Your current water heater has operated reliably over the course of the past several years. However, after countless gallons of water have flowed through your water tank, you're now experiencing several issues with your heater. For this reason, you may be thinking it's time to purchase a new one. Before you head to your local appliance store to purchase a new water heater, make sure you resolve these three issues:
Does Your Current Water Heater Actually Require Replacement?
There are several problems that your water heater may develop if it isn't properly maintained. If you haven't taken the time to maintain your water heater over the past several months, then chances are you can fix the issues you're experiencing by simply performing or arranging for a few maintenance tasks.
For example, if your water heater is hardening your water supply, then it may be time to inspect and replace your tank's anode rod. As water flows into your tank, any corrosive minerals in your tap water attack your anode and cause it to gradually deteriorate. Once your anode rod is completely deteriorated, it will no longer be able to eliminate the large volume of minerals flowing through your plumbing system.
If you're replacing your water heater to improve your water quality, then you may want to first try draining your water tank.
During normal operation, minerals, sediment, and other types of debris will flow through your tank's dip tube and settle on the floor of your tank. As your burner assembly or heating elements activate, the buildup at the base of your tank is stirred up and released into your hot water supply. By draining your tank, you can ensure that sediment, mineral scale, and even calcium bicarbonate don't end up polluting your hot water supply.
If your water heater no longer seems to be heating your water supply fast enough (or to the right temperature), then a simple burner cleaning or heating element inspection or replacement may be the only thing your water heater needs to operate like new once again.
Are Your Utilities Capable of Powering Your New Heater?
Whether you plan on purchasing a new gas or electric water heater, you'll need to first make sure your home's respective utility system is capable of providing sufficient energy to your appliance.
This is an especially important issue if you're planning on increasing the size or heating efficiency of your water heater. If you're purchasing a water heater that has a larger capacity, then your new water heater will require more gas or electricity than your current one.
To ensure that your home's gas or electrical systems are able to provide sufficient fuel to your new water heater, have your home's infrastructure inspected by a licensed professional. By doing so, you'll gain the opportunity to make any necessary repairs or improvements well before it comes time to install your new water heater.
Will You Be Able To Maintain The Type of Heater You Purchase?
Gas and electric water heaters require different maintenance tasks. Gas heating assemblies are prone to becoming dirty or corroded, while electric heating elements are susceptible to being encased in minerals and overheating. To prevent these issues from occurring with your new water heater, you'll need to make sure you're capable of performing or arranging for the necessary maintenance routines.
Gas heating assemblies will require periodic cleanings. To maintain a heater's burner assembly, you'll need to shut off the power to your heater, wait for it to cool, and blast away any loose debris before sopping up any condensation around the assembly. Additionally, you'll need to ensure the gas valve, thermocouple, igniter, and pilot flame are operating reliably to avoid a gas leak or burner malfunction.
Electric heating elements require periodic current testing. To perform this task, you'll need to open the access panel covering each of your elements and test the circuitry with a multimeter. With your readings, you'll need to compare the actual current with the specifications listed in your owner's manual. If your elements aren't operating within their specified parameters, then they'll sustain damage and run the risk of failing due to overloading.
Once you resolve these three issues, you'll be able to determine whether or not it's the right time to replace your water heater. If you aren't able to resolve these issues on your own, then don't hesitate to schedule a consultation with your local plumber or water heater installation company.
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