How well do you know your water heater? Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or you just want to learn more about this major plumbing appliance, take a look at what you need to know about your home’s water heater.
What Type of Water Heater Do You Have?
Not all water heaters are created equal. A wide variety of models, capacities, and styles are available. While some homes have solar water heaters (these use the sun, as the name implies) or tankless coil models (these use a space heating system), the primary types you’ll find in residential properties include:
- Traditional tank type water heaters. Like the name implies, a tank-style water heater uses a tank to hold the water. The system heats the water, stores it, and then provides hot water for showers, baths, and other home use needs.
- Tankless water heaters. This type of heater doesn’t use a storage tank. Instead, it heats the water as you need it — on demand.
- Heat pump water heaters. This option uses a pump to move hot water from one space to another.
The specific water heater you choose depends on several factors, including your home’s existing setup, the available fuel sources, and your household’s budget.
How Long Do Water Heaters Last?
Are you ready to install a new water heater, or do you want to know how long your existing model will last? According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), a conventional tank style heater can last for six to 12 years. An on-demand tankless type may have a 10-year lifespan.
Even though these are the typically lifespans of popular types of water heaters, the number of years yours gets depends on:
- Regular maintenance. Regularly scheduled professional maintenance can extend the lifespan of your water heater. The plumbing technician can inspect the appliance for wear and tear or other damage, clean it as needed, and make repairs.
- Use. The more you use your water heater, the more stress you put on it. A high-use plumbing appliance may suffer from premature wear and tear. While you shouldn’t reduce necessary water heater use, your appliance may not last as long as you would have expected.
- Quality. A high-quality water heater may last longer than a poorly made one. Don’t confuse an inexpensive option with a cheap water heater. You can find quality products at every price point.
If you’re not sure how much longer your water heater has, ask the plumber to look for signs of wear or damage. These may include rust, cracks, or limited heating ability.
What Happens If the Appliance Doesn’t Heat Water?
Your shower is short. But the water ran out before you wanted it to. Why won’t the water heater do what its name says — heat the water? Several different reasons exist for water heater failure. The specific culprit behind no or low water temperatures depends on factors such as:
- The type of water heater. A tank style water heater and a tankless type use different heating methods. This means failure to heat may have different reasons.
- The fuel source. An electric water heater may fail if a circuit breaker trips, while a propane heater is likely to have a different problem source.
- The age of the water heater. An older water heater may have wear and tear-related damage you won’t find with a new model.
Along with these factors, the water heater size (in comparison to your home’s size and the amount of water your household members use) can impact the appliance’s ability to heat effectively.
Does your home need a new water heater or a water heater repair? Contact Two Men and a Snake for more information.