Types of Hot Water Heaters
Most people don’t give their water heater much thought until it stops working. This is because the units are usually tucked away in an out-of-the-way spot throughout the home, like basements or closets, and typically function flawlessly. However, as with all mechanical devices, your water heater will need some sort of service sooner or later.
There are four types of water heaters, and all can have issues unique to the specific type. Because all water heaters have various parts that serve specific functions, multiple problems can result in a lack of hot water. Here are the four types of water heaters:
• Tank gas water heater
• Tank electric water heater
• Tankless gas water heater
• Tankless electric water heater
Tank water heaters heat water in a large reservoir with the size of the tank ranging from five gallons to over 100 gallons. However, most household tank water heaters fall into the 30 to 80-gallon range. Gas tank water heaters heat the water utilizing an external gas burner set at the bottom of the tank, and electric tank water heaters use elements set inside the tank to heat the water.
Tankless water heaters, also referred to as “on-demand” water heaters, do not have a reservoir tank but heat water as it passes over a heating element or coil.
Water Heater Repair and Maintenance
Regardless of the type, a water heater typically doesn’t show signs of going bad but instead quits producing hot water all at once. One exception is when a single heating element in an electric water heater fails, often resulting in just warm water. Here are a few issues that can result in the heater not producing hot water:
• Thermostat: Regulates the water temperature.
• Thermocouple: Works as a safety valve in gas water heaters.
• Leaking pressure-relief valve: Regulates the internal tank pressure, and a bad valve can result in a flood or possible explosion.
• Accumulated sediment: Most water contains contaminants that will settle in the bottom of the tank.
• Rusted holding tank: Iron in the water can cause the holding tank to rust through.
• Poor air intake: This can result in the gas burner failing to ignite.
• Lack of water pressure: Low or no water pressure will prevent water from flowing from the heater.
The best way to avoid a surprise water-heater breakdown is to schedule regular annual maintenance with a qualified plumbing service professional trained to spot minor issues before they become big and expensive.
Water heaters can last for ten years or longer with proper maintenance. Many components, like the electric heating elements, gas burner, thermostat, and thermocouple, can be replaced as needed. However, time waits on no man nor water heater, and inevitably the unit will wear out and have to be replaced.
How The Plumber Guys Can Help
While there are some jobs that a do-it-yourself homeowner or handyman can perform safely, repairing or replacing a water heater is best left to a professional plumber. Because there are so many possible causes of problems and repair scenarios, it usually requires a plumber with water-heater repair experience to diagnose and fix the problem.
At The Plumber Guys, we know there is never a good time for your water heater to quit working, and that is why we are on call 24/7 to help you in your time of need. Our highly experienced plumbers can quickly diagnose and recommend the best solution to your water heater problem. We can also set up a regular preventative maintenance schedule to help keep your water running hot and ready when you need it. Give us a call right away!