November 2016

How to Detect Electric Water Heater Problems

Knowing that your electric water heater is not going to last forever, you can do yourself a world of good by keeping an eye on it, especially once it starts getting up there in years.

Just to put some numbers to it, your water heater has a projected lifespan of 10-12 years (up to years if you have a tankless system).  Once it hits 6 or 7 years old, it’s time for some closer surveillance. That way, you’ll be able to spot early warning signs of trouble and can get them fixed before the problem gets worse.

These are the primary indications that trouble is brewing

Water Leaking from the Top

blogIf you see or suspect water is leaking from the top of your electric water heater, it probably means the cold inlet or hot outlet pipes are loose, that the T&P valve has failed, or the inlet valve is leaking.  These are all very fixable issues.

Water Leaking from the Bottom

This could be caused by something as simple as normal condensation.  But water leaking from the bottom of your electric water heater also could indicate a leaking gasket or that a small amount of water has been expelled through the overflow pipe.  Worst case scenario, the leak stems from internal tank corrosion.  If that’s the case, you’ll need to replace your system.

No Hot Water

Several possibilities here.  First, the circuit breaker may have tripped – the ultimate easy fix.  Or, perhaps the heating elements have failed or there’s an issue with the thermostat’s limit/reset switch.  If the unit has power, try re-setting the switch.  If that fails to deliver the desired result, you’ll probably need to call a plumber.

Not Enough Hot Water

If you’re running out of hot water at all, or faster than you recall, chances are there’s a problem with your system’s thermostat.  During the cold weather months, raising the thermostat might be enough to solve the problem.  On most models, you’ll find the thermostat on one side of the tank in a compartment and behind a layer of insulation.

Dirty or Rust-Colored Water

Rusty hot water usually indicates corrosion on the walls of storage tank or what’s called the sacrificial anode rod.  The latter is so named because it’s “job” is to sacrifice itself to internal corrosion to spare the storage tank.  Either way – storage tank or anode rod – call your plumber once you notice rusty water to have the exact cause diagnosed.

Smelly Hot Water

The likely culprit?  Bacteria inside the tank, which can easily be flushed out.

If your electric water heater is displaying any of these warning signs, contact Boden Plumbing Heating & Air today for prompt scheduling, expert problem diagnosis, plus a guaranteed upfront price quote for the repair or replacement work we recommend.



How to Prevent Heat Loss

Even if you have the world’s greatest heating system, here’s one thing it wasn’t designed to accomplish:  heat up the space outside your home.  And yet it can’t help but attempt the impossible when heat is permitted to escape outdoors.

To prevent that and take a big bite out of your monthly heating costs, simply follow these steps energy conservation steps:

  • blogAttic insulation – Pardon us for repeating the obvious, but heat rises, and unless your attic is well insulated, it could be rising into your attic and through your roof. If it’s been a while since you’ve inspected your attic insulation, now’s a good time to do so or hire a professional for assistance.  For best results, the insulation should be at least 6” thick and cover the entire surface of your attic without gaps.  Because heat, you see, will find those gaps, and that spells higher utility costs and more wear and tear on your heating system.
  • Window and Door Insulation – On cold and blustery day, you don’t need an expert to tell you that heat is escaping through or around windows and doors.  Simply stand next to one and you can feel the added chill for yourself.  When you do, that’s the time to beef up or replace window caulking or the weather stripping around doors that lead outside.  If you can feel cold air coming in from beneath a door, installing a door skirt can help a great deal. So can hanging thick shades or drapes over certain windows.
  • Wall Insulation – It’s estimated that about 35% of heat loss occurs through your outside facing walls.  You can gain a lot of extra rest for your heating system and cut your heating costs simply by insulating the inside of them.
  • Fireplace, Switches & Outlets – Your fireplace opening is such a large and easy exit point for heat, it might as well have a neon sign pointing the way out!  To prevent large scale heat loss, cover the opening with airtight glass doors when your fireplace is sitting idle.  Warm air can also escape through switches and outlets – you’ll find specially designed insulation for these at your local hardware store or home center.

How’s your heating system performing?  If it’s been a year or more since you’ve had it checked, now’s the perfect time to contact Boden Plumbing Heating & Air for our multi-point heating system tune-up and inspection.  It’s a great way to prevent heating repair problems while ensuring your system’s safer and more reliable operation.  With regular maintenance, you also can look forward to significant reductions in your monthly heating costs.

Preventing Heat Loss, Santa Rosa & Sonoma – By preventing heat from escaping your home, you’ll enjoy greater comfort plus lower monthly heating costs.