Caring for your aging water heater| average life expectancy

Tips for caring for your water heater.

When was the last time you thought about or even looked at your water heater?  If your like most of your neighbors you could probably write your name in the dust accumulating on the top of your water heater.  Don’t feel bad, it shocks me how many people don’t even know where their water heater is located.  We often take for granted the hot water that instantly comes to our faucets until the day or night it stops.  This could be avoided with some TLC or recognizing when your water heater has fulfilled it’s life expectancy.

This is a quality installed Water Heater in Estero, FL, No flex lines were used, electric is hardwired and it is equipped with a pan.
This is a quality installed Water Heater in Estero, FL, No flex lines were used, electric is hardwired and it is equipped with a pan.

If you set aside some time to care for your water heater you can greatly improve the chances of getting your money’s worth from it.  Your average water heater sold today only comes with a six year tank warranty for a reason.  Without proper care, poor installation and water quality could have you replacing water heaters quit often.  Over time, your water heater will slowly fill with scale build up.  This scale build up is mostly calcium but hardens up at the bottom of your tank like a bunch of rocks.  This scale build up can make your water stink, reduce the holding capacity of the tank, burn out lower elements and make the water heater very difficult to drain.  How can you avoid this build up?  Flushing your water heater every year is the best way to avoid scale build up.  If your water heater will not drain, it is most likely too late.

What to look for when inspecting your water heater?

The first step is to identify what type of water heater you have and it’s location.  There are tankless water heaters, electric, and gas conventional water heaters.  The location of the water heater is important and can determine how long you may want to wait to replace it.  Water heaters located in attics, multilevel condos, and water heaters located in living space areas pose a much greater risk to flood damage, thus you may want to consider replacing the water heater sooner than later.  A water heater installed in the corner of your garage is a reduced risk to flood damage, so you may be able to extend the life of the water heater without major damage.  On average it is a good idea to replace your water heater when it reaches the age of ten years old.  This may be a bit early for the garage installation but on time for the attic install.  How your water heater looks will help you decide.  The outer portion is just a skin that holds the insulation.  Since it is difficult to inspect the actual tank, you must base your evaluation on connection points and the outer skin.  Look for obvious leaks or rusted spots (which indicates a leak).  Look for burn marks or electrical arching around the thermostat covers.  Remove any debris from the water heater pan and look for moisture here.

These flexible supply lines are allowed by local code. They save plumbers a lot of time and allow for a cheaper installed price. I recommend paying more for hardpiping. I had to replace the leftside hose after only 2 years.
These flexible supply lines are allowed by local code. They save plumbers a lot of time and allow for a cheaper installed price. I recommend paying more for hardpiping. I had to replace the leftside hose after only 2 years.

Most premature water heater failures are a result of  a poor or quick installation.  Water heaters with flexible supply lines like the ones used on your faucets is a sure sign your plumber was in a hurry.  These flexible supply lines do meet minimum local code and are allowed to be used but frowned on by most quality plumbers.  If I would never install my own water heater with these flexible supply lines, I most certainly would not be using these on professional job sites.  Remember, you get what you pay for, the cheaper price usually comes with inferior parts and a plumber racing a clock.

Who can install my water heater?

Protect yourself and property by hiring a licensed and insured plumber in Estero or Naples, Florida.  Although your handyman may be capable of installing a water heater, they are not insured to install a water heater.  A product failure or installation error will not be covered by the handyman’s  insurance.  In some instances, a permit may be required.  You can call us directly for permitting questions.  Many multifamily homes in Collier County and installs larger than 50 gallons do require a permit. The electrical service to  water heaters in Naples, Ft Myers, Estero, San Carlos Park, and Bonita Springs, FL now require hard piping or an electrical whip to pass inspection. The old cords you could  plug in like a dryer are no longer allowed and will fail inspection.

     Moen Brothers Plumbing & Drain is your premier plumber in the Estero area for all your water heater needs, clogged drain cleaning issues, camera inspections, backflow testing. Day or Night, a 24 hour emergency Estero plumber stands ready to answer your call.

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matt

Matt is a Florida State licensed plumbing contractor and certified backflow prevention device tester. He is the president of Moen Brothers Plumbing & Drain LLC operating in Southwest Florida.

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