Head Back To School with Water Heaters 101

Educate Yourself on Water Heater Basics!

With school back in session and the kids out of the house all day, many homeowners find they have a little more time on their hands. And what better way to use some of that time than to learn more about their home’s essential systems and appliances? 

Being aware of the basics of these systems means homeowners are better equipped to maintain them, spot signs of trouble, and make more informed choices about replacing or upgrading them. And since it’s so essential to everyday life, the water heater is the perfect place to begin. This article will go over the key points every homeowner needs to know about their water heater - but don’t worry, there won’t be a test at the end!

The Various Types of Water Heaterswater heater

It’s good to be aware of what kinds of water heaters are out there, particularly when it comes time to replace that clunky old unit. Many homes use gas water heaters, which burn natural gas to provide heat, while other homes feature electric water heaters, which supply heat via electric heating elements. Gas is typically cheaper, so these units tend to cost less to operate, but electric units are generally more energy-efficient and require less upkeep.
Both gas and electric water heaters come in conventional or tankless models. In conventional units, water is stored in a large tank and kept hot around the clock, while tankless units rapidly heat water only as needed as it flows through the unit, making them much more energy-efficient.

Other water heater types are a bit more creative about saving energy. Heat pump water heaters draw thermal energy from the surrounding air and use it to heat the water. Solar water heaters convert energy from the sun’s rays into heating power. Condensing water heaters work like a regular gas-powered unit but utilize the gas exhaust to augment the unit’s heating power.

Water Heater Maintenance Basics

Every water heater needs routine maintenance to continue functioning properly. This is particularly important in regions with very hard water - the minerals in hard water will build up inside the unit and cause a variety of problems, such as clogged pipes and valves, corrosion, and overheating. But normal wear and tear can cause plenty of problems as well.

Annual water heater maintenance should include: 

  • Draining and flushing the unit (whether conventional or tankless) to remove mineral deposits
  • Testing the temperature & pressure relief valve
  • Removing and inspecting the anode rod (which helps prevent tank corrosion)
  • Cleaning all filters

Most basic tasks can be performed by the homeowner per the manufacturer’s instructions. Still, a professional should perform more advanced (and equally necessary) tasks to avoid injury or damage to the unit.

water heater Telltale Signs a Water Heater Needs Repairs

Keeping up on maintenance is the best way to prevent problems, but it’s still important to know how to spot problems when they arise - the earlier, the better. If the unit is leaking, it may just be a loose pipe fitting or a partially open valve, but it could be the T&P release valve or even a cracked tank, both of which should be addressed promptly.

Strange noises coming from the unit (popping, hissing, screeching, clanging) could indicate sediment buildup or even more dangerous issues like a gas leak. Low hot water pressure, no hot water, or frequent temperature fluctuations point to a clog, thermostat issue, faulty limit switch, or a malfunctioning burner or heating element. No matter the issue, homeowners should never delay in calling a professional for water heater repair - some issues can be extremely dangerous or cause irreparable damage to the unit.

About Bedell Home Services

Bedell Home Services has served Carmel, IN with pride for years. Their courteous licensed technicians are available 24/7 for emergencies. They offer competitive up-front pricing, financing, and a highly beneficial membership plan. Call now for water heater services!