Water heaters are often one of the most unnoticed appliances in your home — until you step into a cold shower one morning! As with any appliance or plumbing system in your home, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with and how best to take care of it. That’s why we’re sharing answers to some of the top questions our customers in the Fox Cities have about water heaters.
What are the different types of water heaters?
There are a few different types of water heaters you may choose from for your home or business. We’ll share some of the most common ones below.
This is probably the type of water heater you’re most familiar with as it’s the most common. As the name suggests, this style of water heater features a tank that holds the water and keeps it warm until it’s used. The capacity of the tank determines how much hot water is available for use.
Tankless water heater (also known as an on-demand water heater)
Unlike conventional water heaters, tankless water heaters don’t use a tank. Rather, they rapidly heat the water as you use it. They’re generally smaller and more efficient.
Heat pump water heater (also known as a hybrid water heater)
This style of water heater is very unique. It uses heat from the air and the ground to heat the water. Rather than using electricity to heat the water, electricity is only used to move heat from the ground or air to the water, so there can be significant cost savings.
Solar-powered water heater
As the name implies, solar water heaters rely on the power of the sun to heat your water. They require solar panels, usually mounted on your roof, to generate the energy that then heats the water.
How long do water heaters last?
A typical water heater will last about 10-15 years. A tankless water heater will generally last about 20 years. Of course, this depends on proper maintenance, how heavily the water heater is used, and other factors.
What are the signs of a failing hot water heater?
Like any other appliance in your home, there is a chance your water heater will fail. If you know the signs, you can potentially catch issues early on before they become a bigger problem. Here are a few of the common problems with water heaters and signs your water heater may be failing:
- Your water heater is 10+ years old.
- You consistently get cold or lukewarm water from your faucets and shower.
- Your water heater is making an odd noise, usually a rumbling sound.
- Your water has a funny smell, taste, or color.
- Water is leaking around the water heater.
Of course, these may not always mean issues with the water heater, but it’s a good place to start. Oftentimes, if you catch issues early, you can possibly repair the water heater rather than a full replacement.
How much does a water heater cost?
Cost depends on the size of your water heater, the type of water heater you get, and a variety of other factors. Talking to a plumbing expert on our team about your home and your family’s needs is the best way to get an accurate estimate.
In general, a conventional hot water heater will generally cost between $1,000-$3,000. A tankless water heater generally costs about $2,000-$4,500. That’s more of an investment upfront but, as noted above, it generally lasts longer.
How do I maintain a water heater?
In general, maintaining your water heater is pretty easy. Basically, all you have to do is clean your water heater 1-2 times each year to remove sediment and mineral scale. This will help prevent corrosion and extend the life of your water heater. At this time, you should also inspect for damage, leaks, and other issues to make sure everything is in good working condition.
Of course, it’s always helpful to have a plumbing professional come in to inspect your water heater, especially if you’re having issues with it. Watters Plumbing services water heaters all around Northeastern Wisconsin and the Fox Cities, including 24-hour emergency service. If you have water heater issues, please give us a call.