We’re deep in the summer now and the temps are rising! Speaking of heat, let’s take a look at the key fixture in your plumbing that ties into just about everything else. You rely on it for showers, baths, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers – that’s right this time on the blog it’s all about water heaters and answering some frequently asked questions we see!
How Long Does a Water Heater Last?
The lifespan of a water heater varies, mostly based on the type of heater and how well it is maintained. Generally speaking, water heaters can last from 10 up to 20 years.
How Do You Know Your Water Heater is Going Out?
Not sure if your water heater is going to last much longer? Look for these signs to tell you your unit needs to be replaced:
- Age of the Unit (12 years or older)
- Running Out of Hot Water Fast / Low Water Volume
- Higher Electricity Bill
- Red Water
All of these point to something not working as it should in your water heater. If you’re experiencing any of these contact your plumber – it may just need a repair, and it’s better to catch it soon than later!
What Kind of Water Heaters Are There?
Glad you asked! There are a few different kinds of water heaters, depending on who you ask. For our purposes we’re going to look at four different kinds: the conventional, tankless, and solar-powered heaters.
The conventional storage tank water heater is the most common. It sits in a closet, a garage or outside. The tank is filled with water which is then warmed using a heating element. The warmed water then waits to be used. These’ll last about ten to fifteen years.
Tankless water heaters are a more compact appliance. These heat water as it is needed, which offers some energy-saving benefits, however there won’t be as much hot water ready to use at a given moment (and if multiple fixtures are pulling from it at once performance will suffer.) Tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years if treated right.
A solar-powered water heater does just what it says on the tin! These water heaters will be placed outside, where solar collectors can warm the water inside the tank before its pumped into the house.
What Size Water Heater Do I Need?
What size water header you need for your home will have a number of factors to consider. The average household (in America) uses about 60 gallons of hot water on a given day, with average showers accounting for a quarter of that. So how many people are in your home? How many shower daily? Do they shower around the same time? For every person multiply by 15 to get a general idea of the amount of hot water you’d need for them to be able to use if they showered around the same time. That will be the biggest bar to meet, once you do that you can work around it safely.
For instance, if you have a house with two adults and they each shower once a day, a 40 gallon tank will probably serve you just fine – just don’t expect to run the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time!
How Much is a Water Heater?
Looking to replace an old unit? The cost of a new one can vary on a number of things, but the national average runs roughly $1300. Again, that’s just an average and depending on the type and size of unit you look for.
How to Drain a Water Heater
Draining a water heater is a reasonably easy task for most homeowners, and it doesn’t require much in the way of tools! You’ll turn off the power to the heater, open some valves and allow the water to drain from the bottom of the tank into a drain, flushing out any built-up sediment. There’s a bit more to it that than but not too much. Here’s a full blog we wrote on how to drain a water heater.
If you have any other water heater questions about your unit, don’t hesitate to give us a call directly! Our plumbers are here to help, no matter the problem!