Why do Hot Water Heaters Fail?

Hot water heaters are a necessity in every house. But once it begins to leak or corrode at the bottom, replacement is the only solution. Simple as it may sound, purchasing an energy-efficient water heater that suits your family’s needs and has an affordable price is becoming increasingly difficult.

Over time, water heaters corrode, fail to maintain water temperature, develop faulty heating elements or thermostats, and develop leaks. In such cases, a professional plumber can thoroughly check the water heater and suggest the appropriate course of action. An expert will always flush out the tank to reach the root of the problem and provide the best service. Your plumber should help you assess whether the water heater needs a repair, or the time has come to replace it.

Storage tank heaters  

Traditional water heaters store a large quantity of water in a tank and maintain it at a set temperature all the time. When the hot water is drawn at a fixture, it exits through a pipe positioned at the top of the tank. Simultaneously, a pipe positioned at the bottom of the tank refills the tank with cold water. Tank water heaters are bulky, so they are usually installed in the attic or the basement.

The tank water heaters are powered by gas or electricity. Gas-powered hot water heaters cost more to install, but their cost of running is half when compared to those powered by electricity, which makes them cost-effective in the long run.

Pros

  •         Affordable. Probably the most convenient type of water heater, the tank water heater is affordable and relatively cost-efficient, especially if a gas-powered model is chosen.
  •         Good holding capacity. They store enough hot water to meet a family’s hot water needs, if used efficiently.

Cons

  •         Bulky. Tank hot water heaters require a relatively large space for installation, so the basement/attic/storage room space becomes compromised.
  •         A limited amount of water. An undersized hot water tank will run out of water before all members of the family can take a shower. Always consider the number of family members, as well as the amount of hot water consumed in one year, when considering a tank water heater, precisely to avoid these types of situations.
  •         Long waiting time for hot water. Once the hot water is finished, it takes at least 15 minutes (and up to a few hours, depending on its recovery rate) for the tank to heat the water to the specified temperature.
  •         High bills. The tank hot water heaters function all day and consume electricity/gas to keep the water hot.

Tankless Water Heaters

Also known as “on-demand” hot water heaters, tankless water heaters do not store hot water. Instead, they run it through a series of coils until it reaches the set temperature. They operate only when there is a need for hot water, which makes them more economical than traditional storage heaters. Keeping your needs and family size in mind, you can choose any one of many gas or electric tankless water heaters available on the market.

Pros

  •         Wall installation. When space is a problem, the small size of the tankless water heater becomes a big selling point. The compact unit can be installed on the wall for maximum space utilisation.
  •         Ease when altering the temperature. The water temperature can be modified multiple times per day – unlike with tank water heaters. The tankless units support numerous temperature adjustments per day. The change is instant.
  •         Cost effective. As per the experts, you can enjoy up to 30% smaller bills with tankless water heaters.

Cons

  •         Limited hot water flow per minute. A tankless water heater produces an average of 3.5 gallons of water per minute. When hot water is needed in two or more distinct areas of the house, the rate of use may surpass the rate at which the heater supplies it, and one location will not get hot water.
  •         Requires ventilation. Installation requirements specify the need for ventilation, especially for gas-powered tankless water heaters.

Solar water heaters

Solar water heaters are an eco-friendly alternative to traditional water heating sources. Using solar energy to increase water temperature, solar water heaters are made of a water tank (or numerous small tubes filled with water) and a solar cells that absorb the sun’s rays and transfer them to the water.

Pros

  •         Environmentally-friendly. Probably one of the first steps towards an independent, “green” home, the solar water heater uses solar power exclusively to produce hot water.
  •         Free functioning. Solar energy is free, so once the unit is set on the roof, you can generate free hot water all year round.
  •         Minimal maintenance. Robust and using simple technology, these hot water heaters require minimal maintenance and have a long functioning life.

Cons

  •         Weather-dependable. Cloudy days affect the good functioning of solar water heaters. During winter, they become ineffective and may require an additional water heater for back-up.
  •         High initial cost. The unit is quite expensive compared to other types of water heaters. Even though local and federal programs provide rebates from the initial price, the cost is still high for a family with medium income.

Remember a few important variables when purchasing a new hot water heater. Consider your budget, the number of people using hot water, the size of the house, the heating source, the monthly budget, and the available space when evaluating options. If you make a sound decision, you could possibly save a lot of money over the long term, and you may save water as well.

If you have any additional questions about Hot Water heaters, contact the professionals at Biard & Crockett. We would be happy to help you in evaluating your options, and we have many kinds of hot water heaters on display at our retail location. Come by and check us out!