Let’s start with some facts. Your water heater runs for a few hours every day and costs you a few hundred dollars every year to operate. It’s a huge part of your plumbing infrastructure! You need it for bathing, laundry and just to wash your hands. These are tasks you’ll be doing every single day. You need your water heater to function well and get the job done. We want to walk you through some of the warning signs that your water heater unit needs repairs and explain our best recommendations for fixing it as well!
Before we get too deep into water heater maintenance and repair we want to go over and explain the different types of water heaters and how they work.
The storage tank is the traditional option when it comes to water heaters. It varies from year to year, but this remains the choice of the vast majority of homeowners. These storage tanks heat up water and store it for later use. This presents some difficulties and potential problems.
The first problem is that when hot water is stored in a tank it loses heat and energy over time. You pay for that heat generation via your gas bill, so this is an inherent inefficiency with storage tank heaters. The other potential problem is that water can be a destructive force. Everything from rust to leaks are commonly found in storage tank water heaters. Running water through pipes don’t have as much of an issue because water isn’t a constant presence.
Due to the above issues with storage tanks, plumbing inventors sought another solution. What if you could heat water only at the moment you need it? Then you wouldn’t waste heat from standby heat loss.
This is where the tankless water heater comes into play. These units can be pretty small and that gives some increased flexibility. Often, homeowners use a tankless unit just for their bathroom shower for example. This is more efficient and ensures that there is plenty of hot water to go around in your storage tank system.
Now, that we understand a bit more about what the various water heater options are. We can start talking about how you can tell if your system needs repairs.
There are a variety of signals that your water heater needs repairs or replacement. Here are the most common risk factors.
Age. The unit is old. Typically, water heaters don’t last much longer than 10-12 years.
Leaks. If you notice a puddle of water by your unit, wipe it up and return in a few hours. If the puddle has returned, you likely have a leak.
Gas. The smell of rotten eggs is an easy indication of a gas leak. Remember that this is your fuel source for your water heater.
Performance. If your water heater isn’t heating up as well or if there are loud noises coming from your unit, these are signs that the performance of the water heater is suffering.
The last question on your mind might be is when should someone repair or replace their water heater. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, the water heater unit, whether it’s a tank storage or a tankless unit, needs to be looked at by a professional technician.
However, it’s not always clear cut whether you should repair or replace the unit. Our rule of thumb is to multiply the cost of repair by the unit’s age in years. If that result is higher than the cost of a new unit, then you should go with a replacement!
At Kwik Serv Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, we’re here to help with any of your plumbing needs. Feel free to call our team at (847) 232-4209 or fill out an online contact form to set up an appointment!