Plumbing systems play an integral role in our lives—not only are they responsible for moving water and gas into and out of our homes; they provide us with the conveniences we expect from day to day. Just like HVAC systems are unique to your home, and require maintenance and service, plumbing systems are regarded in much the same way. In residential applications, water heaters are considered the powerhouse of water heating. Most homeowners utilize traditional storage tanks to provide a hot water supply.
Consider how much you depend on a consistent supply of hot water. Whether it’s for washing dishes, cleaning clothes, cooking, taking showers or baths, we require hot water for many daily tasks and activities. According to the Department of Energy, water heaters account for nearly 17% of a home’s energy use and consume more energy than all other household appliances combined. Proper maintenance of your plumbing systems, mainly the water heater, is very important. Maintenance is one of the only ways to ensure your equipment works properly and efficiently now and well into the future.
Why does my water heater need maintenance?
In order to justify service, let us help you understand why your water heater needs maintenance. Over time, as water is pumped in and out of the tank, dirt, sediment and other minerals settle at the bottom. When these substances build up, rust develops and starts corroding the interior. This affects operation and water quality, as well as causes damage that leads to costly repairs and equipment replacements. Regular maintenance, including services like an equipment inspection, anode rod check and tank flushing are critical to preventing build up, rust and corrosion.
Water heating equipment
Conventional—Traditional storage tanks store between 20 to 80 gallons of hot water. In an article posted on BuilderOnline, it’s suggested that even though traditional units never stop running only about 70% of the hot water in a tank is available for use. This is why when multiple appliances or fixtures are running, sometimes we experience a shortage of hot water. Conventional tanks require space inside your home. Most are installed in laundry rooms, closets, basements, or anywhere with a water hook-up.
Because these units aren’t very efficient, the DOE has phased out some conventional models. The final rule regarding new standards for water heaters went into effect April 2015. These efficiency standards affect homeowners with older, conventional models. If you need to replace your water heater—storage tanks typically last between 10-15 years—there are several options. You can choose a compliant model similar to what you have now, or a high efficiency model like tankless or hybrid.
Related: Things to consider before going tankless
Tankless—On-demand works in the exact opposite way of tank models because it creates hot water only when needed. These are fueled by either a gas or electric component, and only activated when the plumbing signifies it’s time to heat water. A compact unit, there is no bulky storage tank taking up valuable closet or storage space. Tankless water heaters offer reliable performance and better efficiency. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits to a homeowner is their 20 year or more lifespan. On the flip side, these require a greater investment.
Hybrid— These are an air-source heat pump that works by extracting heat from the air and using it to assist in water heating. Hybrid models offer the benefits and technologies of both conventional and tankless units. High performing, energy efficient, compact and low maintenance, hybrid water heaters pack a lot of punch in a small package. This method of water heating is similar to tankless unit operation, but requires a tank for water like a conventional model. Hybrid units have an average life expectancy similar to tankless models, possibly longer.
Related: More on hybrid water heaters
Count on some of the best plumbers in Richmond
R.J. Tilley is experienced in all aspects of plumbing and recognizes the importance of periodic water heater maintenance. Our technicians are also knowledgeable in virtually every make and model of water heater. If you’re interested in learning more about efficient water heaters and installation, we’re happy to help you decide what’s best for your family based on lifestyle and usage needs. To find out more about maintenance and equipment installation, contact R.J. Tilley today.