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Most homeowners don’t think about their water heater until it breaks down or it ruptures and floods their basement floors. However, it’s one of the most important appliances in the home. If you’ve just installed a new tank-style water heater, it should last for eight to 12 years, depending on the manufacturer and how well you take care of it. For your appliance to last this long, it requires regular maintenance and checkups from a qualified plumber.
Not sure if your new water heater is working properly? Here are three tips you can use to check to see if it’s heating correctly and working as it should or if it’s time to call for water heater service.
Check Your Water Temperature
One of the most important indicators of your water heaters’ health is temperature. The correct temperature of your system also plays an important role in how efficient it is.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends you set your water heater at a temperature that’s no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding.
Most manufacturers preset your new water heater to this temperature, but it’s a good idea to check to see what the setting it on the dial on the front of the heater, especially if you are experiencing some hot water but not enough. You can adjust this temperature higher or lower. If you have children, it’s a good idea to set the temperature to around 100 degrees.
Once you get your new hot water heater installed, it can take 30 minutes to several hours for it to reach its optimal operating temperature, depending on whether you use gas or electricity to heat the unit. If you’ve water several hours and the water isn’t as warm as expected or if it’s still running cold, reset the breaker and check to make sure the unit is getting power.
The amount of hot water you can expect to get out of your tank at a time depends on the capacity of the tank and how much water each individual uses. A small 23-to-36-gallon water heater should heat enough water to accommodate the needs of one to two people. A family of five or more should consider a tank that’s 56 gallons or more. If not, you may find you spend a lot of time waiting between showers for the water to reheat. Regardless of the size of the tank, you can improve efficiency by adding insulation to the hot water pipes and the system to prevent it from overworking and to reduce energy loss.
If the heater is getting enough power and is set to the correct temperature but you still don’t have enough hot water to fill your bathtub, the tank may be too small for your home. In either case, it may be time to call for water heater service to remedy the situation.
Understanding Unusual Noises
One sign there could be something wrong with a new water heater setup is unusual noises. In older units, the sound is typically caused by steam bubbles trapped in hard water sediments or mineral deposits that have gathered at the bottom. The result is a loud knocking or popping sound. In a new unit, this is rarely the case because sediments haven’t had time to accumulate.
If you’re hearing bangs, gurgles and even a boiling sound from a new unit, this could indicate overheating or pressure buildup. Other noises could be from poor water flow into the unit, changes in the water pressure in your plumbing system or even the pipes in your home can cause noises as warm and cold water passes through them changing the diameter of the plumbing tubes. In any case, it’s important to contact a plumber and have the unit looked at to rule out anything serious and the help remedy the situation.
Checking for Leaks
While it’s more common for an older water heater to leak, a leak in a new unit is possible for many different reasons. One of the most common causes of a water heater leak in a new water heater is a loose drain valve. While it is rare, the water pressure buildup inside a new into can also lead to leakages because the water has nowhere else to go. Excessive pressure due to a damaged or faulty relief valve can lead to an emergency situation.
It’s also important to keep in mind that a small amount of water at the base of your water heater may not be the unit that is leaking. There may be an issue with the fittings and in some cases it may the pipes nearby that are sources of water. Also, if your floor slopes, the water may have traveled from another area.
If you notice any amount of water around your water heater, you need to address the issue as soon as possible. Even a small amount can cause a large amount of damage, so it’s important to call for water heater services and assess the situation as soon as possible.
Contact bluefrog Plumbing + Drain
Regardless of the age of your system, water heater service and maintenance can help keep your unit running efficiently and improve the functionality of the appliance. If you have well water and have problems with hard water, you can avoid sediment buildup in a new tank by having it flushed out regularly. Also, a regular check of the abode rod and the pressure relief valve will help ensure the unit is working properly.
To ensure your new hot water heater is installed and working correctly, trust the professionals at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain. We offer a full range of plumbing services, including 24-7 emergency service. Contact us today by phone or schedule service online for all of your plumbing needs.