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Hot water repair is still mostly about tank-based hot water heaters and their important maintenance items and points of failure over their lifetime. With proper servicing, they can last a pretty long time so it’s worth keeping up with care. Hybrid water heaters have many of the same issues as traditional tank-based water heaters, as long as the water heater repair team understands the new, more efficient heating technology. Then there’s the endless blast of hot water from a tankless water heater, bringing cold water up to temperature quickly as it passes through, and continuing as long as you need it. These devices are convenient and typically last longer than tank-based units, plus they usually require fewer repairs as long as they receive necessary maintenance. At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of San Antonio, TX, our expert plumbers handle all three of these popular water heater repair situations, and others as well.
Hard Water Issues Common to All Units and the Rest of Your Plumbing
In San Antonio, TX, we have hard water issues, so the same minerals dissolved in our water supply that makes shampooing and washing up more difficult and leave scaling in the coffee maker have a corrosive effect on plumbing and leave scaling in water heaters that affect their operation. In tank-free units, water heater repair for heating element malfunction can often involve removing accumulated mineral scaling which especially affects the operation of electric units. In tank-based units, scaling gathers at the bottom of the tank, covering the heating element and producing a telltale bubbling sound as heated water pushes through the accumulated material and rises in the tank. It can affect heating efficiency and tank life.
Tank-Based Water Heater Repair
In tank-based units, maintenance is essential to get the most life out of the tank, changing the anode rod to help reduce corrosion and removing sediment if necessary. Checking and possibly replacing the temperature and pressure valve is important because it provides protection against pressure increases that could cause an explosion, especially as the tank weakens over time. Dual heater systems require checking of two elements and thermostats and can produce strange effects if only the upper or lower element is operational, with the most notable effect being reduced hot water supply. Without water heater repair, the household may assume that it’s the hot water usage pattern that is causing the trouble, when in fact it’s just a problem with a heating or thermostat part. In addition to anode rode maintenance, tank lifespan can be improved by the use of a water softener treating the home’s water supply. If one is installed, a different type of anode rod may be necessary to manage the water in the tank properly. These devices also help reduce bacteria growth in tank-based hot water heaters. If there is bacteria growth, it can often be identified by an unpleasant smell coming from the hot water faucets when the water flows. Another issue that may require water heater repair in tank-based units is discolored water, which can have several causes including corrosion and bacteria.
Tank-Based Water Heater Replacement
When the water heater’s tank becomes degraded to the point where it starts to leak or is expected to soon leak, a new unit should be selected and installed as a replacement. Planning ahead can help avoid cleanup from tank leaks or even explosions due to weakened tank walls and pressure inside the closed system. With regular maintenance, water heater repair personnel can identify when replacement is wise, allowing the homeowner time to consider replacement options and schedule the service at the family’s convenience.
Hybrid Water Heater Repair
Water heater repair for hybrid water heater systems is more complex than standard tank-based water heater repair since there are several advanced technologies involved. In addition, the tank and anode rod need to be checked and the anode rod replaced as a periodic water heater repair, just as with the standard tank-based unit. The heat sources for a typical hybrid unit can include a heating element and a compressor-based unit that extracts available heat from nearby air or other sources. Managing these technologies is electronics on a control board, and related sensors, all of which may be involved in a hybrid water heater repair service. When the unit is using extracted heat to warm the water, it can provide significant energy savings, although it still requires electricity to power the compressor and control unit. A standard water heater is one of the most significant components in a home’s energy use, so it’s well worth considering as an option. A hybrid water heater can easily replace a standard unit that needs replacement, though it may require additional space around the unit as part of the heat extraction mechanism. Hybrid water heater repair requires additional knowledge and plumber experience beyond that required to service a standard tank-based unit, so it’s important to ensure your plumbing company is knowledgeable about the unit you need repaired.
Tankless Water Heater Repair
While tankless hot water can cost more to install, it takes less space, provides a steady flow of hot water without regard to tank size, and generally requires fewer water heater repairs. Because the tankless unit heats water as it passes through, the hot water supply is limited by volume, rather than quantity: you can get hot water all day, but you may not be able to take a shower, run the dishwasher, and wash clothes at the same time without interfering with the production of hot water by the unit. If you have a long line of people waiting for the shower in the morning, at least you’ll know that everyone will have their chance to get enough hot water in your San Antonio, TX home!
How It Works
Typical units can be gas or electric-based, and most modern gas-based units no longer have pilot lights, but electric ignition. The unit senses water being drawn through by an open valve somewhere in the home and starts heating the water passing through with a potent heater that actually saves on energy because it’s heating the water once as it passes through, not maintaining a tank full of water at a given temperature for an extended period of time. There are a variety of sensors involved in the proper operation of the unit, along with a control board that manages the unit’s response to hot water demand, the temperature of the water supplied, and other factors, and also monitors safety issues such as vent maintenance.
The unit requires vent cleaning at least once a year, filter cleaning and replacement, and sometimes cleaning of mineral scale accumulated from hard water. One important water heater repair for these units is the removal of scale because it can infringe on the action of the heating element, causing a lack of hot water. Insufficient demand can cause the unit to fail to sense the need for hot water, so faucets have to be opened to more than a trickle, perhaps halfway, to get the heating started. This has the advantage of supplying only cold water to a leaky faucet, rather than wasting energy and water as tank-based units do. When someone draws hot water from one of these units, there may be a burst of residual hot water from the pipes, followed by a brief run of cold water as the unit begins to heat, and then a steady hot water supply. This can be confusing to those inexperienced with tankless hot water heater operation.
Each of these types of units, tank-based, hybrid, and tankless, have their advantages. The standard unit is typically easier and less complicated to install and repair, and so maintains its popularity with many homeowners and property owners. The remaining two provide ways to reduce the homeowner’s energy bill, which is increasingly important these days. Both of them use more advanced technologies, more complex parts, and a significant amount of electronics to achieve their savings and operation. This can lead to repair issues when technicians unfamiliar with the details of operation do more than might be needed to correct problems. Trained and experienced plumbers, however, can easily repair these units that have principles of operation in common with many other household devices such as heat pumps, air conditioners, and heating equipment. Additional energy savings can be achieved by hot water pipe routing from the unit, and insulation of those pipes, especially when they pass through areas that aren’t fully heated, such as unfinished basements.
In-Line Tankless Hot Waters for Localized Use
In many homes, hot water pipes travel some distance from the heater to the destination user, wasting water and some heat as the household member waits for water of the appropriate temperature to flow. This can be exacerbated by a conservative temperature setting on the heater, which is generally suggested to be 120 degrees F by government standards, saving energy and preventing scalding of seniors and children with a reduced sense of touch. Localized tankless hot water heaters designed to heat a supply for bathroom or kitchen use can be an effective solution, providing water heated to the desired temperature, which might be higher than that used in the rest of the house for personal or hygienic reasons. These heaters operate much like whole-house tankless units, providing instant-on hot water which is also an attractive feature.
Hot Water Conservation by Using Modern Faucet Technology and Appliances
Energy conservation at the hot water heater can be matched by selecting washing machines, dishwashers, showerheads, and faucets that efficiently use hot water without compromising performance. Appliances sometimes modify their cycles to improve energy use, they may also heat the water locally as the localized tankless units do, providing for their own hot water needs. Modern showerheads are being developed that can provide good quality spray coverage and strength while reducing their water consumption. Kitchen and bathroom faucets using touch-free and voice control technologies allow users to easily get more flow as needed, without leaving the valve open for the duration of their handwashing, dishwashing, or other activities. Voice-activated kitchen faucets have even been developed that recognize commands like “one gallon of hot water” so a busy cook can fill a pot without waste, even if it’s time to retrieve something from the oven or take a pot from a burner.
Choosing Plumbing Professionals That Make a Difference
There’s an advantage to selecting expert plumbers who can not only make the repairs you need for your hot water heater and other appliances, fix your plumbing and solve drain issues but help you with the expertise and information you need to handle your home’s needs for energy savings, convenience, and comfort. Getting to know your personal San Antonio, TX plumbers also pays when you have major plumbing issues such as water line or sewer repair needs, major drain cleaning service requirements, or repiping of a home with older plumbing that’s reaching the end of its service life. In other words, having a relationship with your preferred plumbing company makes everything about plumbing issues and homeownership or property management easier. Your experts can explain the issues as someone who knows you, and you can ask questions as someone who trusts that they have solid answers for you.
Versatile, Professional Water Heater Repair in San Antonio, TX
Even if you’re not sure what kind of hot water heater you have, when there’s trouble there’s one water heater repair company to call: bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of San Antonio. Our expert plumbers have the knowledge, equipment, and parts to service your system and get you the efficiency, reliability, and hot water supply that you’ve come to expect. When the time comes to replace your unit, we can help with technology selection, unit choice, and convenient planned installation. If hot water heater emergencies arise, we’re also ready to respond and take good care of you. Give us a call and get our expert water heater repair professionals in San Antonio, TX to service your system.