Most people don't worry about their water heaters until something goes wrong or they run out of hot water. If this occurs in the coming months, you should be aware of new federal requirements requiring more energy-efficient water heaters. While this is beneficial to your budget, it may make selecting a new water heater more difficult.
Your water heater should be considered for replacement every 10 years or when it fails a safety test. A little heat and water on a regular basis can be good for your health, so consider how often you need to replace your water heater based on how many gallons of water it delivers per day. In general, a larger unit will use less electricity than a small unit and be more efficient. It also depends on how often you use hot water for washing dishes, clothes, and yourself.
If you plan to stay in your current home for several years, it might make sense to update your water heater now instead of buying a new house. There are many options available today, from traditional gas tanks to high-efficiency electric models. It's important to select a water heater that matches your needs and your budget.
Make sure your water heater isn't at risk of failure before you choose a model. This includes units more than 10 years old as well as those that aren't being used regularly. If you know you'll be away for some time, you should also consider a standby generator to provide heat during power outages.
3 It's conceivable that your water heater is beyond its prime. Most water heaters have a lifespan of 10 to fifteen years. After then, their efficiency plummets, perhaps leading to greater energy expenses. If your water heater is older than 15 years, consider replacing it. Modern water heaters are extremely efficient, so they don't use much electricity. But remember, even a new heater will use some power until it reaches operating temperature. So if you're trying to save money by using an old one, you might be sacrificing some comfort.
4 Yes, a hot-water reservoir can increase your electric bill. If you have an electric tankless heater, there's a small battery-powered pump inside that keeps the water flowing in your house. This mechanism requires a constant supply of electricity to work. If you have another type of tank heater, the same thing happens with the valve on top of the heater. It needs to stay open for some time after you turn off the main burner because the water in the tank must drain out over time or it will explode. If you leave this valve open when you go to bed, it could cost you dearly in the morning.
5 Of course! The more people that use hot water at one time, the more that will eat into your electricity allotment.
While it may appear to be an annoyance to you, your water heater is really protecting you from significant problems. Fortunately, this is one of the simplest hot water heater problems to detect, if not repair, on your own. It is not difficult to diagnose an electric water heater. All you need is a voltmeter and some basic wiring knowledge.
If you're lucky enough to have a gas-powered water heater, then all you need to do is turn off the gas valve at the wall meter before beginning work on your heater. Not doing so could result in serious injury or death. Be sure to follow any instructions that come with your water heater for removal of any hazardous materials such as gasoline or oil. Some water heaters have double walls and require the interior pipe be removed first before you can reach the outer casing. Other heaters can be taken out piece by piece in the field after the gas supply has been shut off.
Once you've turned off the gas, start by reading the operating manual that came with your heater. This will help you determine what type of fuse to replace and where it should be located. Heaters are usually replaced by their model number for maintenance purposes or when there is damage to the tank. For example, if there is corrosion to the heating element or if there is leakage from the bottom of the tank, this would be indicated by a service call required.