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You may not appreciate your hot shower in the morning until it suddenly turns frigid. Almost every home in Louisville, KY uses a water heater daily for both comfort and safety for them and their family. Heat is necessary for sanitizing your dishes, cleaning your clothes, and washing your hands. Without it, the appliances in your home can’t work as they are meant to and you’re left shivering in the morning.
Water heater repairs are often more complicated and require parts, tools, and expertise that the average homeowner is not equipped with. If you notice your water isn’t heating up past room temperature, or is taking too long to warm up, it’s time to call in a Louisville, KY professional plumber to do a water heater repair.
Common Repairs For Water Heaters
Most water heater repair issues are obvious. You hop in the shower, turn the faucet and it is freezing. You start to fill the sink and it quickly turns cold, or the pressure drops every time you turn up the heat. Here are some of the most common water heater repairs. Some water heater repairs are simple while others may indicate you need a new system.
- Water Leaking From the Top: This can be unnerving to see the top of your water heater leaking, but this is usually an easy water heater repair. Common reasons for leaks out of the top are loose pipes at the cold inlet or hot outlet pipes or a failed valve. All of these are simple repairs.
- Water Leaking From the Bottom: Again, this is not something to be concerned about (unless it’s a massive flood in your basement). Most electric water heaters produce normal condensation. Other small leaks may be because of a leaking electric heating element gasket, or the overflow pipe, which is what it’s designed to do. If the actual water heater is leaking, this produces much more water on the floor and usually means you need a new unit or a significant water heater repair and it’s time to call a professional.
- No Hot Water: The first thing to do is check your circuit breaker. More often than not, this is the easiest way to repair the problem. Check the breaker box for a tripped breaker and flip it. If that’s not the case, you may need to either repair or replace one of the heating elements. It could also be a thermostat issue. Both the heating element and the thermostat can be repaired or replaced without buying a whole new system.
- Not Enough Hot Water: If you get a little, but not enough hot water for a decent shower, it is most likely due to an issue with the thermostat. It may be as simple as adjusting the desired temperature on the thermostat in the access panel. If that doesn’t help, you may need to either repair or replace your thermostat.
- Water is Too Hot: For most of us, we just move the faucet if the water is too hot. But if you can’t get it cool enough, it may be a thermostat or a wiring issue that should be looked at by a professional. Wiring can be a simple same-day repair in most cases.
- Water Takes Too Long to Reheat: Electric heaters do take longer to heat up, and sometimes there’s nothing to do but wait. However, if you notice your heat is taking longer than usual to show up, it could be a problem with buildup, age, or sediment on your heating element. This can often be solved with a simple water heater repair to clean off the coils.
- Low Hot Water Pressure: Sediment, calcium-deposits, and rust inside your plumbing or sink aerators can contribute to low pressure. However, most often low pressure means your pipes might be too small. The only solution is to install modern 3/4-inch piping which allows more flow. There may be other water heater repair options, but these can only be determined by a professional.
- Water Heater is Making Strange Noises: A popping, hissing, banging, or knocking coming from the water heater is not normal. It is usually due to build-up on your heating elements or an increase of pressure in the tank. Usually this is harmless, but may require a water heater repair before the problem gets worse. It’s better to be safe than sorry and have your system maintained by a professional.
- Dirty or Rusty Colored Water: This can be scary to see your water running red or brown. Usually, it is a sign of corrosion of the anode rod or even tank itself. If left untreated, your heater will likely develop a leak, but if you catch it early you can replace the anode rod and can add years to your system.
- Smelly Hot Water: The most common cause for smelly or stinky hot water is because of bacteria in the tank. Periodic flushing of the unit may help but to solve the problem completely, you’ll need to replace the anode rod which is a common water heater repair.
Different Types of Water Heaters
There are five main styles of water heaters available in Louisville, KY. Choosing the best one for your home depends on your location, usage, budget and family needs. It’s important to consult with a professional plumber in Louisville, KY before deciding which one to purchase.
- Conventional Storage Tank: This style is the most popular. It is a large insulated tank that heats the water and keeps it warm until you need it. The capacity of the tank determines how much hot water you have available at once. If your tank is too small or you need more hot water one day, you may run out. This is the most common type of unit in Louisville, KY homes.
- Tankless System: Also known as an on-demand water heater, a tankless system has no heat. Instead, super-heated coils fill with water and heat it instantly as you need it. Tankless systems can use electricity or natural gas, depending on what is used in the home. This is great for creating an endless supply of hot water very quickly. However, you still need to ensure that you have the right size for your household. A tankless system that is too small will result in lukewarm temperatures.
- Heat Pump Water Heater: This style is very energy efficient because it uses the heat in the air and in the ground to heat water. Electricity is only used to move the heat, not produce it. The downside is that they take up a lot of room, and may not produce the high temperatures that other systems can.
- Solar Powered Water Heater: If you have solar panels on your roof, you can use them to heat your water. The energy is transferred to a closed loop system containing a heat-conductive material, which then heats the water in a storage tank. This works great for those in sunny climates, but often requires a backup plan so that the system can continue to run on cloudy days.
- Condensing Water Heater: This is a viable option if your home uses natural gas as its primary energy source. This type of water heater uses a storage tank, but heats it through the exhaust leftover from the natural gas system used in the home. Therefore, very little energy is used (aside from gas already burned elsewhere, like by your oven or heater). Condensing heaters have very little repair needs, but can be expensive to install.
Water Heater Installation: How to Select the Perfect One
When it’s time for a new installation, it can be frustrating to know how to best select the best one. Electric or gas? Tank or Tankless? And how much will all of this cost? We’re here to make choosing a water heater with confidence easy.
Fuel Type: The fuel type affects the operation cost, size, and efficiency of your unit. There are six main types of fuel used across the country:
- Electricity: This is very popular for both storage and tankless water heaters. It can be used in combination with your HVAC system as well.
- Fuel oil: This is only available in some areas of the United States with conventional storage heaters.
- Geothermal energy: If you use geothermal energy to heat or cool your home, you can also use it to heat your water.
- Natural gas: If you use natural gas in your home, it’s a popular choice for conventional, tankless or on-demand heaters.
- Propane: This is available in most areas, but is less popular than electric or natural gas options.
- Solar energy: More popular in the southwest, but solar water heaters are available throughout the United States.
Size: The size you choose depends on your household demands and the type of system. The best heater provides all the hot water you need while still maintaining efficiency.
- Storage Tank Water Heaters – The size of your tank determines how much hot water you can use at one time. Keep in mind a shower usually takes about 10 gallons, a dishwasher uses 6-7 and a washing machine uses 7-8. A small storage tank is typically 50-60 gallons. This is typically sufficient for one to three people. A medium tank is 80 gallons and for 4-6 people, a large tank is necessary.
- Tankless Water Heater – Because tankless heaters don’t have storage, they are rated by the maximum temperature rise possible at a given flow rate. Therefore, to size a demand water heater, you need to determine the flow rate and the temperature rise you’ll need for its application. There is an equation for this, but it’s best to talk to a professional who can size your homes need accurately.
- Solar Water Heater – Sizing your solar water heating system is also a tricky process. It involves determining the total collector area and the storage volume you’ll need to meet 90%–100% of your household’s needs during the summer. Solar system contractors use either worksheets and/or computer programs to help determine system requirements and collector sizing.
Energy Efficiency: Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 18% of your utility bill after heating and cooling. To maximize your energy and cost savings, you want to know how energy efficient a water heater is before you purchase it. Every unit comes with an energy factor (EF) which is an efficiency rating based on the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel. Tankless or solar heaters are significantly more energy efficient than traditional storage tank water heaters.
How Much Does a Water Heater Cost
The national average cost of a new water heater is just over $1000. However, this sticker price is only the cost of the unit, and may not include installation or labor. Before you decide on a new system, it’s important to also consider the operating costs, common water heater repairs, and required maintenance. Sometimes it’s more cost effective to purchase a new system rather than deal with endless repairs. The type, size, usage, efficiency are the main factors that will determine the cost of the exact heater that you will need. For best results, it is better to consult with a professional plumber and get their expert advice on which kind of system will be best for your home and family.
Water Heater Maintenance
Like many common household appliances, small water heater repairs and regular maintenance can go a long way in extending the life of your unit. Our annual maintenance appointments vary slightly depending on what type of system you use in your home. Each water heater repair and maintenance programs will include the following plumbing services:
- Drain the tank, or clean the unit to collected sediment. This process reduces corrosion increases efficiency. Tankless systems do not require draining, but should be flushed annually.
- Test the pressure-relief valve and install a new valve if necessary. This is critical to ensuring the reliability of your heating system.
- Check temperature gauge for accuracy and safety.
- Cleaning of the unit and pipes to prevent future buildup.
Your Local Water Heater Experts
A failed water heater can mean more than a bad day. It can affect the health of your family. Whether you need a quick water heater repair to enjoy a hot shower, or you need a full system replacement, we are there to help.
Most water heater repairs in Louisville, KY can be completed in less than a day. We keep common parts and all necessary tools in our trucks at all times so you don’t have to wait around for a part replacement, we’re ready to finish the water heater repair when we arrive. In one appointment, we can diagnose, repair, and get you back to normal.
If you’re ready for a new system, our experts can help you choose a water heater that suits your needs without breaking your budget. We can help you determine which type of system works best in Louisville, KY with your fuel type, and what water heater repair or maintenance you may need to keep it running at its best. Give us a call today!