TAMPA - We tend to take for granted that hot water will be there every time we turn on the faucet or shower - until it isn't. A well maintained water heater can continue to deliver you gallons of hot water for years. On the other hand, if you neglect your water heater, you most likely will see the hot water disappear from your pipes and the dollars disappear from your wallet.
"People don't think about their water heater until it breaks," said Angie's List founder Angie Hicks. "And inevitably it breaks in the morning when everyone is trying to shower and you have to get out of the house. So you want to take special care of it because it actual loses efficiency over the years because sediment builds up inside the water heater which can actually reduce the capacity and can lead to problems."
There are a few things you can do to help prolong the life and efficiency of your water heater.
Water heaters that stop working may only need a simple fix like a new thermostat or heating element. Hard water can corrode those parts leading to break downs after only a few years. If your water heater is 10 years or older it is probably only running at 50% of its efficiency anyway, and may need to be replaced.
Plumbing contractor Mark Weilhammer said, "Anything more than about 8 or 9 about 10 years is a good life. After that, you are going to start hearing it rumbling and carrying on. Most people never maintain, they just put them in, they sit for ten years, trouble-free for 10 years, and all of a sudden they start leaking."
Hicks adds, "There are a lot of choices when it comes to water heaters these days, and the first thing you want to do is evaluate how much you are spending on your utility bills and how much you might want to spend on your water heater. You could go with a tankless water heater or an electric water heater. And depending on your bills and how much you are willing spend on your water heater, there are a lot of choices that can really make your house much more efficient."
Depending on the company you use, a 40-gallon gas or electric water heater can run anywhere from $700 to $1,300. A tankless water heater is usually twice as much as a traditional one, but can also last twice as long and save you money in the long run.
You can reduce your monthly water heating bills by selecting the appropriate water heater for your home. While storage units are the most popular type of water heating systems, tankless systems offer energy savings by providing hot water only when it's needed.
Why consider a tankless water heater:
Angie's 4 tips for hiring a company to install a water heater: