Many cannot consider the modern home without the luxury of hot water. The lowly water heater is given little thought until the water runs cold or there is a puddle forming around it. Here’s how to determine if you should replace or repair a faulty one.
Most water heaters last a little over 10 years and newer models can be more efficient. If your is showing problems, it might be cheaper in the long run to replace the unit and lower your utility bill.
If your water just isn’t hot any more, the problem could be with the thermostat, a failed heating element, or built up sediment.
Popping Circuit Breaker
If your water heater trips your circuit breaker, it could be that the heater is working too hard. Perhaps one heating element is out, the thermostat may be incorrectly set or there may some other damage responsible.
There are two ways water can come out of a water heater. The first is properly through its pipes and drain. The second way is through a leak. If a valve or any of the pipes or fittings are the source of the leak, the damage can be repaired cheaply.
If the tank itself is leaking, usually due to corrosion, it must be replaced.
Unfortunately, a leak may not be noticed when it first occurs and water damage and mold can result. Leak detectors will sound an alarm when a leak first forms. More expensive leak detectors can be installed to shut off the water automatically.
A Fluid Ounce of Prevention
By draining a water heater tank once a year, you flush the sediment and increase the heater’s efficiency. First, turn off the electric or gas, and shut off the water. Allow the water to cool to avoid scalding. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve and open slowly, checking for leaks. To avoid waste, you can then water your lawn, but delicate plants may suffer from the high mineral content.