When you buy a new product, you have to check the warranty provided by the manufacturer and the offers the company is providing you with it. This becomes even more important when you buy an electronic appliance as there is a high risk of issues cropping up with them.
A water heater is a slightly vulnerable or volatile device. Many water heaters succumb to over-pressurization and start malfunctioning. If you are about to buy a water heater for the very first time, you have to decide on the kind of purpose it serves. You must also know how long water heaters last and tips you can use to improve their lifespan.
How Long Do Water Heaters Last?
Around 10 to 15 Years
Most traditional water heater models (electric) have a lifespan ranging from ten to fifteen years. If you take good care of the machine and perform all the requisite steps that are necessary for its proper maintenance, it will last for a year or two more.
Water heaters that have a fiberglass tank are known to last for a longer period than traditional tanks. Companies manufacturing high-end or expensive water heaters mostly offer a lifetime warranty on them. It is difficult to repair a water tank that has been damaged severely. So in a situation like this, the company would provide you with a new tank.
How Long Do Gas Water Heaters Last?
Around 8 to 10 Years
Ideally, an electric water heater is said to be far more durable and lasts a few years longer than a gas water heater. However, there are exceptions.
A gas-powered water heater is much more efficient at conserving energy than electric heaters and helps you save a lot of money. It is made up of solid components that last for very long and do not get damaged easily. If you are an environmentally-conscious person and wish to save money instead of thinking about the distant future, buying a gas-powered water heater could be a good option for you.
Should you buy a low-priced water heater?
Yes, only if you are on a tight budget. In this case, you might want to go for a moderately priced water heater. However, you must remember that lower-priced or inexpensive water heaters have shorter warranties mostly ranging from three to five years. So if you are planning to spend some extra money to buy a high-end heater, you must know that it would be worth the investment.
Is there any advantage of buying high-end water heaters?
High end water heaters feature premium quality anode rods. These rods are one of the most important parts which contribute towards the smooth functioning of the water heater. So if you pick a lower-end model, you will have the option of replacing the existing rod with a more advanced rod. If you decide to do so, you will have to pay for the new rod and the installation charges.
What is a Water Heater?
Water heating is a process in which water is heated beyond its initial temperature with the help of an energy source. The water heaters that we use today are modern electrical appliances that are utilized for heating water and storing them for personal consumption.
Water is supplied to our homes usually through the pipes that are installed in our vicinity. The temperature of the water flowing through these pipes is influenced by the external temperature or the weather outside. If you need hot water while taking a bath or use a dishwasher, you need to have a water heater at your disposal.
Water heaters have become quite common in most households today. They are big and resemble large-sized metallic cylinders or drums. Because of their size, they are mostly placed in the basement or the laundry room. The newer models have a slightly different design and boast of additional features but the traditional water heaters continue to be the most preferred and popular.
The conventional water heaters have a simple but high-utility design. The drum-shaped device is filled with water and has a heating mechanism either inside or at the bottom surface. Water heaters are useful simply because they use a basic scientific technique to produce hot water. This warm water reaches directly to your faucet and lets you have access to it without going through an elaborate process.
Components of a Water Heater
A water heater is made of several components. Here is a brief look at them.
The interior of a water heater consists of a large metallic tank that features a water protective liner capable of holding 40-60 gallons of hot water inside it. The outer surface of the tank is dressed in polyurethane foam which is an insulating material. Over this material, there is another outer shell and an insulating blanket.
- Dip tube
A dip tube, placed at the upper part of the tank, is the device through which water gets inside the water heater and then reaches the bottom of the tank where the heating process starts.
- Heating mechanism
The heating mechanism varies depending on the type of heater. Electric water heaters utilize certain heating elements present within the tank to warm up the water. Gas water heaters heat the water using a chimney system and a burner.
- Shut-off valve
The shut-off valve serves the function of stopping the flow or entry of the water inside the heater. This is a standalone component that is usually placed above the water heater.
- Heat-out pipe
The heat-out pipe helps in the process of hot water coming out of the water heater.
This device helps in controlling and keeping a track of the temperature of the water inside the water heater.
- Drain valve
A drain valve is situated at the bottom of the exterior housing. It comes into use when you need to empty the tank and get new elements inside it or remove contaminants. It is also helpful when you shift the tank from one place to another.
- Pressure relief valve
It is a safety device that helps in controlling the pressure inside the heater. Its job is to minimize the possibility of over-pressurization happening inside the device.
- Sacrificial anode rod
The sacrificial anode rod features a steel core and is largely made of aluminum or magnesium. It is suspended inside the tank to ensure it remains safe from corrosion.
Heating the Water
The water heating process is quite refined and elaborate. The thermostat regulates the temperature of the water present inside the tank. You can set the temperature between 120-180 degrees Fahrenheit. The water that you get is warm enough for your consumption needs but not overly warm or the kind that can harm you. If there are children in the house and they need to use hot water, make sure you regulate the temperature yourself and ensure that the temperature is not too high.
Also, if you set the water to a lower temperature, you will end up conserving energy too. The thermostat is placed under a cover plate. It features a knob that can be turned around to change or set the temperature.
The dib tube transfers water from the water lines of your home to the bottom of the water heater tank. This is where the water first starts heating up. The heating element remains constant until the water reaches a particular temperature. Gradually, as the water warms up more, it reaches the uppermost surface of the tank. This is the area where the heat-out pipe is placed. As hot water tends to rise above cold water, the topmost area of the water heater always tends to be the hottest.
When Does The Water Heater Stop Working?
There are several factors that could result in the failure of the water heater. One of the most common reasons behind a water heater malfunctioning is over-pressurization. When excessive heating is exerted at the inlet or the machine suffers from excessive heating, it can collapse. To avoid this from happening, you have to monitor the pressure and the temperature carefully. Make sure that the temperature is 140 degrees or lower. The adjustable valve which is found near the inlet helps significantly in reducing the flow.
Another factor that leads to the failure of the tank is sediments building up inside it. The contaminants or chemicals present inside the machine results in corrosion or rust. That, in turn, leads to the machine getting damaged and water getting leaked out of it. Make it a point to clean the device regularly. If you are not too sure about the cleaning processes, you can refer to the manual or seek professional help.
When you are planning to buy a new water heater and look for one online, go through the product description carefully. If you have time, visit the official website of the product or the brand and get all the relevant information about it. It is recommended that you pick a model that features an anode rod.
An anode rod is very effective at pulling in different kinds of contaminants present in the water. Keeping these contaminants away from the tank vastly helps in protecting it against the risk of corrosion. Since the rod deals with contaminants, it will get corroded because of their presence over a period of time. If the rod is absent, they would damage the tank. Replacing an anode rod is much more convenient and cheaper than getting the heater replaced.
When Should a Water Heater Be Replaced?
If you have been using a water heater for a while and are familiar with the way it functions, you would find it very easy to observe the problems, if any, associated with it. One of the most obvious signs of it malfunctioning is its inability to deliver hot water. Water leaking from the machine or the hardware showing signs of corrosion are some of the other issues with old water heaters. Getting a water heater repaired is always a difficult task. A minor issue with the device can be fixed but often the problem demands you to replace the machine altogether.
Most water heaters start malfunctioning or showing prominent signs of aging when they cross the ten-year mark. If you have been using a water heater for more than a decade, it is time you get it replaced with a new one. You do not have to make an impulsive decision based only on the age of the machine. However, if the heater is very old and it is malfunctioning repeatedly, getting it replaced would be a wise option.
If the heater makes a gurgling-like sound frequently, you must know that a large number of contaminants have built up inside it. The contaminants could warm up exceedingly and explode inside the tank causing a lot of damage.
- Quality of the water
If you notice a tint to the water when it flows out of the faucet, it could strongly indicate the presence of impurities like rust inside the tank. The presence of rust is also one of the first warning signs towards leakage issues in a tank.
- No hot water
A water heater’s primary purpose is to provide hot water. When it fails in doing so, you know there is a serious problem. Even when the water coming out of it is less warm than it ideally should be, you must get the machine checked by a technician.
When puddles of water emerge around the area where your water heater is placed, you must know there is a serious leakage issue and the tank needs to be checked as soon as possible.
Technology is constantly evolving and getting better with time. Companies that manufacture water heaters claim that the models being produced today are far more efficient and long-lasting than the ones that were being manufactured just a couple of years ago. The new-age water heaters also heat water quicker. However, today when people are getting more conscious about energy conservation and realize its importance, it is advisable to look for devices that come with Energy Star Certification. While the primary concern remains about the durability of the machine, you must make a conscious effort to get one that saves you a good amount of money while it lasts.