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
Gas 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
Sometimes 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.