Like you, your water heater is relieved that summer is finally here! Your water worked very hard this winter making sure that you and your family had enough hot water for long showers, doing dishes, and preparing those amazing holiday meals.

Now that winter has passed, it's a good time to check your water heater to make sure it's functioning properly. Here are four tips for maintaining your water heater during the summer.

Safety

Safety is of the utmost importance, so it's first on our list. Check to make sure that your water heater's safety relief valve and emergency shutoff valves are working properly. The emergency shutoff safety feature ensures your water heater doesn't overflow. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, the temperature pressure relief valve is the most important part of your water heater, as it keeps the pressure at a safe level and prevents explosions.

Temperature

As summer temperatures creep up, so does your utility bill. Whether your household uses fans, air conditioning units, or a central cooling system, chances are you'll be cranking these devices to stay comfortable in the summer heat.

To save money in the summer, the United States Department of Energy recommends that you turn your water heater's thermostat down. When it's hot outside, you won't want or need such hot water running through your house. Also, turning the thermostat down to 120 degrees can save your family a bundle. So adjust that thermostat and feel more comfortable indoors and with your monthly utility bill.

Cleaning and Replacement Parts

Your water heater runs by using a number of systems. First, if your water heater uses a pilot light, make sure it is working properly by extinguishing and relighting it. You'll also want to check the burner assembly unit to make sure that the heating system is working efficiently and not using unnecessary amounts of power.

Be sure to clean around your water heater. Any excess debris, dust, cobwebs, and clutter has the potential to catch fire if too much heat builds up, if there is a gas leak, or if there is a malfunction of the pilot light. Check your filters and replace them as needed. A clogged filter can lead to hazardous problems and an inefficient system.

Water Pressure and Quality

Draining your water heater once a year is a good way to make sure that your water quality and pressure stays at its highest. Flushing your water heater system allows you to check for sediment buildup and get rid of any deposits, if needed. This will make sure that sediment deposits don't restrict your water pressure or interfere with the system's ability to heat the water.

Schedule these annual maintenance tasks at the end of winter to ensure that the cold months and high demand for hot water haven't taken a toll on your system. By maintaining your water heater properly, you'll ensure that your family's water supply is safe and working efficiently as temperatures rise into summer.

Water heaters typically last for at least a decade, but there comes a time when every unit starts to break down. Keep an eye out for these five signs of water heater failure so you'll know when you need to repair or replace your unit.

Advanced Age

To determine a water heater's age, locate the manufacturer's sticker on the unit and then find the serial number. It should begin with a letter that corresponds with the date it was manufactured. For example, a serial number that starts with A, the first letter of the alphabet, was produced in January, the first month of the year.

After the letter, you'll see a two-digit number that reveals the year. A serial number that starts with A10, for instance, indicates a unit that was made in January 2010. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, this is a sign that it could fail at any time. Consider replacing it before it develops more advanced issues or damages your home.

Discolored Water

A high-functioning water heater produces clean, clear water that shows no sign of color or cloudiness. If you notice rust in your water supply, especially when using hot water, this indicates that the water heater is likely rusting away internally.

If you notice dirty or muddy water, this is a sign that sediment in the tank has made its way into your water supply. You can attempt to flush excess sediment out of the tank, but it may have caused irreparable damage to the unit already.

Leaks and Moisture

Your water heater should be able to store and heat water without leaking fluid everywhere. If you see a puddle underneath the unit or notice a new leak, take action right away. Call an experienced plumber to inspect the unit and ensure that a minor leak doesn't lead to a flood or serious water damage. If you have to replace the unit, be sure to have the plumber inspect connections and fittings to assess any other breakages or leaks.

Increased Noise

Water heaters generally operate quietly, but most gradually get louder as they age. A hissing sound could indicate that the water supply is compromised, while a swirling sound means there's a problem with the dip tubes. A banging or popping sound is a clear sign that minerals and sediment have built up in the unit, causing it to overheat. Since sediment buildup can lead to failure quickly, don't hesitate to call for service as soon as you hear suspicious noises.

Lack of Hot Water

Over time water heaters tend to lose efficiency, which can mean shorter showers or a lack of hot water altogether. If you can no longer use multiple hot water appliances at the same time or you've had to cut showers short, it might be time to replace your old unit. Get a professional opinion about the state of your old unit and start shopping around for an efficient new water heater.

No water heater will last forever, but most will provide clear signs when they need immediate repair or replacement. Look for these signs and know how to get the most out of your unit.

Purchasing a new water heater can seem like a daunting and expensive task. However, there are so many reasons why installing a new water heater is the right call. From saving you money to ensuring your home is safe from water heater disasters, upgrading your water heater has huge benefits.

Save Money & Energy

With the ongoing concerns about energy, appliance manufacturers have worked hard to make their products more energy efficient. If your water heater is more than five years old, a newer model could save you a lot. A more efficient water heater will require less energy. Less energy use means your utility bill will be significantly lower every month, resulting in greater savings for you.

Increased Capacity

Depending on how old your water heater is, it may hold significantly less water than a modern water heater. In recent years engineers have designed water heaters to run on fewer and smaller parts, thereby making them more efficient. As a result, the actual tank of your water heater can be larger, thus providing your household with more hot water.

Also, over time water heaters accumulate sediment at the bottom of the tank. This sediment builds and builds, shrinking the amount of space your tank has for water. By purchasing a new water heater, you'll be rid of that sediment and you'll have a fresh tank that can hold its full capacity of water.

Adding a new hot water heater will mean that you'll be less likely to run out of hot water, particularly if you have a growing family.

Endless Hot Water

If you have a large family and find yourself often running out of hot water, it may be time to upgrade to a tankless water heater. A tankless water heater does not store hot water, but instead, heats it as you need it. This means that your supply of hot water is always there for you.

End Chronic Repairs

If you find that your pilot light is constantly going out or your pressure valve is discharging regularly, it may be time to get a new water heater. Constantly having to repair your water heater or check to make sure that it is working properly causes you unnecessary stress and wastes your valuable time. An upgrade to a new water heater will provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that you have a reliable source of hot water at all times.

Safety

Over time, the parts of your water heater will wear out. Electrical cables, safety valves, and pilot light mechanisms all age. Electrical cables can short, safety valves can fail, and pilot lights can leak gas. These problems can lead to a number of safety hazards for your water heater and, in fact, your whole home.

By upgrading your water heater, you can make sure that it is at its top safety level. The cost of a new water heater is very little compared to the cost of damages that a faulty water heater could create.

If upgrading your water heater can save you money, time, stress, and the risk of damages, don't you think your household deserves it?

Innovation has come to the water heater business as manufacturers strive to improve energy efficiency and use green resources in response to environmental concerns. These new water heater technologies borrow from other successful innovations, like those used for home heating.

Solar Hot Water Systems

Active solar heating systems heat household water in direct circulation systems by pumping it through the solar collectors and then into the home. These systems are ideal in climates that rarely freeze. In colder climates, an indirect circulation system is preferable, which pumps a heat-transfer fluid through the solar collectors. The fluid flows to a heat transfer unit, which heats the water in a tank.

Passive solar heating systems work on a similar principle as the active direct circulation system, but do not rely on pumps for water flow. Rather, they use passive methods like a thermosyphon system, which relies on the principal of hot water rising. A solar collector beneath the tank heats the water, which rises into the tank for household distribution.

CO2 Heat Pump Water Heater Technology

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a natural refrigerant and environmentally friendly, making it an ideal option for heat pump water heaters. Refrigerant or heat-transfer fluids are typically made of hydrochlorofluorocarbons, which emit greenhouse gases and can deplete ozone. CO2 is capable of delivering a higher water temperature than its conventional counterpart, but it requires a higher temperature lift and higher pressure in the coil during heat transfer. Currently, these requirements can only be met with expensive materials. However, manufacturers are exploring new methods to make CO2 heat pumps a possible and affordable option for wide-spread residential use.

Electric Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heaters

Ideal for warmer climates, these heat pump hybrids rely on two methods for heating water. A heat pump captures heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the water in the water heater. When the air is cool or demand for hot water is high, a conventional electric heater aids the heating process.

Hybrid On-Demand Water Heaters

On-demand hybrids combine the conventional water heater technology of tankless systems with a hot water reservoir, so you never run out of hot water. Water heats quickly as it passes through multiple copper pipes for immediate distribution. The hot water tank allows a reserve to keep a continuous supply of hot water flowing throughout the household, mitigating the risk of cold water blasts during hot showers when hot water demand is too high.

Condensing Gas Heaters

Gas-powered heating elements burn carbon-based fuel to heat the water. As that fuel burns, it creates carbon dioxide and steam, which vent through a flue. The heat generated by the burning process escapes with these gases. A condensing gas heater captures this heat by passing the vented gases through a heat exchanger. The heat transfers to the cold water, reducing the amount of fuel that would be required to heat the water in a conventional gas-powered system. These condensing heaters boast efficiencies well over 90 percent.

If you're on the market for a new water heater, keep an eye out for these new technologies, as they will help reduce energy consumption and your bills.

You rely on your water heater to keep your showers and baths hot. What do you do when the water isn't coming out at the right temperature? You'll have to decide whether your unit is working properly or not. Here are five signs your water heater needs repair.

Check Its Temperature

Treat your water heater as you would a sick child. Check its temperature to see if it's correct. If it's not, that may be good news. Perhaps something jarred the setting to lower the heat too much. If this is the case, simply reset the control to the correct position to fix the issue. Conversely, if the setting is right but the water's cold, you have a problem. You may need to flush your tank or replace your dip tube, either of which can lower the temperature. A professional can correct both of these problems for a modest fee.

Is the Water Cold?

This isn't necessarily the worst news in the world. It could be the most minor problem possible. If the pilot is out in the water heater, the entire unit can't function correctly. Simply re-light it and you'll have warm water again in no time. If you're uncomfortable with this task, consider hiring a pro to do it for you. Unfortunately, if the pilot is operating correctly, you likely have a more serious problem that will definitely require professional maintenance.

It Looks Bad

When you run water in your home, does the color look wrong? If so, stop drinking it immediately. This improper color signifies rust in the unit that is filtering into the water supply. This isn't a difficult repair, though. Replacing the anode rod in the unit will return your water to the correct color, and it'll be safe to drink once more.

It Smells Bad

Trust your instincts here. Your sense of smell provides an olfactory warning that there's a problem with the water supply. The likely source of the issue is a bacterial infection that has worked its way into the water heater, in which case the device is transporting this contaminated fluid into your home's spigots. You'll want to hire an expert immediately. They'll perform a full flush of your water heater and then sanitize it so that the water is healthy again.

Pools of Water

Seeing a pool of water near your unit is dangerous for two reasons. The first is that someone might slip and fall, injuring themselves in the process. You'll want to mop up the affected area quickly to avoid such an accident.

The second is that you've got a leak in either your water heater or an adjoining pipe. Using a wrench, tighten the connecting pipes to see if that stops the water from pooling. If it doesn't, one of your valves is malfunctioning. This isn't an issue you should fix yourself. It's another instance in which you should call a professional to service your unit.

As you can see, many parts of your water heater can tear down. You'll want to inspect it frequently to insure that your unit is functioning properly. When in doubt, have a maintenance professional look at the device.

Enjoy Having Hot Water Quickly

If you are tired of waiting for several minutes for hot water to travel through a building’s pipes, then install an instantaneous water heater. This variety of water heater has several names, including:

  • Tankless
  • Instant-on
  • On-demand
  • Flash
  • In-line
  • Continuous flow

While large water heaters with huge metal tanks are the most popular appliance to heat water in the United States, that is beginning to change in order for property managers and homeowners to save money on their utility bills. Old-fashioned water heaters are typically placed in cold areas of a building such as a closet, basement or garage. After water is heated by electricity or natural gas energy, it is stored in the device’s tank until faucets are turned on.

Continuous Flow Water Heaters are More Efficient

As the water stored in the tank cools below a set temperature, the heater turns back on to reheat it. This method of heating water is extremely inefficient, leading to higher natural gas or electricity charges. More individuals are choosing to install an instantaneous water heater in a home or business to save money on their utility bills while also enjoying the benefit of having faster access to hot water. While most buildings have only one traditional water heater, when someone wants to switch over to tankless systems, they will need to consider installing more than one instantaneous water heater in a business or home. Point-of-use systems are frequently installed underneath sinks or near bathtubs to provide hot water for particular fixtures.

On-Demand Water Heaters Save Money

An important way that an instantaneous water heater saves money is by turning off automatically until a flow sensor detects water that requires heating. A copper heat exchanger is responsible for heating the water to the temperature set on a thermostat. With this instant-on method of heating water, homeowners and property managers can have a continuous supply of hot water when it is necessary or use only a small amount of hot water instead. An additional benefit of installing a tankless water heater is that property owners and homeowners never need to drain a tank to remove a buildup of sediments. On-demand water heaters are suitable for environments where people need hot water instantly to wash their hands or dishes.

Additional Benefits of Instant-On Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters do not require a lot of space, making the devices perfect for smaller homes and businesses where there are no basements or closet space. Most individuals report reduced water bills after installation of on-demand water heaters in addition to saving money on natural gas and electricity. A safety feature that many individuals like about tankless water heaters is that the devices produce lower amounts of carbon monoxide or nitrous oxide emissions, helping to reduce pollutants inside buildings. While traditional water heaters have tanks that rust, leading to extensive water damage in buildings, an instantaneous water heater does not hold water that can leak.

Whether you are thinking about making an upgrade to a new hot water heater soon or you urgently need to replace a hot water heater that has completed died, you may actively be shopping for the best model for your needs. By doing so, you likely will come across the term point of use water heater, and you may wonder what this is and if it offers you any true benefits with regular use in your home.

What Is a Point of Use Water Heater?

This is a unique type of water heater that is often mistaken for a tankless heater. A tankless heater is one that generally serves the entire home, and it is located in a main entry point where water enters the home. A point of use system, on the other hand, often heats water for one specific location of the home. It may be located near a bathtub, a sink or another feature, and it is designed to heat only the water that is used by that particular feature. These are sometimes used in various areas of the home as the primary source of hot water, but they also can be used in conjunction with a larger heater that serves the entire home.

The Benefits of a Point of Use Water Heater

There are two main benefits associated with using this type of water heater. First, because it only heats water for a specific plumbing feature, the water is typically as hot as desired by the user. There is no concern about hot water being diverted to other areas or about a tank not having sufficient water to meet the needs of the user. In addition, heat can be lost as hot water travels through the pipes, so there is energy efficiency associated with heating water in a more direct location.

A point of use water heater can use gas or electric energy, and it can improve your access to hot water in a specific area of the home. This is not the right type of hot water heater for all homes, but it does serve an important and beneficial purpose for some homeowners. The heating capacity of these models can vary. Therefore, if you are interested in taking advantage of the benefits of this type of hot water heater, you may consider obtaining personalized guidance from a plumber. The plumber can also professionally install the feature in your home.

Many homeowners are making the switch from a traditional tank-style water heater to a tankless water heater. Some may be doing so out of necessity because their old hot water heater has stopped working, and others may be making an upgrade to take advantage of the benefits that a tankless model can provide. Whether you are simply weighing your choices or you have already made the decision to move forward with the installation of a tankless water heater, it is important to know more about what you can expect from this type of water heater.

The Benefits of a Tankless Model
Many people consider a tankless water heater to be a green alternative to a traditional hot water heater, and there are indeed a few energy-saving benefits associated with these models. A tank-style water heater essentially will maintain a specified number of gallons at a specific temperature in the storage tank, and the unit will continue to heat the water whether you need it or not. You may not draw hot water from the unit all day while you are at work, but it will continue to use energy to heat it. With a tankless model, water is heated on demand. Because of this, energy savings can be considerable. However, the actual amount of energy saved will be based on the type of unit you currently have as well as the demand for hot water in the home.

What Else You Need to Know
You should be aware that a tankless water heater does not mean that you have an unending supply of hot water. It does provide you with a steady stream of hot water, but it can only produce so much hot water at a time. For example, you may take a shower for as long as you want without running out of water, and this is true even if the dishwasher or clothes dryer just finished running. However, if the washing machine, dishwasher and shower are all demanding hot water at the same time, there is a possibility that you may not have enough hot water.

When you are selecting a tankless hot water heater to install in your home, consider the amount of water it can heat at any given time as well as the type of energy used to heat the water. These factors will help you to enjoy the maximum benefits from your new hot water heater.