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Water Heaters 101

Water Heaters 101

Tucked away in a corner of your home is a friend you may not often think about. Your water heater keeps your showers hot, cleans dishes, and helps keep your laundry fresh every day. Most of us would be uncomfortable and inconvenienced without this unassuming appliance, yet in many cases, we allow it to continue on without much thought. This lack of attention can lead to premature breakage and unfortunate cold showers.

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While many repairs on these appliances should be left to the professionals, there are some basic steps you can take to ensure the long life of your current water heater. Additionally, there are new modern options you may want to take advantage of for better performance and increased eco-friendliness. There are even solar-augmented water heaters to take advantage of the Florida sunshine!

Types of Water Heating System

There are two main types of water heating systems available for installation in your home. Each one has advantages, and you may find one better suits your needs than the other. Many people are surprised at the amount they can save with a non-traditional water heating system.

The best known and most classical type of water heater is the tanked model. This appliance employs a storage reservoir in which water is heated and stored for later use. While the outside of the tank is often made of steel or another metal, the inside consists of insulation and likely a glass lining to guard against corrosion. Tanked heaters keep hot water at the ready, which requires additional energy expenditure.

These systems may have enhancements available, such as solar panels to harness natural light to heat water. This may offset the energy expenditure created by the need to store hot water. Accessories such as insulation blankets can also prevent energy loss.

A tankless heater for water, or a demand-type water heater, does not store water. Instead, the unit turns on and heats heats the water as it passes through the plumbing to provide hot water when the appropriate faucet is turned on. These appliances may be powered by electricity, propane, or natural gas. The gas tankless units seem to work the best. Electric tankless water heaters seem to be a little more temperamental. While these models can provide up to 34% greater energy efficiency in a home, households with high hot water demand may require more than one unit installed to keep up with the need.

Basic Water Heater Maintenance

Ensure your appliance has sufficient clear space around it. Six inches of clearance around all sides of the tank and system allow for ventilation, as well as easy access for emergency repairs. This can be especially important for propane or natural gas water heaters. As ever, if you smell gas, or you suspect a leak, contact the local utility company for immediate emergency assistance.

Inspect the water heater for outside damage at least twice a year. If you have noticed a foul smell from your water heater, it may have developed bacteria growth. Flushing the tank and introducing a product designed to kill bacteria, such as peroxide, can help. If you do not feel comfortable doing so, you should always consult a professional.

Fenwick Home Services Can Help

Water heating systems play such an important role in your daily life, it can be intimidating to deal with them yourself. Contact Fenwick Home Services today for the answers to any questions you may have about water heater maintenance, a tankless system, or other plumbing concerns!