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When to Replace Your Water Heater

How Serious is the Problem?

The water heater is one of the most important parts of a home that people tend to forget about. But when it’s not working, it’s the only thing people can think about. There are a lot of things you can do to better maintain your water heater. Some things are possible to do yourself, but for many issues, you will want a professional to repair them. Paying to have things fixed can get pretty pricey. Many times, you are better off spending a little bit more to get an entirely new water heater. In the event of a water leak, you will definitely need a new water heater.

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Some Minor Problems You Can Fix

The following are examples of some minor issues that you can take care of yourself without having to bother with the expense of hiring a professional:

  • Water isn’t the desired temperature
  • Leaky pressure valve
  • Hissing noise

Each of these involves a few steps that you may be able to take care of yourself. Many people don’t have the patience or the desire to handle these types of problems. A plumber can fix any of these problems easily, without the need for a whole new heater.

An Ounce of Prevention

The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is definitely true when it comes to water heater maintenance. Lowes identifies some maintenance tips for water heaters to include the following:

  • Periodically check the pressure-relief valve. To do this, lift the valve handle and let it snap into place. You should get a burst of water in the overflow drain pipe. If this doesn’t happen, you will need to install or have someone install a new valve.
  • Twice a year, drain the water heater. This will prevent corrosion to the inside of the tank, making it work more efficiently.
  • Reduce damage to your tank due to overheating by setting the temperature of the heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Time to Replace

While maintaining your water heater will make it last longer, there are issues that absolutely signal that a replacement is necessary. A ten-year-old water heater is living on borrowed time. Watch for leaks around the tank as well as sudden changes to water temperature. When these problems begin to occur, it is time to replace the unit. Once you’ve made the decision, you have a number of options available for your new unit.

Options to Consider When Replacing

How large is your family? How much money are you currently spending on electricity monthly? How quickly do you need more water heated after running out of hot water? These questions are all important when determining what type of replacement water heater you need. The most common size tank is between 40 and 50 gallons, though you can go larger or smaller. Today, energy efficiency is more important than ever before. With this awareness, there are now more efficient units available. Check the annual operating costs before purchasing.

Install Yourself or Not?

If you are interested in replacing your water heater before it breaks, you can do this yourself or contact a plumber to handle the installation. Keep in mind that you will need to properly dispose of the old water heater according to the law. (You can’t just shove it in the dumpster.) The installation is an involved process where you can’t cut corners. You need the right tools for the job, so verify that you have just what you need before beginning. If you decide this isn’t quite the job for you, contact us today. We are ready to help with any of your water heater needs.

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