Conventional tank style water heaters are still the most popular among homeowners. They offer the lowest upfront cost and simple maintenance. Today’s newest models even offer technology like controlling your water heater through a smart phone app. Reliant Plumbing’s master plumbers have put together this handy guide with everything you need to know about tank style water heaters. If you’re still comparing options, you also might want to check out our guides for Tankless Water Heaters and Hybrid Water Heaters.
Why isn’t your tank style water heater working?
We all know how it feels when you turn on your shower and wait for the water to get hot, but the water never does. How frustrating! We’re here to help you diagnose common tankless water heater problems so you know if it’s a quick fix or if you need to call in the pros.Common Tank Style Water Heater Problems
Tank Style Water Heater FAQ's
How do tank style water heaters work?
An insulated tank holds stored water to be warmed up by heating elements. For gas heaters, a flame at the bottom of the unit sends hot air through the middle of the heater with a chimney. In electric water heaters, heating elements get submerged directly in the tank to heat the water.
The hot water stored in the tank flows out when you use hot water at fixtures. As hot water leaves the tank, cold water replaces it, ready to be heated. Because the tank has a storage limit, a long shower can empty out the tank’s hot water and leave you involuntarily taking a polar bear plunge. It takes about 40 minutes to an hour to heat a full tank.
What are the pros of using a tank style water heater?
They have the lowest upfront costs for two reasons. They’re cheaper to buy than other styles (around $400-$700 for the water heater unit). And installation is less expensive because most homes are built to accommodate tank style water heaters. Tank style waters can also provide hot water to many fixtures at once and are easy to install or replace — you may even be able to do it yourself.
Are there any cons to using tank style water heaters?
They can run out of hot water because of the storage limit of the tank. If this happens, you have to wait for the next tank to be heated. If the tank leaks, this can lead to damaging floods. Proper maintenance can extend the life of your water heater and help you avoid leaking tanks. Even so, tank style water heaters only last up to 10 years, where tankless can last 15-20 years.
Where should my tank style water heater be located in my home?
You have to protect your water heater from rain, direct sunlight, freezing temps, high humidity, and excessive dust. Because of this, it has to be installed inside your home. Ideally, you should place it near the hot water fixtures you use most to minimize the time it takes to get hot water. Keep in mind that it’s against code for water heaters to be located in bedrooms since that is a safety hazard. And last but definitely not least, you should put it somewhere that’s easy to access for maintenance.
How long will a new tank style water heater last before I have to replace it?
Gas units usually last about 8-12 years. Electric ones tend to last longer, about 10-15 years. Be sure to properly maintain your water heater by flushing it once per year to extend its lifetime.
Helpful How To's
Are you a do-it-yourselfer? More power to you. Check out some of our most popular tankless water heater how to’s including step-by-step instructions and videos!
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