Time to Replace Your Water Heater?

Your water heater is one of the most reliable and longest-lasting appliances you have in your home.

Even then, it certainly won’t last forever! So when is the right time to replace your water heater?

As with any other appliance in your home, regular maintenance will help it to work more efficiently and have a longer lifespan.

If you do take good care of your water heater, you can expect it to last 8–10 years.

If you find that your water heater is not heating properly, then a repair may be a better solution than purchasing a new unit. However, there will come a time when you will need to buy a new water heater.

Time to Repair

Drips and Leaks

Your water heater may experience leaks in two places: the pressure-relief valve or the pipes. If it’s the former, then replace the valve. If the pipes are leaking, then first tighten the connections. If that doesn’t eradicate the problem, then replace the fittings. However, remember to turn off the water first!

Water Temperature Is Too Low

A common complaint about water heaters is that the water isn’t heating to the temperature you’d prefer. In this case, you’ll want to troubleshoot some common problems to see if the issue can be remedied.

Whether you have a gas or electric water heater, ensure that the unit is receiving power. Is the breaker tripped? Is the pilot light on? Then flush the water to remove any sediment and then insulate the pipes.

You may need to replace the thermostat, or the gas valve on a gas water heater. Then increase the temperature on the thermostat to see if that solves the problem.

Time to Replace

Age of Unit

If your water heater is older than a decade, it may be simpler to buy new than to repair your existing unit. If you moved into your home less than 10 years ago, then you likely don’t know the age of your water heater. Most of the time you can find the age by looking at the serial number.

The serial number will have a letter followed by about 10 numbers. The letter stands for the month. You’ll have to do some math and count where that letter lands in the alphabet.

For example, H is the eighth number in the alphabet, so that means it represents the eighth month: August. The next two numbers represent the year, so 13 would be 2013.

If you’re unsure of how to check for the year, give Forrest Anderson a call! Tell them the make, model, and serial number of your unit and they will help you date your water heater.

Rusty Water

When you turn on the water, is it coming out of the faucets in a yucky reddish-brown color? If water is this rusty color regardless of the temperature, then you may have a rusty pipe issue.

However, if you are only seeing discolored hot water, while the cold water is running clear, it’s more than likely an issue with the water heater.

Rusty hot water is a sign that the water heater is degrading. This isn’t an issue that can be fixed, so you’ll need to replace the unit at this point.

Rattling and Noises

In some cases, draining and flushing the water heater can eliminate the noises. Sediment may have collected in the bottom of the tank, leading to rattling and hissing.

Especially if you live in an area with hard water, your tank may have collected scale. So remove the components and clean them (white vinegar works well) and replace.

If you cannot get rid of the sediment or the scale is too encrusted, then it’s time to buy a new water heater. With too much sediment or scale, the water heater’s efficiency will drastically decrease.

It will take more energy to heat the water driving your utility expenses higher. Over time, this will lead to increased damage.

Trust Your Gut

You will find that some unscrupulous plumbing companies will encourage you to replace, even if the heater is in perfectly fine condition. Know the facts about your water heater and what common problems are.

This will help you to determine whether or not the company is just trying to make more money off you.

You can trust the professionals at Forrest Anderson; we always tell you the truth!

If your water heater can be repaired, we will do that. If it’s better to replace, then we’ll tell you that too! Call us to schedule your inspection and know that you’ll hear the real deal.

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Do You Need a Water Heater Recirculation Pump?

If you want to live in comfort, then there’s no question that you need a water heater in your home! You’ve learned how to care for one and when you need to replace yours. Now, do you need to add a recirculation pump?

What Is a Recirculation Pump?

A hot water recirculation pump is an inexpensive addition to your water heater. The recirculating system ensures consistent hot water by pumping the hot water through the pipes and back to the heater. This is done either through a dedicated line or through the cold water line.

Manufacturers suggest that 10,000+ gallons of water per year can be saved when a recirculating system is installed. That’s because the hot water is always ready, and you’re not wasting gallons of water as you wait 5–10 minutes for your shower or sink to heat up.

There are various types of systems that can be installed in your house. Call Forrest Anderson to go over your best options.

Why a Recirculation Pump Is a Smart Idea

Most homes only have one water heater, which could be located far across the house away from the master bathroom. That means it’s going to take a little bit of time for that water to get hot and travel through the pipes to your morning shower.

A recirculation pump can make the hot water for your shower travel faster as it is already in your pipe system when you need. While adding a recirculating system means an additional energy output for the electricity to run the pump, when partnered with a timer set for a specific time, that expense is minimal.

Evaluate Your Options

Certainly, a water heater recirculation pump isn’t the best choice for everyone. If you are tired of waiting for the water to heat up before washing dishes, hopping in the shower, or washing your face, then it could be something to consider.

The team at Forrest Anderson can suggest which system is best for you and if you should choose one that is installed at the water heater or under your sink. We can also install the system for you and pair it with a timer!

Contact us to learn more and to get all of your water recirculation system questions answered.

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Caring for Your Hot Water Heater

You probably don’t think much about your hot water heater. That is, of course, until you’re left taking a cold shower and having to boil water to wash dishes. Fortunately, with simple routine maintenance, you can help your hot water heater live into its 8-year life expectancy!

Set the Temperature

The ideal temperature for a hot water heater is 120ºF. At this temperature, you’ll help to avoid scalding. Plus, if the heater had been set higher, you’ll enjoy a 5% energy savings for every 10º lower you move the thermostat!

Once a year, quickly discharge the temperature pressure-relief valve to test it. Following that, look for small leaks from the valve. This is a safety device, and should be checked if you are having problems.

Keep It Clear

Typically, your hot water heater lives hidden in a closet or in the corner of the garage. There it’s largely forgotten as it hides behind boxes of holiday decorations and old high-school yearbooks.

Don’t hide it too much! It’s suggested that you maintain a clearance of two feet around the heater, unless the manufacturer specifically states otherwise.

Examine the Sacrificial Anode Rod

It’s a funny name, but it actually makes a bit of sense given that the sacrificial anode rod takes on a job to save the hot water heater.

Every three years have the sacrificial anode rod checked by a professional as it is hard to remove and reinstall yourself. You’ll know it’s time to replace the anode rod when more than 6 inches of the core steel wire is exposed, the rod is less than ½ inch thick, or the rod is coated with calcium.

A sacrificial anode rod’s role is important as it draws electric currents that occur as the water is heated. Protecting your water heater and helping it live longer. Seems like a good sacrifice to make!

Conserve Energy

When you go on vacation, be sure to let your hot water heater take a break as well! Just switch the thermostat to “vacation” mode, which keeps the pilot light on but doesn’t heat the water. If you have an electric water heater, then you can simply turn the breaker off.

Make yourself a reminder to turn it back on when you return or you’ll be in for a cold awakening!

Call the Professionals

With something as important as the health, comfort and safety of your family at stake, call for backup! The experts at Forrest Anderson know all about what is needed to keep your hot water heater working for years to come!

If you want to check for how old your water heater is, give Forrest Anderson a call! Tell them the make, model, and serial number of your unit and they will be able to date it for you.

Proper maintenance leads to a longer life, saving you more money in the long run. Wouldn’t you like to not have to worry about your hot water heater?

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