Water heaters are a necessity in a modern home, so what are you to do when yours begins to have problems? It's easy to forget about your water heater until it's malfunctioning. When a problem does arise, you may be left wondering who to call for help. It may seem the obvious call would be to a plumber, but your local HVAC service provider can also handle your water heater service issues. Many modern water heaters are hybrid units with mechanisms similar to heat pumps. These innovative hybrid models use refrigerant gas, and sometimes they cannot be serviced by plumbing or electrical companies. But, even if you have a traditional system, HVAC service providers are equipped with the technical skills and expertise to handle all of your water heater needs.
If you think your water heater needs repair or servicing, calling an HVAC technician may seem wrong. Still, much of the experience gained from maintaining an HVAC system can be applied to repair, maintenance, and installation for water heaters. HVAC service skills like wiring, electrical, and plumbing can easily be transferred to the care of water heater systems. HVAC service providers with NATE-certified technicians on staff are equipped to handle many of the issues common with water heaters.
How to Spot Water Heater Problems
If you aren't sure whether or not your system needs repairs, you can review this list of common signs that can mean possible water heater issues.
Signs it may be time to replace your water heater include:
- Your hot water is running out faster than usual
- Your water heater has needed regular repair
- Your water heater is an older system
- Your water heater is corroded and rusty
- Discolored water comes from your tap
- There are water leaks around your water heater
- Noisy sounds are coming from your system
The average water heater lasts for about ten years, and when they operate past that mark, they can lose their efficiency. You can check the age of your system by locating the manufacture date using the serial number on the unit. When water heaters get older, they can also become noisy and provide inconsistent output. Older water heaters also make it easier for sediment to pile at the bottom. As your system gets older, the hot water output may suffer. Sediment build-up can reduce the capacity of your water heater and impact output. Fractures can develop over time in an aging water heater. The storage tank can weaken from contracting from temperature changes while heating water.
Differences Between Tankless and Hybrid Water Heaters
If you've noticed problems with your water heater, now may be the time to upgrade to a new or different system. All water heaters are not the same. Hybrids and tankless systems provide many benefits. They are cheaper to operate and have a longer lifespan. These newer systems are quite different from traditional storage tank models, which store water in quantities of 20 to 50 gallons on average. The costs associated with newer models can deter many homeowners, but the savings over the appliance's life more than make up for upfront spending.
- Tankless Water Heaters: These systems are designed to heat only a few gallons per minute on-demand, typically between two to five gallons. With the average home using 84 gallons per day, a tankless system can provide adequate hot water when needed, which is an energy cost savings.
- Hybrid Water Heaters: These systems are like traditional water heaters. They have a storage tank, but instead of creating heat to warm the water, it converts heat from the surrounding air, much like how an HVAC system works.