Category Archives: Leaks

water-heater-101

Water Heater 101: Maintenance, replacement time and more

You may not look at your water heater very much, but you rely on it every day. When it malfunctions, it’s noticeable, and it can be expensive to repair.

If you feel completely lost when it comes to water heater maintenance, this blog post will give you the basics and let you know when it’s time for replacement.

Welcome to Water Heater 101!

What maintenance should I perform on my water heater to keep it running smoothly?

Before performing any maintenance on your water heater, first shut off the power and read your owner’s manual.

  • Check for signs of thermal expansion (Twice per year)Thermal expansion is the greatest contributor to early water heater failure. If your home has a closed water supply system (one that has a one-way valve to keep water from expanding back into the city’s water supply), your water heater may be at risk. Check for signs of thermal expansion by watching for bulging in the top or bottom surfaces of your tank and signs of deformity in the relief line or connection nipples at the top of your tank. If you have a closed water supply system or you’ve already experienced water heater failure due to thermal expansion, you probably need a thermal expansion tank.
  • On gas units, check your water heater burner (Twice per year) – The burner should appear blue with yellow tips. If it’s mostly yellow or if it’s sooty under there, your flue may be clogged. This is a dangerous situation, and you should call a technician to inspect the appliance.
  • Flush the water to remove built-up sediment (Twice per year) – By removing built-up sediment, you’ll improve your unit’s efficiency and avoid harmful corrosion. This process is especially important for Hoosiers living with Indiana’s hard water! Learn the steps to flush your water heater.
  • Test the pressure-relief valve (Twice per year) – If your water is over 80psi, we recommend a pressure-reducing valve on the system. To test an existing pressure-relief valve, lift the valve’s handle, and let it snap back. This should release a burst of water into the overflow drainpipe. If it doesn’t, your valve needs replaced.
  • Have your water heater serviced by a technician (Every 2 years) – A leaking water heater can cause expensive property damage. Having a qualified professional inspect your water heater on a regular basis will help you avoid costly repairs in the future and extend the life of your appliance.

How long does a water heater typically last?
The average life expectancy of a water heater is 12 to 15 years.

How do I find out how old my water heater is?
Installation dates can typically be found on the “rating plate” or manufacturer’s label attached to the side of your water heater. If you don’t see a specific date, write down the serial number and contact your manufacturer to find out how to decode the age of your water heater from the serial number. You may also be able to find out your manufacturer’s serial number decoding process with a Google search.

How do people know when it’s time to replace their water heater?
If your water heater is more than 12 years old, has a leak around the base of the tank or is not working as efficiently, it’s probably time to replace it. Replacing the unit can improve your energy usage and lower your monthly utility bill. However, before committing to replacing the unit, be sure to check that you haven’t blown a fuse or tripped a breaker, causing your unit’s malfunction.

5 ways to determine if you have a water leak

Leaks are sneaks. They can be obvious or they can be hidden. The hidden ones tend to do the most damage in terms of money and water lost. So it is important to keep an eye out. Here are 5 ways to detect that sneaky leak.wtr44

  1. The toilet is home to many hidden leaks. You would think that your toilet would keep running, but often, the leak is slow enough to only trigger the pump after a significant amount of water has been lost. To determine if you have a faulty flap, drop some food coloring in the tank to see if it seeps into the bowl. If it does, you likely need a new flap in the tank. (Don’t leave it in the bowl. It can stain.)
  2. Check your faucets and showerheads. These can waste 200 gallons a month. The hidden leak may be in your crawlspace to the hose bib next to the patio. The repairs are easily made, but the loss can be expensive.
  3. Sprinkler systems are prone to leaks. Make sure you didn’t chop a head with the mower every time you cut the grass by turning on the system. But follow along the path of the tubing to see if there are any puddles seeping up from the ground.
  4. The easiest way to determine a leak is an unusually high water bill. These indicate how drastic the leak is. If your water usage is up only slightly, you can check the meter after a 2-hour period of no water usage in the home. If there is any water being used.
  5. Know how your water bill is calculated. You can’t tell from a high bill alone. Prices rise from time to time. Some communities follow the sewage bill to determine the water bill. Some towns have a flat rate up to so many gallons. This means you could have a leak and not know it for some time. Be sure to check your water usage on your bill and average it out to determine unusual patterns.

If you have any problems with leak detection or your leak is in a slab, call us and we can help you find the problem. You will save money and water.