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Each type of water heater has unique characteristics that can catch you off guard if you don’t know how they work. At Covenant Plumbing in Normal, IL, we can help you get to know your water heater and when water heater repair is advisable. Running only a bit of hot water with a tankless system can make it seem like the water heater isn’t working, for example, and not having hot water right away from a tank-based unit may be a problem, but not a complete failure of the unit. Hybrid water heaters have their own quirks, based on their super-efficient method of heating the water. They can give you a bit of a surprise with a short blast of cold water if they’ve been taking a break, between two showers for example. For tank-based units including hybrid water heaters, there are all sorts of bubbling sounds and pressure valve behaviors to account for, most of which do require water heater repair. Don’t forget, one of the best ways to get more life out of your water heater and avoid urgent water heater repairs is to have an annual maintenance visit from our expert plumbers.
Standard Tank-Based Water Heaters
Even the basic tank-based electric or gas-powered water heater has a few quirks, and because they also use a tank to store and maintain heated water, hybrid water heaters share many of those quirks.
When the Water Temperature Isn’t Right
Especially when there’s activity or storage nearby, water heater thermostats can get bumped and adjusted to a different temperature, and turning it back to the right setting can avoid a water heater repair visit. The EPA recommends 120 degrees F, although for some commercial uses OSHA recommends 140 degrees to allow for better disease control. The lower setting is preferred in homes because it allows for hygiene and dishwashing needs, but for kids and seniors, and others who have a limited sense of heat on their skin, it’s a good temperature to avoid scalding. If you’re getting strange transitions in your hot water supply and limited amounts available without a good explanation such as multiple showers, you could have trouble with the heating unit and thermostat, which our water heater repair expert can service. Many units have upper and lower heating, and the symptoms of failure can vary depending on which unit fails and needs water heater repair. You might get a long draw of cold water before the hot starts, or an abbreviated run of hot water and then warm or cold water from the rest of the tank. If you’re not getting any hot water at all, a tip: for electric units, check the circuit breaker. If it needs repeated resetting, though, something could be wrong and a water heater repair visit is advised.
That Special Valve Keeps Spilling Water
There’s a valve on tank-based water heaters that provides protection against overpressure that could cause the tank to burst or leak. It’s the temperature and pressure valve, and it usually has a pipe connected that runs down the side of the unit. You might get brief water releases from time to time, especially in warmer climates or hot basements, but this valve should be checked out for any concerns because it’s so critical for safety. That’s also one of many reasons for regular water heater maintenance visits since it’s a simple matter to check and replace the valve if needed as part of the overall unit maintenance.
Odors and Discoloration in Your Hot Water
Another reason for the maintenance of tank-based units is to check and replace the anode rod, a component that helps balance the water chemistry to avoid corrosion of the water heater tank and prolong the lifespan of the water heater. Its effect on the water also reduces the growth of bacteria in the warm water, increasing the water quality and reducing the odors produced by the bacteria that are often extremely evident when you run a shower or wash your hands. Discoloration comes from rust or sediment and can be addressed during a maintenance visit as well to help avoid damage to clothes washed in the discolored water.
Hybrid Water Heaters with Heat Pump Technology
Hybrid water heaters have a few differences from standard tank-based systems, especially the compressor and control system that provide the flexible heat pump technology that significantly reduces energy use. It’s sometimes difficult to tell if the unit is working correctly since fans may or may not run depending on the operational mode, but one indicator is clear: if the control unit beeps and shows a code, it’s time to call for service. Many of the problems that appear in tank-based units also apply to hybrid units.
Local or Whole House Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless hot water heaters take up a lot less room in your home and use less energy than standard tank-based water heaters because they only heat the water when you need it. This can lead to frustration at first because you usually need to open a faucet at least halfway to trigger heating, unlike tank-based units where the water is already heated and flows in any volume you need, even a trickle, once it finally reaches the tap. Tankless units also take a break when demands stop, so if you have hot water in the line from recent use, you might find the water heater releases a burst of cold water as it starts up that provides a short surprise during the beginning of your hot shower.
Your Skilled Water Heater Repair and Information Source in Normal, IL
At Covenant Plumbing in Normal, IL, we’re here to answer your water heater questions about any type of system and perform the water heater repairs and maintenance you need to keep your hot water flowing, energy efficiency high, and tank safety measures operational. Give us a call today.