Is your water heater performing poorly? Is it taking too long to heat the water? When a unit stops functioning, it can be very frustrating. Luckily hot water repairs can be sorted promptly with an experienced plumber. Also, there are a few troubleshooting options to try when the hot water issue occurs. It’s advisable to explore what is causing the problem because sometimes you can easily fix it. In this article, we’ll explain some of the reasons you may be having issues with your hot water heater and some tips to troubleshoot.
What are the different types of water heaters?
First things first. You need to find out what kind of heater you have. There are five types of water heaters:
Conventional Storage Tank Water Heater
This system is the most popular water heater on the market. How much hot water you have available depends on the capacity of the tank. The tank is insulated, which means that the water will remain warm until it is used.
Clean the tank regularly to increase the lifespan of the water heater. Remove the sediment and mineral from the tank up to twice a year to reduce corrosion.
- $ Affordable
- Easy to install.
- Hot water repairs are easy.
– May take up to an hour to reheat a new load.
Tankless/On-Demand Water heater.
This type of heater makes use of modern technology and can offer endless hot water for your property.
It has no tank, so it uses a super-heated coil that fills with water and heats it in a flash as needed. That’s why we call it an “on-demand” water heater.
It’s an excellent option for households with many tenants or large families as it can serve a large amount of hot water at once.
Usually, this system works better in properties with a natural gas supply.
The bigger the tankless water heater, the larger the gas line or electricity capacity required. Make sure a qualified plumber installs your heating system.
Even though there is no tank, the heater needs to be cleaned at least every twelve months to remove the mineral scale. Preventing corrosion will drastically increase the lifespan of this type of heater, and with a little regular maintenance, a high-quality model can last up to ten years.
- Energy efficient
- Unlimited hot water
- $$ Initial investment is significantly higher than other tanks
- Usually, it requires more extensive gas lines or more power capacity
- Professionals are needed for even the simplest hot water repairs.
Heat Pump / Hybrid Water heater
This heater is one of the best options for budget-conscious homeowners. It’s sure to help you reduce your electricity bills.
The beauty of this system is that it uses heat in the air and/or ground to heat water. For Example, the heater can be integrated with the air conditioning system, making use of the heat “waste” produced by the aircon. Essentially, electricity is used to transfer the heat from the air and ground to the water.
This technology saves up to 60% on electricity compared to traditional water heaters.
- The storage tank needs to be cleaned twice per year.
- Outstanding energy efficiency
- Incredible cost-efficiency in the long run
- Easy hot water repairs
- $$$$ One of the most expensive systems
- Very dependent on environmental conditions (it won’t work correctly in climates with extensive cold periods)
- As the pump needs to be installed on the top of the property, a bit of room is required (usually up to eight feet of vertical clearance)
Solar Water Heater
Solar water heaters are an eco-friendly solution that draws energy from the sun. It’s an excellent solution if you have solar panels or plan to install a solar panel system on your property.
Solar water heaters are the most energy-efficient. The system works by transferring the panels’ energy to a closed-loop system containing a heat-conductive material, which then heats the water in the tank.
- The storage tank needs to be cleaned up to twice per year
- Solar Panel Maintenance
- Super Energy efficient.
- Can save a lot of money on sunny days and are the perfect fit for warm, sunny climates
- Perhaps the most environmentally friendly and sustainable water heater system
- $$$$$ Incredibly expensive
- Very dependant on the environmental conditions
- You may need an alternate source of power for the water heating system
- Although the solar water heater repairs are not that expensive, the solar panel maintenance is
Condensing water heater
This water heater uses unused gas fumes to heat water.
Condensing water heaters are a fantastic option for households that use natural gas as the primary energy source.
These systems funnel heated exhaust from the natural gas system, which is then is used to heat the water stored in a tank. The gas fumes conduct through a coil on the tank. Therefore, it uses very little energy besides the gas already burned on other appliances.
- Storage tank needs to be cleaned up to twice per year
- Valves need to be cleaned once a year
- $ Affordable
- Energy-efficient for families in a natural gas supplied home
- Cheap water heater repairs
- It requires a larger tank than conventional heaters
Now that you know what kind of water heater you have installed, let’s discuss the most common issues with water heaters.
Common issues with water heaters:
Very frequently, the gas or electricity supply is a significant problem. The first step is to check with your energy provider that everything is running adequately. If they confirm the issue is not with them, we recommend you start with the troubleshooting.
Warning: Before checking any electrical issue, turn off the power to the water heater’s circuit. Also, test all the wires with a non-contact voltage tester and confirm the power is off.
Water Heater Temperature Issues
a) No hot water.
There could be many causes: a/ the system is not getting power; b/ it may have tripped the limit switch; or one or more heating elements failed. Ensure that the heater circuit breaker has not tripped. If it has tripped, switch it off and on again.
If the breaker didn’t trip (it remains on), call a qualified plumber to troubleshoot, find the issue and fix it ASAP.
If that doesn’t solve the problem, it’s time to call a qualified plumber to test every heating element.
b) The water is not hot enough.
Sometimes the heater won’t heat enough water. This issue usually happens because the system is too small for the property.
Make sure the water heater works only at 75 per cent of its capacity. For example, for a 40-litre tank, the demand shouldn’t exceed 30 litres per load.
c) The water temperature is too hot.
One or both thermostat settings may be set too high. We advise you to get a specialist to set the thermostats correctly or troubleshoot to find other potential causes.
This problem is frequently caused by leaking valves or plumbing connections. It can also be related to tank problems due to poor maintenance. Leaking water can have a very negative impact on the household. Hence it is vital to fix the leak promptly.
Leaks from water heater tanks are usually related to any of the following:
- Loose heating elements
A qualified plumber can ensure there is no looseness on any component and replace any missing component. This is normally a quick job, so don’t worry, our technicians have got you covered.
Rust-Coloured Water or Bad Odor
If your water comes out with a yellow, brown or red tint, you likely have a corrosion issue inside the water heater tank or in the pipe system of your household.
If there is a rotten eggs smell, your water heater tank probably has bacteria. You might need to replace the anode rod in the tank.
Usually, a water heater will become noisy when sediment builds up in the bottom of the tank. The noises are created by hot water bubbles moving up through the built-up sediment in the bottom of the tank. It causes a popping sound. There are many risks when servicing a heater so avoid doing it yourself. Always let an expert do it for you.
What to Consider When Choosing a Water Heater?
- Warranty: make sure you have at least ten years warranty. Also, make sure you’re purchasing your heater from a company that has been established for at least ten years in your local area. You don’t want to buy a product from a company that can potentially go broke before your warranty ends.
- Drain Valves: Plastic or Brass?
Plastic may be less reactive, but neither material is corrosive.
Brass is far more durable, more malleable, and more temperature resistant than plastic materials. The performance won’t be affected, but the overall lifespan of the product will increase if you choose brass.
- Anti-Scale Devices inside the tank
The mineral scale can cause damage to your water heater tank. Some brands include anti-scale devices at the bottom of the tank to prevent sediment build-up.
- Glass-Lined Tanks
The ceramic enamel coating is a popular feature nowadays and may even be a standard design for some manufacturers. Although this is not a necessary inclusion, it could slow down the corrosion process inside your water heater tank, and help to avoid water heater repairs in the short and midterm.
- Digital Displays
Water heaters without the digital display typically show essential readings, like overall pressure and water temperature. The digital display is a modern feature that would make your life easier.
How to install your new water heater?
We highly recommend you hire a qualified water heater repairs specialist. You are investing in a new system, therefore you would want to have it properly installed. Also, certified plumbers would have a full license and be insured to give you peace of mind. If you have any question or want to check, repair or install a water heater, give us a call and we’ll send a specialist to your location!