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A Complete Guide to Utah County Water Heaters

Hello Utah County! I bet you’re all about that water for your showers, baths, dishes, and laundry am I right? It’s of a no-brainer. Hot water is essential for our homes because it brings us comfort and helps keep our homes clean by tackling bacteria, fungi, and even some viruses. In this article, I’ll be covering all the basics of water heaters – what they’re the different types available potential risks to be aware of some tips, for DIY maintenance and repairs if you’re feeling handy, and when it might be best to bring in a plumber. So let’s dive in!

What is a Water Heater?

A water heater is an appliance that we use to warm up water. We can heat the water using sources like electricity, natural gas, oil, propane, or even solar energy. The most popular option being natural gas models. Water heaters come in many sizes and designs to suit the requirements of households and businesses. Water heaters offer convenience by providing hot water without any waiting time.
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Types of Water Heaters

When it comes to selecting the water heater for your home there are five options available. These include tank style, tankless, solar-powered, heat pump, and condensing heaters. Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages that should be taken into account before making a decision. Along, with the type of heater you should also consider the type of fuel it requires. In my view, for Utah homes, the two suitable choices would be either a tank style or a tankless water heater. However, I will explain all the available options.
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Tank-style Water Heaters

​The most common type of water heater is known as a tank-style water heater or traditional water heater, this can be found in 90% of homes, in Utah County. This type of water heater is typically installed in basements, garages, or utility closets. It consists of a tank that holds anywhere from 30 to 100 gallons of heated water until it is needed. This allows for a supply of water, for showers and other purposes. However, one drawback is that if you use a lot of water in the tank within a short period you may run out before the tank has enough time to reheat. As a result, you’ll need to wait for more hot water. It takes 30 to 45 minutes for the water to heat up again. The lifespan of gas-fueled units ranges from 8 to 12 years while electric-fueled units typically last between 10 to 15 years.
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Tankless Water Heaters

The tankless water heater, also known as an on-demand water heater is more expensive. Offers several advantages. It qualifies for a Utah tax credit due to its energy efficiency. Unlike water heaters with tanks, tankless water heaters are compact and can be installed in tight spaces making them ideal for small homes or apartments. One of the things about a water heater is the consistent supply of hot water it provides. Even if you have a big family getting ready for work, school, or church simultaneously you won’t run out of water. Regardless of whether it uses gas or electricity as fuel a tankless unit typically lasts 20 years.

When considering a water heater it’s important to think about the type of fuel it uses. Gas-powered heaters can heat larger amounts of water at once compared to electric ones. This is especially crucial if you anticipate multiple showers running concurrently in your home. For instance, on average a shower consumes 2.5 gallons of water per minute. An electric tankless heater can heat 3.5 gallons per minute when the outside temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, in cold weather conditions, a gas-powered tankless heater can easily heat 8 gallons or more, per minute.

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Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters are a choice for cutting down on energy expenses while also being environmentally friendly. These systems utilize the energy of the sun to heat the water, which is then stored in a tank until it’s needed. Solar power is an option that doesn’t rely on fuel or electricity although the initial installation cost can be higher. It’s worth considering that over time the savings in utility bills may offset this expense. However, it’s important to note that in regions like Utah solar might be better suited as a hot water source because snow can potentially cover the panels and hinder their effectiveness. Otherwise, you could end up with a bath of a warm and relaxing shower. On water heaters typically last, between 10 to 20 years.

Heat pump Water Heaters

Heat pump water heaters (also known as hybrid) use the existing heat in the air. They also can switch to standard heating during cooler temperatures. these water heaters can be up to three times more efficient than traditional heaters. These are relatively easy to install, with most models fitting into standard spaces and requiring minimal maintenance. A solar heater will have an average lifespan of 13-15 years. Heat pump water heaters use less energy than electric models but may not be suitable for areas with freezing temperatures. Therefore, with Utah’s long cold winters, I wouldn’t recommend these units for the area. In colder temperatures it takes longer to heat than a traditional tank-style would.

Condensing Water Heaters

The condensing water heater (also known as tankless coil and indirect). The process of making hot water with a condensing unit is complicated. They work best for homes mainly fueled by natural gas as it uses the. They work by taking the hot exhaust gases from a combustion process and cooling them, which causes the water vapor in the exhaust to condense. The resulting liquid is then routed back into the tank, where it is heated up and reused. This process helps to reduce energy consumption by up to 30%. The average lifespan is 10-15 years. The biggest disadvantage for a condensing water heater is the price tag as they are generally the most expensive option on the market.
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Are Water Heaters Gas or Electric?

There are two types of water heaters, tanks and tankless, both can use eith gas or electricity as fuel options. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages including factors like cost, efficiency, lifespan, maintenance requirements and environmental impact. The decision on which type to choose depends on variables such as your water usage, speed requirements, access to gas, budget considerations and local building regulations.

Gas water heaters utilize gas to ignite a flame that heats the water. Gas is the method for heating water and generally results in monthly utility bills. However it requires maintenance compared to heaters and has a shorter lifespan. Additionally it comes with an cost.

Electric water heaters use electricity as their power source for heating the water. Electric models tend to be more energy efficient and have an impact. However they may take longer to heat up compared to gas heaters. In some cases residential or commercial properties may lack access to natural gas lines – although this is uncommon – making heaters the viable option, in such situations. Electric units require an circuit and are typically 220 volts.

There are fuels that are commonly used to heat up water, not gas and electricity. Oil, propane and solar energy are also widely utilized for this purpose.

Best Water Heaters Sunset Plumbing Recommends for Utah County

Ultimately, it’s best to consider all the pros and cons of each type of water heater before making a decision. To ensure the households needs for hot water are met, consider the following:

  • Fuel type. The fuel will affect how much water can be heated at once and how quickly. It also affects the energy efficiency and the cost of monthly utilities.
  • Size. To ensure adequate hot water for your family or business needs calculate how many gallons you’d need per an hour. A tank-style average is a family of 4 would need a minimum of a 55-gallon tank. Or for a tankless household with two showers running simultaneously would need a gas fueled unit.
  • Budget. A water heater can be a large investment be sure to ask Sunset Plumbing for options that fit within your price range.
  • Warranty: Look for water heaters that come with a good warranty to protect your investment.
  • Brand Reputation: water heaters from brands that have a good reputation for quality and customer service.

​Now might be a great time to introduce myself. My name is Alma Bradshaw I’m a local plumber in Utah County and owner of Sunset Plumbing. Here are my personal recommendations for water heaters. If the tank-style units are best for you I recommend the brand Rheem finding a model size that would satisfy your home’s needs. The reason is in all my years of experience installing different brands of water heaters Rheem has the highest customer satisfaction and less complications. However, if you decide a tankless is the best type for your home or business needs then I recommend the Navion brand as it is the best for performance and quality with tankless water heaters.  

Water Heater Special Considerations

After choosing a water heater type and fuel source there are additional considerations you may have before choosing a specific model of water heater that would be the best fit for your home or business. 
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What Size Water Heater Do I need?

The size of the water heater you’ll need depends on how much water your household uses. When determining the size of water heater you’ll need there are a few factors to consider.

First Hour Rating (FHR); The FHR tells you how much water is required per hour. It’s important to choose a model, with an FHR that matches your hot water usage. For example, if you have three showers in the home and all three are running at the same time (each using 2.5 gallons per minute) you’ll need a total of 7.5 gallons per minute to ensure water for all three showers.

Capacity; The capacity of the water heater refers to how water the tank can hold. To meet your household’s hot water needs select a capacity accordingly. For instance, if three people in your home take morning showers within one hour (averaging 18 gallons per shower) you’ll need a tank with a capacity of 55 gallons or more to avoid running out of water.

Recovery rate; The recovery rate indicates how much water a heater can produce in an hour. It’s important to choose a heater, with a recovery rate that matches your home’s hot water usage. It is particularly important, for tank models that require heating water while it is being used.

The amount of water consumed depends on the size of your household. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a water heater that has the capacity to meet the hot water needs of your household.

Are Water Heaters 110 or 220?

In Utah, most houses have 220-volt circuits that are designed to power appliances, like water heaters. However, some homes only have 110-volt circuits. But don’t worry you don’t need to hire an electrician because water heaters come in both 110-volt and 220-volt models. Electric and tankless water heaters typically use the voltage of 220 volts while gas-powered ones usually use the voltage of 110 volts. Check the wattage. If it’s less than 1500 watts it’s a 110-volt model; if its more then 1500 watts it’s a 220-volt model.
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The Most Efficient Water Heaters 

Having a water heater that operates efficiently can lead to energy bills and a reduced environmental impact. The main objective of efficiency is to heat water to the desired temperature while minimizing energy consumption. Each type of water heater offers models, with varying levels of efficiency for example tanks with insulation that retain heat for periods. When searching for a water heater it is advisable to consider models with energy efficiency ratings such as Energy Factor (EF) or Thermal Efficiency (TE).

Tankless water heaters are generally recognized as one of the types available. These units heat water on demand as it flows through the system without the need for a storage tank resulting in reduced energy usage. Some tankless water heaters boast Energy Factor (EF) ratings of, up to 0.95 making them exceptionally efficient.

Heat pumps utilize electricity to transfer heat from either the air or ground sources in order to warm the water offering efficiencies three times than traditional units. Electric heat pump water heaters can achieve Energy Factor (EF) ratings as 2.5 placing them in the category of highly efficient options.
Condensation water heaters are known for their efficiency. They incorporate a secondary heat exchanger that captures the heat from the flue gases and utilizes it to preheat the water resulting in an increase, in efficiency of up to 96%.

It’s worth noting that the efficiency of a water heater can vary based on factors, like unit size, fuel type and installation location. Consulting with a plumber is advisable to identify the efficient water heater option tailored to your specific circumstances.

What is the longest-lasting water heater?

Tankless water heaters have a lifespan lasting, up to 20 years or more. Solar water heaters can last between 15 to 20 years. Heat pumps have a lifespan of around 13 to 15 years followed by condensers with a range of 10 to 15 years. Electric tank-style water heaters typically last between 10 to 15 years while gas ones tend to last between 8 to 12 years.

Remember that regular maintenance is essential for all types of water heaters as it helps in extending their lifespan. Additionally, factors like water quality and the environment where the heater is installed can also impact its longevity.

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Tax Credits for Efficient Water Heaters

There are a few tax credits or programs available for upgrading to energy efficient appliances. However, you cannot claim both programs.

The Federal government has introduced a new 2023 Tax Credit for energy efficient Water Heaters. To qualify for this credit the improvements must be done between January 1, 2023 and before December 31, 2032. The credit is for $2000 on qualifying models.

There is also a Home-Owner Managing Energy Savings (HOMES) rebate program which could pay for 50% of the cost of the energy efficient improvements.

  • An energy cut by 20%: The rebate could be up to $2,000 or half the cost, whichever is less.
  • An energy cut of 35%: The rebate could be up to $4,000 or half the cost, whichever is less.
  • However, if the household income is 80% or less of an area’s median income, then the above amounts are doubled to $4,000 and $8,000.

The Energy Star label is awarded to products that operate more efficiently than its counterparts. Federal rebates are available for Energy Star Navien tankless water heaters.

It is important to check with a tax professional and consult the most recent version of IRS form 5695 and the manufacturer’s certification statement to confirm the eligibility of the specific water heater you are interested in and the amount of credit you can claim.

Are Water Heaters Insulated?

Conventional water heaters, the ones, with tanks typically have insulation already built into the tank itself. This insulation helps to keep the water temperature stable and minimize heat loss. It is usually made of materials like fiberglass or polyurethane. Can be quite thick measuring inches. However it’s worth noting that older water heaters may lack insulation resulting in heat loss and increased energy consumption for reheating. In cases homeowners may consider adding insulation as an upgrade, to their water heater.

On the hand tankless water heaters do not require insulation since they heat water on demand as it passes through the unit. Hence there’s no need for additional insulation to retain heat.

Can Water Heaters be Outside?

In Utah, it’s not advised to place water heaters outside because they should be shielded from freezing temperatures. Water heaters aren’t designed to function in freezing conditions.

However, if you have no other option but to put a water heater outdoors consider purchasing a gas model specifically made for outdoor use. These kinds of water heaters typically have vents and a weather-resistant enclosure to safeguard the burners, controls, and other components from the elements.

Nonetheless, it is recommended to insulate the area or the water heater itself to prevent freezing. Make sure to consult with the manufacturer and local building codes to ensure that the outdoor installation of your water heater is appropriate and meets all safety requirements.

For installations electric water heaters are not recommended due, to the risk of damage caused by rain, snow, and extreme temperatures.

The History of Water Heaters

Water heaters have been used since the 1800s. Initially, water heaters were extremely dangerous by today’s standards. They employed methods like coal-fired boilers, steam, and open flame heating systems to heat water.
A significant breakthrough came in 1889 when the American company A.O. Smith introduced a storage tank-style water heater that revolutionized the industry by providing hot water delivery.
As time progressed electric water heaters gained popularity in the 1930s replacing gas-powered models due to their convenience and affordability. Before the 1930s, when they became a household appliance people had to heat water on stoves which made tasks like doing dishes, laundry, and bathing much more difficult.
Todays modern tanks incorporate thermostats and insulation technology to maintain a temperature, for heated water while also saving energy costs.

What water heaters are made in the USA?

Water heaters are made by various manufacturers and some of them are based in the United States. Some well-known American manufacturers of water heaters include:

  • Rheem: A Georgia-based company that manufactures a wide range of water heaters, including electric, gas, and tankless water heaters, as well as commercial and industrial water heaters.
  • A.O. Smith: A Wisconsin-based company that manufactures a wide range of water heaters, including electric, gas, and tankless water heaters, as well as commercial and industrial water heaters. 
  • Bradford White: A Pennsylvania-based company that manufactures a variety of water heaters, including electric, gas, and tankless water heaters, as well as commercial and industrial water heaters.
  • American Water Heaters: An American company that manufactures a wide range of water heaters, including electric, gas, and tankless water heaters, as well as commercial and industrial water heaters.
  • GE Appliances: An American based subsidiary of Haier, that manufactures a variety of water heaters, including electric, gas, and tankless water heaters.

​It’s important to note that some manufacturers may have plants or facilities located in the USA but may use parts or components sourced from other countries, so it’s best to check with the manufacturer for more information on where the specific water heater you’re interested in is made.

How Does a Water Heater Work? 

Simply stated, a water heater. It heats using a fuel source such as gas and electricity and distributes the water throughout a residence or business.
A tank-style water heater stores water and maintains the temperature using a thermostat on the tank.
A tankless water heater heats the water from the main water supply as soon as you turn on the tap. They utilize burners to heat the passing water through a heat exchanger.
Both types of water heaters come equipped with a thermostat enabling you to obtain your temperature for hot water based on your requirements. Some models may include features, like timers and pumps to regulate the supply of water at any given time. 

The Possible Dangers of Water Heaters

Water heaters can be dangerous if not properly maintained or if there is a malfunction. Some potential hazards associated with water heaters include:

  • Fire
  • Explosion
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Scalding
  • Leaking
  • Freezing

​To minimize the risk of these hazards, it’s important to have your water heater inspected and maintained regularly by a professional plumber, and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use and operation.

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Can Water Heaters Catch Fire?

Gas powered water heaters can present a fire hazard if the burner or pilot light is not functioning correctly. Similarly electric water heaters can become a fire risk if the heating element or thermostat malfunctions. The danger of fire is further increased when a water heater lacks ventilation or when flammable materials are stored close, to it.

To minimize the potential for fires it is crucial to have your water heater regularly inspected and maintained by a professional. It is also important to adhere to the manufacturers guidelines, for usage and operation. This includes ensuring that gas powered water heaters have ventilation and keeping the area around the appliance of any flammable substances. Additionally installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors near the water heater and testing them periodically is highly recommended. In case of any malfunction or fire promptly turn off the gas or electricity supply to the water heater. Immediately contact the fire department.

Can Water Heaters Explode?

Water heaters have the potential to explode in circumstances. An explosion may occur when the pressure, inside the water heater reaches a point causing the tank to burst. Some common factors that can lead to pressure in water heaters include;

1. Malfunctioning temperature and pressure relief valve; This valve is designed to release pressure and temperature from the tank. However if it becomes clogged or faulty it can result in a buildup of pressure that could lead to an explosion.

2. Improper venting of gas water heaters; Inadequate venting can cause pressure to accumulate within the tank, which increases the risk of an explosion.

3. Overheating; If the thermostat or heating element of a water heater malfunctions it can cause heating of the water and subsequent increase in tank pressure potentially leading to an explosion.

4. Rust and corrosion within the tank; Over time corrosion weakens the integrity of the tank making it more susceptible to rupture under high pressure conditions.

5. Incorrect installation of water heaters; Poor installation practices can result in increased pressure within a water heater posing a risk, for explosions.

It is crucial to understand that such explosions are occurrences and can be prevented through maintenance and proper usage practices. To minimize this risk effectively it is advisable to have your water heater inspected and maintained on a basis while adhering to safety guidelines provided by its manufacturer.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from a Water Heater

Improper ventilation of gas water heaters can lead to the production of carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide is a odorless gas that can be fatal when inhaled in quantities. One potential cause of this issue could be a damaged thermocouple, which’s a safety device designed to prevent the release of gases. Additionally problems, with the air intake valve or a gas leak can also result in the release of carbon monoxide. For safety purposes it is highly recommended to install a carbon monoxide detector near your water heater.

Can Water Heaters Burn you?

Water heaters can pose a danger. Result in burns if the temperature is set too high. To prioritize safety it is crucial to maintain the water heater temperature at or, below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Install scald valves on faucets and showers to prevent excessively hot water from being released. Prior to bathing or washing dishes with young children present it is important to check the water temperature. Additionally scheduling maintenance checks, for your water heater ensures safe functioning. By following these precautions you can effectively safeguard against accidents caused by water temperatures.
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Can Water Heaters Leak?

Water damage can occur from a leaky water heater. There are reasons why these leaks may occur, including;

  • Corrosion of the tank; Over time, the metal tank can corrode.
  • Damaged connections; The connections between the water supply and the water heater can become loose or damaged.
  • Worn-out or damaged valves; The temperature and pressure relief valve, as the drain valve of the water heater can wear out or get damaged.
  • Excessive pressure; Too much pressure can damage the pipes and even the tank itself.
  • Clogging; A drain valve in a water heater can also be responsible for leaks.
  • Age; The age of a water heater is another factor as these appliances have a lifespan and deteriorate over time.

It’s crucial to address any signs of leakage from your water heater to prevent damage and potential risks like flooding and mold growth. Contacting a plumber is advisable, for inspecting your water heater and performing any repairs or replacements.

Can Water Heaters Freeze?

Water heaters can freeze if they are in a location where temperatures drop below freezing. When the water inside the tank freezes, it can lead to damage to the tank and other components. Freezing can result in cracks or even a burst in the tank.

The risk of freezing is higher for water heaters found in areas like garages, basements, or attics and in colder climates.

To prevent freezing it is recommended to take these measures;

  • Insulate both the water heater and pipes.
  • Keep the vicinity around the water heater warm by sealing drafts adding insulation or using a space heater.
  • Drain the water heater. Turn off its water supply if you plan on being gone for an extended period.
  • Install a freeze protection device, this will automatically activate the water heater to circulate hot water within its tank.

It’s crucial to remember that freezing can result in harm to the water heater. If a water heater freezes and sustains damage it will probably require replacement. It’s advisable to seek the assistance of a plumber to assess the extent of the damage. If feasible address it.

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Utah County Water Heater Maintenance

Performing maintenance on a water heater includes checking the temperature pressure relief (T&P) valve, replacing any corroded or worn-out parts, flushing the tank to remove sediment build up, and checking the anode rod for corrosion. Additionally, you should also make sure to keep your water heater’s thermostat set on a safe temperature. Overall, regular maintenance of your water heater will go a long way in helping to keep it running properly for many years to come.

Utah’s has hard water and hard water is rough on water heaters.  This means regular maintenance is a vital step to keeping your water heater running safely and efficiently. Hard water can cause a hard mineral buildup which can affect its efficiency while also lowering the unit’s lifespan. The general recommendation is to perform maintenance on your water heater annually and check for any potential issues. However, with Utah’s hard water, especially if your water heater gets its water from the main vs from the water softener than you may consider doing mini tank flushes 2-3 times a year in addition to a full drain cleaning annually.

Where is the Water Heater Cold-Water Supply Shut Off Valve?

The shut-off valve’s location can vary based on the type of water heater you have. Usually, the shut-off valve is near the water heater itself either on the water supply line entering the tank or on the cold water supply pipe just before it enters the tank.

To shut off the main water supply line, it can generally be found on the wall behind the water heater. or outside your house near either your water meter or your main water supply line.

It’s vital to know where exactly this shut-off valve is located in case of emergencies or repairs. Additionally ensure that it is easily reachable and, in working condition. 

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What is a T&P Valve?

A T&P valve stands for temperature and pressure, also known as a temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve. 

It is a safety feature found in water heaters. Its primary purpose is to release pressure or temperature, from the water heater tank to prevent any dangers. You can typically find the T&P valve positioned either on the side or top of the water heater tank with a pipe connected to it that leads outside of the building. Whenever the temperature or pressure inside the tank reaches levels this valve is designed to open and release water automatically. The specific temperature and pressure at which it opens are determined by the manufacturer. Are typically set at around 210°F and 150 PSI.

There are some issues that may arise with T&P valves;

1. Leaking; Sometimes a T&P valve can develop leaks due to factors like mineral buildup or corrosion.
2. Sticking; In some cases a T&P valve may get stuck either in an closed position which hinders its functioning. This sticking issue can also occur due to mineral buildup or corrosion.

If you notice any leakage or sticking problems, with your T&P valve it is crucial to have it inspected and replaced by a plumber for safety measures.

Testing the T&P Valve

It is important to note that the T&P valve is a safety device and should be inspected and tested annually. To test the valve:

  1. Turn off the cold-water supply shut off valve.
  2. Turn on a hot water tap until it reaches full temperature.
  3. Place a bucket underneath the T&P valve, then lift up the lever on top of the valve. If the valve works properly, you should hear a hissing sound and see some steam or hot water coming out of the pipe into your bucket. Warning: The water is very hot so take care to avoid skin contact.
  4. After a few seconds, let go of the lever and observe if it snaps back into place and turns off the water without any leaks.
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Where is the Water Heater Drain Valve?

The drain valve is a valve that you can use to empty the tank and get rid of any sediment or debris that might have built up. Usually, the drain is located on the bottom of the tank. However, this can vary depending on the model and brand. 

It’s important to periodically drain your water heater as it can help eliminate buildup and extend its lifespan. The recommended frequency, for draining varies depending on your model and local water quality. However, in Utah County it’s recommended to drain it 1-2 times a year.

How to Drain the Tank

Please follow these steps to shut off the water supply;

  1. Turn off the power.
  2. Locate the cold water supply. Turn it off.
  3. To release some pressure turn on a hot water faucet.
  4. Attach a hose to the drain valve. Prepare a bucket, for collecting water.
  5. Open up the valve to allow the water to drain out.
  6. Completely drain the water by emptying 5 10 gallons. Until the water runs clear for a mini flush.
  7. Once done turn on the cold water supply again. Continue draining until the water runs clear.

These steps will help you safely and effectively complete this task without any issues.

What is a Water Heater Anode Rod?

A water heater uses a metal rod called an anode rod, which can be made of magnesium or aluminum. Its purpose is to safeguard the inside of the water heater by attracting and drawing away electric currents that cause corrosion.
This protects against rust and damage, to the tank ultimately prolonging its lifespan. It is advisable to check the rod for any signs of corrosion or deterioration and replace it as needed, typically every five years. If the anode rod becomes corroded or deteriorated it loses its ability to protect your tank effectively. Some newer models may feature an anode that does not require replacement but should still be inspected for wear indications.
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Where Is the Thermostat located?

The thermostat is usually found on the bottom, side, or top of the tank. Gas water heaters the thermostat is typically situated near the bottom of the tank. On electric models, you’ll generally find it near the control panel at the front of the unit. Solar water heaters typically have their thermostats positioned on the control panel near their storage tanks.

Remember to consult your water heater’s user manual for instructions regarding both finding and adjusting its temperature setting. 

What water heater temperature settings should I use?

The ideal temperature range, for a water heater is typically between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This range is considered safe and efficient for households.

Setting the temperature too high can increase the chances of scalding or burns as well as wasting energy. On the other hand, setting it too low can promote bacterial growth in the tank and reduce the effectiveness of the water heater.

Where is the Water Heater Reset Button?

The reset button of a water heater is a button or switch that allows you to manually restart the water heater in case it overheats or malfunctions. The reset button is usually situated near the bottom on the side of the tank.

Please keep in mind that if your water heater overheats and needs to be reset, there could be an issue that caused this trip, in the first place.

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Where is the water heater pilot light?

The pilot light is a flame that continuously burns on a gas water heater. The pilot light ignites the burner when hot water is required.

The pilot light is found near the bottom of the water heater typically located at the front of the unit. If the pilot light goes out, hot water heater will cease to function. 

Why won’t the Pilot Stay Lit?  

The pilot light ignites the burner. If the pilot light isn’t lit the burner won’t ignite. There could be a few factors behind a pilot light going out.

  1. Dirt or blockage; When the burner gets dirty or clogged it may not receive gas to stay lit properly.
  2. Thermocouple malfunction; If the thermocouple isn’t functioning correctly it might fail to send a signal to the gas valve resulting in the burner not staying lit.
  3. Gas valve issue; The gas valve regulates gas flow. A faulty gas valve may hinder its ability to open and allow gas to reach either the pilot or the burner.
  4. Control module complications; Certain water heaters have control modules for managing ignition processes. If this module fails the water heater won’t light up.
  5. Insufficient air flow; Inadequate air flow towards the burner can prevent ignition or sustained flame.

It’s advisable to seek assistance, from a plumber to identify and resolve these issues promptly. Neglecting them can be hazardous since they may lead to gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning.

What is a Thermocouple?

A thermocouple is a safety feature in gas-powered water heaters. It prevents the release of gases like carbon monoxide. Its purpose is to detect the presence of a flame.

The thermocouple generates a current when it becomes heated by the flame. This electric current keeps the gas flowing. If the pilot light goes out the thermocouple cools down and the current stops. This will close the gas valve. This mechanism ensures that dangerous gases like carbon monoxide are not released into your home.

If there is an issue with the thermocouple it can lead to malfunctions in your water heater. For instance, it may prevent the pilot light from remaining lit.

A smiling plumber holding a clipboard standing in front of a water heater and water softener system.

What is a Burner Assembly?

The burner assembly is responsible for heating the water inside the tank by burning either gas or propane.

The burner assembly is a metal plate with openings that enable gas to flow and ignite a fire to heat up water.

To regulate how hot the water gets the heater’s thermostat governs the heat by controlling the gas flow. Ensuring that the water reaches the perfect temperature.

Several common issues may arise with a burner assembly;

  • Failure to ignite; clogged ports on the burner itself or faulty flame sensors.
  • Yellow or sooty flame; Could indicate blocked flue pathways or problems with air intake.
  • Rumbling or popping sounds; Might be a sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank.

If you suspect any issues with your burner assembly it’s crucial to have an inspection and fix it. 

Are Gas Control Valves Interchangeable or Universal?

Gas control valves regulate the flow of gas. These valves are generally compatible with valves of the same size and pressure rating. However, it’s essential to ensure that they are suitable for the gas type they will handle. A valve intended for gas won’t work well with propane or butane. Some valves are specifically designed for high-pressure gas while others are better suited for low-pressure applications.

It also depends on the connection type. Different valves may have connections such as threading, flanges, or compression fittings. To prevent leaks use the correct connection type based on the unit to ensure a seal and prevent leaks.

Do Water Heaters Leaks Gas?

Gas leaks, in water heaters only occur when there is an issue with the gas line supply. There are several common causes of these leaks;

  • Damaged gas lines; If the gas line connecting to the water heater becomes loose or damaged it can lead to a gas leak.
  • Corroded or damaged gas valves; Gas valves responsible for regulating gas flow to the water heater might become corroded or damaged resulting in a gas leak.
  • Clogged burner or pilot light; A buildup of debris in the burner or pilot light can obstruct combustion. Potentially cause a gas leak.
  • Worn out or malfunctioning thermocouple; The thermocouple, which serves as a safety device preventing gas flow if the pilot light extinguishes, can lead to a gas leak if it is worn out or malfunctioning.
  • Improper installation or maintenance; installation or inadequate maintenance of the water heater can also contribute to gas leaks.

It is crucial to address any signs of a gas leak from your water heater to avoid damage and mitigate risks such, as fire hazards and carbon monoxide poisoning.

A smiling plumber holding a clipboard standing in front of a water heater and water softener system.

Do Water Heaters Leak Water?

Water heaters shouldn’t have any leaks so if you happen to notice water leaking it’s a problem. There can be several reasons for this, such as an issue with the T&P valve, drain valve, loose connections, or even a tank failure caused by corrosion.

It is crucial to address a water heater leak early on to prevent damage and potential risks like flooding or the growth of mold. Here’s how to identify the source of the leak.

  1. Begin by turning off the power supply.
  2. Turn off the cold water supply.
  3. To relieve some pressure within the system open a hot water faucet.
  4. Carefully inspect your water heater visually to see if you can locate where exactly the leak is originating from.
  5. Test the T&P valve for any signs of malfunction.
  6. Tighten any connections if necessary.
  7. Examine the condition of the anode rod.
  8. Test for any issues with the drain valve.
  9. Perform an inspection of your tank itself.
  10. If you’re unable to identify or resolve the leak on your own it’s advisable to seek assistance from a plumber.

Remember that addressing a water heater leak promptly can help avoid complications, down the road.

Why is the Water Heater Making Noise? 

Water heaters shouldn’t make noise. There are a few possible reasons why you might be hearing noise;

  1. Sediment build-up; In areas, Utah has hard water and those minerals build up and start to accumulate in the tank over time. When the water heats these deposits they can cause crackling and popping-like noises.
  2. Expansion and contraction; The metal tank of the water heater. Contracts as the water inside it is heated and cooled. This natural process of expansion and contraction can create noise.
  3. Loose parts; If any components inside the tank become loose or dislodged they can generate noise.
  4. Anode rod corrosion; The anode rod, which helps prevent corrosion within the tank may itself get corroded over time. This corrosion can cause it to rub against parts inside the tank resulting in noise.
  5. Water hammer; Sometimes when water flow is abruptly stopped in pipes (known as water hammer) it can create a hammering sound. This phenomenon often occurs when you turn off your water heater or close a valve.
  6. T&P valve; If you hear hissing or whistling sounds it could be a result of the pressure building up inside the tank. 
A smiling plumber holding a clipboard standing in front of a water heater and water softener system.

Why Do Water Heaters Fail?

    Over time the tank and other parts of a water heater can wear out which can lead to it not functioning properly.

    It’s important to maintain water heaters by flushing the tank and checking the temperature and pressure relief valve. Neglecting this maintenance can result in the heater failing.

    As water heaters age corrosion can develop on the inside of the tank eventually causing it to stop working.

    Due, to our Utah water mineral deposits can accumulate in the tank leading to build up. This can result in decreased efficiency and eventual failure of the heater.

    Leaks can cause damage to both the tank and other components ultimately resulting in failure.

    If the temperature and pressure relief valve malfunctions it can cause overheating of the water heater leading to its failure.

    Electric water heaters may fail due to heating elements or thermostats while gas water heaters may fail due to valves or burners.

    Regular maintenance and early detection of issues are crucial, for prolonging your water heaters lifespan and preventing failure.

    Can Water Heaters Be Repaired?

    Water heaters can often be fixed. Whether or not it’s possible to repair one depends on the issue and how old the water heater is. Sometimes it might be more cost-effective to replace the water heater than repair it.

    Some common repairs that can be carried out on water heaters include;

    • Swapping out a thermostat or heating element.
    • Replacing a pressure relief valve that isn’t working properly.
    • Installing a drain valve if there’s a leak.
    • Flushing the tank to remove any sediment buildup.
    • Changing loose or corroded connections.

    However, if your water heater is old corroded, or damaged replacing it could be more cost effective. A professional plumber will be able to assess whether a repair is feasible. If you need to opt for a replacement. 

    Are Water Heaters Recyclable?

    Water heaters can be recycled. The specific recycling options depend on the type of water heater and its materials. To dispose of a water heater properly it is essential to follow federal laws and regulations.

    To determine the recycling options in your area it’s advisable to check with local recycling facilities. Additionally contacting the manufacturer of your water heater is recommended as they might have recycling programs in place. 

    Are Sunset Plumbing the Best Plumbers in Utah County?

    We aim to provide a quick easy solution to fix your plumbing needs in Utah County. We specialize in water heater services and have a team of knowledgeable technicians. Our primary objective is to ensure that the job is done correctly on the attempt by delivering high-quality service for the installation, maintenance, and repair of all kinds of water heaters. Give us a call, we’re happy to serve you.

    Our Utah County Plumbing area includes:

    • Alpine
    • American Fork
    • Bluffdale
    • Cedar Fort
    • Cedar Hills
    • Draper
    • Eagle Mountain
    • Elk Ridge
    • Fairfield
    • Genola
    • Goshen
    • Highland
    • Lehi​
    • Lindon
    • Mapleton
    • Orem
    • Payson
    • Pleasant Grove
    • Provo
    • Salem
    • Santaquin
    • Saratoga Springs
    • Spanish Fork
    • Springville
    • Vineyard
    • Woodland Hills

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    Alma Bradshaw

    About The Author

    Hello, My name is Alma Bradshaw. I'm a licensed plumber with over 20 years of experience in the industry. It's important to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest plumbing techniques, innovations, codes, and regulations. Learn more about plumbing here and feel free to comment below with any questions.

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