from the electric thermostat. In this case, weigh the cost of the repair against the age of the unit. If repair makes sense, it is often best to replace both elements and both thermostats - even if only one has failed. Since all of the components are the same age as the one that failed, they aren't likely to have much life left.
Consider New Options
If you do have to replace, you don't have to settle for a similar unit when there are lots of newer, more efficient systems that can help slash your water bill and bring you hot water on demand.
- Hybrid pump water heaters are usually the most cost-effective type of water heaters for a home. They use electricity to move heat back and forth where it is needed. The unit does this by working like a refrigerator in reverse, pulling heat from the surrounding air and transferring it to the water in its enclosed tank. As an added benefit, the unit releases cool air back into the surrounding area as it operates, which is especially handy for cooling garages where most water heaters in Florida are kept. Hybrid heaters are typically better options than electric or propane tankless water heaters.
- Tankless water heaters work by heating up water directly, without using a storage tank. The pipe that water passes through heats up using gas or electric elements, delivering a constant supply of hot water. These types of tanks are up to 34 percent more energy efficient than other types of water heaters. They also have a longer lifespan than their competitors: over 20 years.
- Natural gas water heaters are extremely cost effective and do an excellent job of quickly heating water. Units work by drawing cool air into the system and moving it into a heat exchanger, where it is warmed by the gas burner and then circulated through the home. Some natural gas water heaters may also work during a blackout if they ignite with a pilot light instead of an electric ignition.