PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s one of those appliances we rarely think about until it breaks down.
Considering they are the third largest energy consumer in your house, you might want to pay closer attention to your water heater.
Bruce Flanagan never gave much thought to what was coming out of his faucet until he noticed the water temperature wasn’t quite the same.
“We had a tank water heater and it was beginning to get a small leak, but we also had some carbon monoxide problems with a draft with it,” Flanagan said.
To avoid such problems, experts recommend a good maintenance regimen.
“An easy maintenance tip for your water heater to ensure its best efficiency is to drain a quart of water from the water heater once every three months. This will help to reduce sediment from building up in your water heater and make sure they are getting maximum capacity out of your water heater,” Angie Hicks from Angie’s List said.
However, even when a good maintenance job doesn’t do the trick, how do you know if replacing or repairing your water heater is the answer?
Experts say it could be as simple as a number.
“Anything more than about eight or nine about 10 years is a good life. After that, you are going to start hearing it rumbling and carrying on and most people never maintain, they just put them in, they sit for 10 years, trouble free for 10 years and all of a sudden they start leaking and occasionally you’ll have one really cause you some grief,” plumbing contractor Mark Weilhammer said.
That grief can sometimes turn out to be expensive, considering water heaters represent about 15 percent of your utility bills each month. So, it’s important to evaluate the current options.
“You could go with a tankless water heater or an electric water heater. And depending on your bills and much you are willing spend on your water heater, there are a lot of choices that can really make your house much more efficient,” Hicks said.
While storage units are the most popular type of water heating systems, tankless systems are more compact and offer energy savings by providing hot water only when it’s needed. Although, it was more costly, about twice the price of an electric heater, Flanagan went the tankless route.
“When the kids and grandkids are here, we can have five or six people take a shower right in a row, and the water stays as warm at the end of the last shower as it is the first,” Flanagan said.
Replacing a water heater may sound like a simple job, but it does involve many gallons of water-and getting the tank into small spots can cause damage along the way.
If you hire someone to do it, make sure the company has insurance to cover any damage.