There is nothing more frustrating than running out of hot water while you are taking a shower. Lukewarm water can be unpleasant, especially if you’re looking to draw cool water from a faucet to quench your thirst on a warm afternoon in Mesa, AZ and you receive warm water instead. Warm water is also ineffective for cleaning dishes, clothes, and other items that benefit from a wash or rinse in hot water. This is most likely a problem with your hot water heater, but don’t panic if it happens! Sometimes, getting the right water temperature from your water heater tank can be as simple as adjusting or repairing a thermostat. However, inconsistent water temperatures do benefit from a plumber’s expertise.
Tank Water Heaters: The Lowdown
When it comes to what powers your home’s water heater, there are several popular options: electric, gas, propane and fuel oil. Solar water heaters also work exceptionally well in Arizona’s hot climate, but they require a fair bit of roof space and sometimes require the installation of additional hot water cylinders and other apparatus to be effective. We’ll be looking at two of the most common types of water heater, electric and gas, and how a plumber can help you to get the best out of each of them.
When diagnosing why you’re running out of hot water prematurely or water isn’t reaching the right temperature, one of the first factors to consider is the size of your home’s water tank. According to the Department of Energy, a 50-60 gallon tank is recommended for a household of 1-3 people. Medium 80-gallon tanks better serve slightly larger households of 3-4 people. It can take up to 30-minutes to heat a full tank of water, so it’s possible you just need to wait a little time before attempting to use hot water again. However, if you run out of hot water frequently and it holds up the ability to get on with your day, it could be time to upgrade to a tankless on-demand water heater. A plumber can install this for you.
Alternatively, you can play with the thermostat temperature, raising it above the desired temperature by a few degrees. If the thermostat requires calibration, it may think that the water temperature is warmer than it actually is. However, it’s best to avoid raising the temperature above 140 degrees F. Calling a plumber to investigate the thermostat is recommended, to avoid scaling sensitive skin while trying to get hot water from your heater.
Guidance for Gas Tank Water Heater Owners
If you call out a plumbing professional to check a gas-powered water heater, there are several activities that may be performed.
Pilot light checks
If the pilot light has gone out, it can usually be re-ignited by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Many plumbers have years of experience installing and maintaining gas-powered water heaters and know off-hand how to safely relight the flame. Sometimes, the pilot light needs cleaning or replacement. In these cases, a professional can safely install a new pilot light assembly.
If the pilot doesn’t light after following the correct procedures, the thermocouple could be to blame. The thermocouple measures temperature and it will cut off gas flow to the pilot if it goes out of commission. While it’s possible for the average homeowner to replace a thermocouple, many feel more confident asking a local Mesa, AZ plumber.
Gas supply checks
Sometimes, it might not be your water heater at all. It could be that your heater is not receiving gas. A qualified technician will make sure that the valve is in the correct position, and in working order. They will also inspect the gas line to make sure there isn’t a gas leak, obstruction, or twist in the gas supply line that’s reduced the supply to the water heater. If they find nothing unusual, contact your gas company to check if they are working on your gas line or if your gas is off. If the gas supplier isn’t undertaking work and your gas supply is active, further investigation is needed.
New water heater installations
A gas-powered water heater has an average life expectancy of 10 years. It may simply be time to replace your water heater if it’s more than a decade old, if you’re consistently experiencing inaccurate or lower-than-expected water temperatures.
Guidance for Electric Tank Water Heater Owners
To get the right water temperature from an electric water heater, there are numerous additional areas for a plumber to check.
Check the water heater’s power source. Sometimes, a power surge can cause your heater to go off. After the water heater has been turned off, it’s best to wait for about 30 minutes before you turn it on again. If the heater is on but there’s no hot water, a broken thermostat or heating coil are the most common culprits.
Check the fuse/breaker
Sometimes it’s not easy to see if the fuse is blown or the circuit breaker is tripped. Even if the breaker does not appear tripped, a reset can resolve some water temperature issues. However, if the breaker trips excessively, an electrician should investigate.
Check for water leaks
Water tank leakage is a common cause of little to no hot water stored in the tank. Loose heating elements, valves, and plumbing connections can all cause leaks, resulting in significant property damage. A plumber can isolate and replace faulty components to fix hot water supply issues.
New water heater installation
An electric water heater can last for 10 years on average. If the electric water heater is close to this age, it’s often beneficial to replace the entire system instead of one costly component. If one or both heating elements fail, for example, the cost of this repair can outweigh the cost of a new unit.
ENERGY STAR reports that higher efficiency water heaters consume 10-50% less energy than older models. Choosing a tank with higher efficiency could result in significant savings on your utility bills, as well as improved water heating capabilities.
Whether you’re looking for a plumber in Mesa, AZ to fix your existing water temperature issues or you want to upgrade to a more efficient water heater, an expert from Schroeder Plumbing can assist you. Call now to discuss your options!