How to Know If You Need a Water Softener

The Definition of Hard Water 

Hard water is a term used to refer to water with an overabundance of natural minerals. Tap water contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which are healthy to drink but in too high of concentrations can wreak havoc on a home’s plumbing system. It gets its name from the hard and corrosive mineral deposits, called scale, that get left behind in its wake. 

Hard water can make it hard to get dishes and plumbing appliances clean, damage plumbing systems, wear out clothing faster, and cause dry hair and skin. The solution to hard water is to install a water softener system. This blog post explains how homeowners can tell if they have hard water and the benefits of installing a water softener.  

What Does a Water Softener Do? 

A water softener is a type of water filtration system installed to remove the excess minerals from the water. A water softener uses an ion exchange process to attract positively charged molecules of minerals and dispose of them. Water softeners are self-cleaning and automatically empty the excess minerals. 

Resin beads inside the ion exchange unit attract the molecules of minerals. Sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium are trapped by the resin beads and then washed away in a saltwater mixture. The result is clean, healthy water with no mineral deposits. 

Warning Signs of Hard Water

water Signs that a home has hard water include:

  • Spotted glasses after washing dishes 
  • The water heater has excessive mineral buildup 
  • The color of clothes fades quickly
  • Mineral deposits and stains on plumbing fixtures 
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Low water pressure 
  • Higher utility bills 

Look out for signs of hard water. Over time, hard water can damage the plumbing system, cause frequent repairs, and take years off the plumbing hardware’s lifespan. As the mineral scale from hard water builds up in the pipes, it can narrow the passageway for the water and cause low water pressure. The inefficient performance of the plumbing system due to mineral buildup can also lead to a spike in utility bills. 

The most obvious sign of hard water is visible spots of mineral deposits and scale on plumbing appliances and dishes. Hard water can make it difficult to maintain a clean home because the mineral deposits make everything look dirty after washing.  

Pros of Whole Home Water Softeners

BenefitsBenefits of installing a water softener include:

  • Prevents scale buildup 
  • Saves time on cleaning
  • Increases lifespan of plumbing fixtures 
  • Keeps clothes looking new 
  • Hydrates hair and skin 
  • Cleaner dishes 
  • Saves money 
  • Protects the water heater

Installing a whole home water softener will prevent mineral deposits from negatively affecting the home. Homeowners can enjoy more beautiful and hydrated hair, skin, and nails by installing a water softener. Clothing will also last longer with more vibrant colors. 

Whole home water softeners save homeowners money by improving the longevity of plumbing appliances and fixtures. The mineral deposits from hard water cause corrosion of metals and can stain appliances. Water heaters can break down frequently due to sediment buildup from minerals in the water. Installing a water softener helps keep the home plumbing appliances running efficiently. 

About Water Heaters Only, Inc.

Water Heaters Only, Inc. is a family-owned and operated business serving the residents of Mesa, AZ, and the surrounding areas. They offer flat rate pricing, same-day service, and no additional charges for emergency repairs. Call them today for water softener services in Mesa, AZ.

Learning About Water Heaters

The Basics of Water Heaters

A conventional water heater with a tank is a household appliance that retains and heats water, keeping it at a consistently elevated temperature to be ready for use. Its main function is to keep water heated, and it’s also used to maintain a steady and constant hot water supply for daily tasks such as showering, bathing, washing dishes, and washing clothes. This blog will discuss the water heater basics homeowners should know.

Different Kinds of Water Heaters

types of water heatersGas Water Heaters

Gas water heaters are nice for homeowners who want to keep their energy bills low while maintaining a constant supply of heated water. These units provide homeowners with an insulated tank where water is stored and heated until needed. Gas water heater tanks can be purchased to work with liquid propane or natural gas, which is how the water is heated.

Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters work in a similar way as gas water heaters. They come in an insulated tank but instead use electricity to heat the water stored inside. While gas water heaters are better at keeping energy costs low, electric water heaters are more efficient because they use less energy and release less waste into the environment.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters can come in either gas or electric. Unlike tank heaters, tankless heaters do not have a tank to store and heat water. Instead, they heat water on demand, instantly when needed. For example, when a faucet is turned on, cold water moves through a heat exchanger in the unit to provide the fixture with hot water instead of pulling from the water kept warm in a tank. This is why tankless water heaters are the most efficient and lead to lower utility bills.

Water Heater Maintenance

There are some simple maintenance tasks that water heater tanks require that homeowners can do on their own such as draining the tank and washing out the sediment, checking the anode rod, checking the valves, and adjusting the temperature. However, a professional can be brought in to do these tasks for homeowners who do not have the time, energy, or experience to maintain a water heater themselves.

For homeowners who wish to try these maintenance steps on their own, here are the steps to doing each one:

Testing the TPR Valve

To check the TPR valve, homeowners should follow these steps:

  • Make sure that the power and cold-water supply valve are turned off.
  • Put a bucket underneath the pipe connected to the TPR valve – the valve can be found either on the top or the side of the tank.
  • Pull up on the valve’s tab to allow water out, then let go.

Tanks that continue to let water flow out after the valve tab has been let go of will need a replacement valve.

Checking the Anode Rod

To check the anode rod, homeowners should follow these steps:

  • Attach a hose to the tank’s drain and allow a few gallons of water to flow out
  • Use a one 1/16-inch socket to attach to the rod’s hex head located at the top of the heater or underneath its top plate
  • Unscrew the rod and observe

If the anode rod is less than ½ inch thick or is covered in calcium, it’s time to buy a new one. Before installing the new anode rod, ensure that its threads are wrapped in Teflon tape. It can then be placed back into the tank and tightened.

Flush Water Heater

To drain the tank and wash out the sediment, follow these steps:

  • Drain out the remainder of the water inside the tank, draining it into a bucket
  • Briefly open the cold-water supply valve to stir up the sediment
  • Drain and repeat

Once the water flowing out of the hose is clean, the drain cock can be closed, the tank can be refilled, and the power can be switched back on.

Repairing the Water Heater

professionals should perform repairsSometimes water heaters fail, especially if they are old and worn out. When this happens, homeowners may be at a loss on what to do. Unfortunately, sometimes these heaters will need to be replaced, but sometimes they may be able to be repaired.

There are a few signs that homeowners should look out for when it comes to a failing water heater. If any of the following symptoms are noticed, a professional should be contacted immediately to prevent further damage.

Signs of a faulty water heater include:

  • Discolored water
  • Water has an odor
  • Tank is leaking
  • Odd noises during the heating process
  • Hot water runs out too quickly
  • Water does not reach a good temperature
  • No hot water at all

About Water Heaters Only, Inc.

Water Heaters Only, Inc. is a family-owned and operated business with over 50 years of experience serving Phoenix, AZ, and the surrounding areas. They provide flat rate pricing and same-day service, plus they are available 24 hours a day. Call them today for water heater services in Phoenix, AZ.

How to Tell When the Water Heater Isn’t Working

Signs the Water Heater Isn’t Working

Surely the water heater isn’t working when someone is stuck in a cold shower, right? Yes, but other signs show the water heater is on the verge of having problems that aren’t as immediately inconvenient as losing hot water in the shower. Learning the signs a water heater is on the verge of having problems allows homeowners to receive help before the issue worsens and more extensive repairs or a replacement becomes necessary.

Some of the more obvious signs that people may already know are:

  • Age: A water heater is good for about ten years. After this point, a new water heater may be necessary due to normal wear and tear. 
  • Frequent Repairs: Savvy homeowners keep track of their expenditures, especially regarding the cost of home repairs. If a water heater has needed frequent professional attention and provides inconsistent hot water, replacement is likely the option that makes the most sense. 

This article is devoted to the subtler signs that a water heater isn’t working right. Here are the three most common signs that show homeowners it may be time to get professional help. 

New, Loud Sounds

soundsAn important part of keeping the water heater safe and working is flushing the tank periodically. Annual water heater maintenance is important for homeowners that wish to get the most out of their appliance, and flushing the tank is always a part of good water heater maintenance. 

When a water heater isn’t flushed regularly, sediment builds up in the bottom of the tank and on heating elements. The deposit robs the appliance of efficiency, causing a slow spike in bills. The easiest way to recognize sediment in a water heater is the rumbling or thumping sound when the unit kicks on. 

Flushing the tank can be done as a part of water heater maintenance by a licensed professional. When the tank is flushed, the unit will be disconnected from the power source or cut off from the gas supply, and then the tank will be drained. Once the tank is empty, fresh water will be added to stir up solids and flush them out. 

Cloudy, Discolored, or Smelly Water

water Another important step in water heater maintenance is checking the anode rod. This is usually done while the tank is draining. The purpose of the anode rod is to protect the water heater from corrosion. The anode rod gets corroded instead of the water heater tank but eventually loses its ability to protect the tank. 

Once the anode rod is completely corroded, the tank will begin to corrode instead. When a tank is corroded, water can start to come out of the tap cloudy or discolored with a distinct bad odor. Once a water heater tank is too corroded, a replacement will be necessary, which is why it’s important not to neglect water heater maintenance.  

Leaks or Wet Spots Around the Water Heater

Leaks are common in older water heaters, especially if maintenance is neglected. Leaks are typically easy for professionals to fix, but a water heater replacement may be needed if the tank is cracked.

The bad news is that water heater tanks with cracks are usually not repairable. The good news is that new water heaters are typically more efficient than the current unit, saving homeowners money on monthly utility bills. 

About Water Heaters Only, Inc.

Water Heaters Only. Inc. is a family-owned and operated business with over 50 years of experience serving Mesa, AZ, and the surrounding areas. They provide flat-rate pricing, same-day service, and no additional charges. Call them today for water heater services in Mesa, AZ.

How to Keep the Water Heater Properly Maintained

The Importance of Maintaining Your Water Heater

Every time a sink or shower is turned on, a powerful machine is at work moving and warming water to meet the call. Homeowners don’t usually think twice about wondering how the water will get to the desired temperature because the water heater gets used every day. With this device being such an integral part of the plumbing system, the least homeowners can do is give it a little TLC.

Don’t Forget to Flush the Water Heater

flush the tankAt least once a year, homeowners should have their water heater tanks flushed. Emptying the water and flushing it aids in the water heater’s ability to do its job properly. Even though the water in the United States is fairly clean, there are still many dissolved substances in America’s water.

Minerals and sediment build up in a water heater over time and can stick to the bottom and the sides of the water heater. Some can clump together, and as the water flows through the heating system, they can get lodged into crevices of the water heater, creating hard mountains that can harm the system’s efficiency and longevity. These sediment build-ups not only negatively impact a water heater’s efficiency and raise energy bills, but they also contribute to the corrosion of the tank.

Reliable Water Heater Maintenance Tricks

water heater valvesAnother easy way to help maintain the health of a water heater is to routinely skim over the surface of the unit and check for proper working valves, rods, and other outside fixtures. One of the most common signs of ill health for a water heater is rusting around the fittings. If the metal is rusting, a professional may need to be called to ensure the fittings are properly tightened, and there are no leaks. Placing a bucket under valves and giving them a quick pull will tell homeowners if they need to replace anything.

Inside the tank is the anode rod, coated in magnesium and aluminum to help keep the water tank from corroding. The anode rod needs to be replaced about every two to five years, depending on water usage and if the area has hard water. Once an anode rod has worn out, it is time for a replacement to ensure the water tank itself does not begin doing the same.

How Can This Help the Unit?

The first benefit of proper water heater maintenance is that utility bills reflect the unit’s efficiency. Maintenance will also impact the unit’s longevity, preventing the need for a premature replacement. The life expectancy of a water heater is about 8 to 12 years, so regular servicing is crucial.

Professional checks of a water heater can also catch any potential problems early on before they morph into larger ones. Once the damage or corrosion gets too bad, a repair isn’t worth it, and a replacement is needed. Properly maintained water heaters give homeowners peace of mind, warmer baths, and cheaper utility bills than neglected ones.

About Water Heaters Only, Inc.

Water Heaters Only, Inc. is a family-owned and operated company with over 50 years of experience serving the residents of Phoenix, AZ, and the surrounding areas. They provide flat-rate pricing, same-day service, and no overtime charges. Call them today for water heater maintenance in Phoenix, AZ.