Water Heater Repair Or Replacement: Which Is Your Best Option? | San Antonio, TX

Water Heater Repair Or Replacement: Which Is Your Best Option? | San Antonio, TX

It’s going to happen eventually, and while you may be able to put it off with a good maintenance schedule, the day will come when your water heater decides to call it quits, leaving you wondering if you should repair or replace it altogether. For many, the decision between water heater repair and replacement in San Antonio, TX, may not be the easiest to make. In order to make your decision a bit easier, this article will cover all of the possible scenarios in which water heater repair is possible, how to troubleshoot the problem before you call a water heater repair specialist in San Antonio, TX, and when you should definitely replace the entire thing. So, let’s take a look at what you should know before you try to repair a water heater that is too far gone.

How Long Should the Average Water Heater Last?

When properly maintained, the average lifespan of a water heater in San Antonio, TX, can be anywhere from eight to 12 years. How long your own water heater lasts will depend on a few factors, including its design, how well it was installed, how well you have adhered to a good maintenance program, and the quality of the water in your specific area. Keep in mind that if your water heater was installed over 10 years ago, or if it has started sprouting small leaks around the bottom of the tank, instead of considering water heater repair, your best bet is to replace the old water heater with a new and more efficient one. In this case, upgrading your water heater will offset the cost of doing so by helping you save on power to run it. So, when faced with a very old water heater that won’t be working for much longer, a replacement is the way to go.

If your water heater is less than 10 years old, water heater repair is probably the best option, so before you start looking for a new unit, it’s best to call in a water heater repair service for a diagnosis and an expert opinion on what options you have.

Things to Look for Before Calling an Expert

Many people know that the most common signal of trouble with a water heater is that the water coming out of their fixtures isn’t as hot as it should be, and in many cases it’s not even warm at all. When this happens, the problem can usually be found in the thermostat or the heating element, but before you call a water heater repair company, there are a few things you should check out, including the following:

When You Have an Electric Water Heater

  • Check if the power supply to the water heater is connected and reset the thermostat.
  • If you know how to do it, flush the water heater. This will empty out any sediment that has settled inside the tank and which could be preventing the water from heating properly.
  • Check if the pipes used to conduct hot water are properly insulated.
  • Check the thermostat’s temperature setting, and adjust it as necessary.

When You Have a Gas Powered Water Heater

  • Check if the pilot light is on. If not, light it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If you know how to do it, flush the water heater. This will empty out any sediment that has settled inside the tank and which could be preventing the water from heating properly.
  • Check if the hot water pipes are well insulated.
  • Verify if the gas burner is clean.
  • Increase the temperature on the thermostat

Other Things to Look For

  • Strange noises: Most water heaters will make a bit of noise when they turn on, but if you hear sizzling or hissing noises coming from your unit, it could be a sign of trouble and you will have to call a water heater repair professional to fix the problem.
  • A leak in the relief valve: If you find a leak in your water heater’s pressure relief valve, turn off the water supply and call for water heater repair.

The Value of Maintenance

While most of the newer water heaters require very little maintenance, it is always a good idea to take certain steps to protect your unit and lengthen its life. Let’s take a look at the most common ones in San Antonio, TX:

  • Drain your water heater’s tank every six months in order to remove any sediment that could cause it to corrode. Doing this will also make your water heater more efficient by removing anything that could interrupt its function.
  • Lower your thermostat’s temperature setting to 120 degrees. This will prevent the tank from overheating, reducing the damage excessive heat could cause.
  • Schedule an annual inspection with a water heater repair company to determine if any potential issues could cause your water heater to break down in the near future.

When You Have No Choice but to Replace Your Water Heater

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to save your existing water heater and you will have to replace your unit. Talk to your water heater repair expert to discuss your options, possible upgrades, and whether they will be able to perform the installation of your new unit.

Some of the Most Common Repairs

Most people in San Antonio, TX,  have come to rely on their water heaters to the point in which they actually forget about their existence until they start failing. Think about it this way, when you turn on the shower every morning, and hot water starts coming out, you don’t think about your water heater, but, if a few minutes later, when you are covered in soap the water suddenly turns cold and you find yourself jumping as far away from it as possible, you will start wondering what is going on. Hot water has become a permanent part of our daily lives. It provides comfort, and we have become accustomed to it always being there. So, when it doesn’t come out as warm as we want or just turns cold unexpectedly we will suddenly remember that we actually own a water heater, and we may be in need of water heater repair.

While not all water heaters are created equally, many of the most common repairs are very similar among all of them. These are the ones that are required most often:

  • Replacement of the heating element: When you own an electric water heater, you will find that it heats the water in the tank by using two heating elements. Very often, one of the heating elements will fail before the other one does. When this happens, your water heater’s ability to heat the water in the tank to the level it should, will be greatly reduced, so, even though the water will still feel warm, it won’t be hot. When the second heating element finally fails the only water coming out of your fixtures will be cold, and if this happens in winter, it will be freezing. When you call a water heater repair professional, they can perform an inspection of your water heater to determine whether this is the problem, and replace the heating element that has broken down, or both if necessary so your water heater starts doing its job again.
  • Cleaning and repair of the burner and its accessories: A gas powered water heater will work differently from an electric one in what refers to heating your home’s water. In this case, it will require a burner assembly lit by a pilot light in order to heat the water in the tank, in similar fashion to placing a pot full of water on a gas stove when you want to make soup. The problem with these components is that they tend to build up ash and soot, especially when you don’t perform any maintenance on your unit. This accumulation can cause an increase in your gas bill and a markedly low efficiency, resulting in water that is not as hot as it should be, or no hot water at all. If you check your water heater’s burner assembly and you notice a black powdery substance accumulating on the plate, you should call in a water heater repair expert to clean or replace the faulty parts as necessary, so your water heater starts working efficiently once again.
  • Repair of leaky valves: Certain water heaters have a type of valve, known as a temperature-pressure relief valve, which will normally help to relieve excess pressure in the tank of the water heater. This valve will wear out with time and use, which can cause it to leak. If left unattended, the amount of water lost as a result of the leak will cause your water bill to increase and could cause an uncertain amount of water damage to your San Antonio, TX, home’s foundation and/or structure. It may also place your family at risk for injuries, so call a water heater repair expert to replace the valve as soon as you notice the leak.

Things You Should Consider If You Have to Replace Your Water Heater

If your water heater malfunctions, the water heater repair professional will be able to tell you what is wrong with it after the initial inspection. It is at this point you may be informed that no amount of water heater repair will be able to save your unit and you will have to replace it. While you may find it tempting to buy the same type of water heater you already have, this is when you should consider upgrading to a better model, so you will need to know what features to look for in a new water heater in order to select the best one for your home’s needs. Talk to your tech about the following items:

  • Capacity
  • Recovery rate
  • Dimensions
  • Energy efficiency rating

By choosing the features your San Antonio, TX, home actually requires, you will be able to select a water heater that saves money on power and is more efficient at producing the amount of hot water your family needs. A good rule of thumb is to check the plate located to the side of your current water heater to gather information on what you’ve been using up until now. This will be a good guideline for you to decide how you want to upgrade.

Other Things to Consider

The new water heater models tend to be more efficient and less costly than the older models, so, if you find yourself needing a replacement keep in mind the different types available on the market today, as well as the following considerations:

  • Tank or Tankless? One of the biggest differences between these two types of water heaters is their initial cost. While a tank water heater will usually fit better into your budget, the cost of heating and reheating the water in the tank might put a strain on your power bill over the long term. A tankless water heater will represent a way to save money by only heating the water you need, when you need it.
  • Gas or Electricity? If you already have a gas water heater, you should probably choose a new one that also runs on gas, because your existing installation will ensure your utility bills are less costly than if you switch to an electric water heater. If your current water heater is powered by electricity, the cost of a gas connection will make your replacement more expensive.

Even though repairing an old water heater may be desirable, in most cases you will find that replacing it will save you money over the long term, so weigh your options carefully before you go ahead and buy the first water heater you find.

Looking for the Best Water Heater Repair Company?

Ignoring the signs of a failing water heater can result in a more costly replacement. So, when you are in need of water heater repair, look no further than bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of San Antonio, the foremost expert in the field. Nobody will ever tell you to live with cold showers, so don’t hesitate and give us a call today!

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