Signs Your Water Heater Is About to Fail

Signs Your Water Heater Is About to Fail

You can avoid the disruption and damage of a failing water heater. Here are four indicators that your water heater may be on its last legs:

1. How old is your water heater?

It’s crucial to know the age of your water heater. Find the age by looking for the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker on the upper portion of the water heater
The serial number contains the date that the water heater was manufactured. But it won’t look the way a date is normally written. Instead, the serial number will have a date code such as “F051052638”.
F is for the month and F is the sixth letter in the alphabet, so it represents the sixth month, June. Next, the first two digits of the serial number are 05, which represents the year, 2005. So this water heater was made in June 2005. Each manufacturer has a similar date code, and they can vary; check the manufacturer’s website to learn more.
Generally, most water heaters that are more than 10 years old should be considered for replacement. If your water heater is in a location that will not cause damage if there is a leak, you can wait until it develops a leak before replacing it, but that really is not recommended.
If your water heater is in a location that will cause damage to your home, you should strongly consider replacing it after 10 years (or before, if any of the following symptoms occur).

2. Rusty water

If you discover rusty water coming from your water heater and it only comes from the hot side piping in your home, this can be a sign that your water heater is rusting away on the inside and it may begin to leak soon.

But if you have galvanized piping, you may have rusty pipes. A good test to avoid replacing a functioning water heater is to drain a few five-gallon buckets of hot water out of the water heater. By the third bucket, if the water from your heater is still coming out rusty, then most likely the water heater (not the piping) is at fault.

3. Rumbling and noise

As a water heater ages, sediment will build up on the bottom of the tank. As the sediment is heated and reheated, it eventually will harden.

When this happens, you can often hear rumbling or banging sounds coming from the water heater as it is heating up. This is a sign that the water heater is at the end of its useful life.
The layer of hardened sediment means:

  • Less efficiency — the heater will have to use more gas or electricity to heat the water.
  • More damage — the extra time spent heating the water will cause more wear on the metal tank and lead to more brittle metal that can crack and develop tiny holes. If you start to hear rumbling from your water heater, keep an eye out for any small leaks. If you find one, then it may be time to replace your water heater.

4. Water around the water heater

If you notice moisture around your water, you may have a small leak or a fracture in the tank. As the metal heats, it expands and if there are slight fractures, water may leak from the tank. Once the metal has cooled the inner tank will stop leaking.
However, before replacing your water heater, make sure there are no other leaks coming from either the fittings or connections to the tank. Also, make sure the temperature/pressure overflow pipe is not leaking. If all of the connections and fittings are dry, it may be time to replace the water heater.
If you are concerned about water heater failure or if you discover any of the signs above, contact a plumber or a company that services water heaters.

If you need help with your water heater, give us a call at 630-269-3995

 

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Learn About Tankless Water Heaters

Learn About Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters use on-demand technology for maximum energy efficiency and performance. Millions of consumers have opted for tankless technology to ensure safety, save storage space, and cut back on energy costs. Standards and certifications like Energy Star run multiple tests on home appliances to ensure fire hazard safety and low maintenance costs. So, what makes a tankless water heater an on-demand technology? (1)

A non-storage unit uses continuous flow to heat water through the device into the taps. It does not store or re-heat anything for future use. Most traditional and modern units consist of copper heating elements. These offer easy thermal conduction and fabrication. Plus, they prevent limescale, mineral, calcium build-up. There are all kinds of on-demand models such as hybrid, point-of-use, and combination broilers. But what’s more important than this categorization is knowing which is gas-powered and electric-powered.

Certain technologies use the following processes to heat water quickly:

Continuous circulation: In this method, the unit constantly pumps water through the water inlet to each corner of the unit. However, this spends more energy than required and was the first kind of technology for heating systems. People are now opting for more modern and energy-efficient on-demand heating technologies.

Timer-controlled: When a device is time-controlled, it consists of a re-circulating pump which shuts off heating water when the timer goes off. Once the timer is on track, the heating element is activated and cold water is treated. This is one of the most efficient methods and also helps reduce consumption of water.

Pump: For pump-driven models, a pump is installed under the sink which can be turned on with a push of a button. Once it is turned on, the pump uses most of the hot water supply from the unit. This kind of technology is good for when you want single use only.

Temperature-controlled: Temperature-controlled models are most common in the industry. A sensor is placed inside the unit which helps maintain the desired water temperature by activating the burner responsible for running the main heating element. A sensor circuit will cut the power supply of the pump once the temperature reaches its ideal point. And it will in-turn turn the pump back on as soon as the water drops below the pre-determined temperature.

How do they work?

The best tankless water heater comes with a heating element which continuously heats water and supplies it to your home’s main pipeline. This heating element is also powered by the unit’s power source, which is either electric or gas-powered. When you turn on the tankless water heater, the unit uses minimal energy (unless it’s not energy efficient) to supply a continuous stream of hot water for as long as the tap is turned on.

In comparison we found that electric-powered heaters are much slower in delivery than gas-powered units. This is because an electric-powered heater consists of the following features:

  • A sensor
  • A burner
  • A thermostat

These features work something like this: When the switch of the unit is turned on, the sensor that’s placed in the heating element of the electric-powered heater kick-starts the burner. The burner heats the water flowing in the unit in a constant cycle, while the thermostat maintains the desired temperature of the water flow.

When using natural gas or propane heaters, make sure the unit has enough ventilation support for smooth performance. It can be placed through a ceiling or outside the house, close to all the main pipelines. Hot water is the only priority when using the best tankless water heater. And so, you shouldn’t have to wait a long time for hot water after turning the tap on. That said, opting for a larger tankless water heating system that can run two taps, such your dishwasher line and a kitchen faucet, simultaneously is important.

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