Replacing vs Repairing Water Heaters

May 24, 2021
Water Heater Repair in Washington

The water heater is one of the appliances that few homeowners in Seattle and nearby communities think about until something goes wrong. Buying a new water heater is an expense that might be outside your budget, so you want to make a well-informed decision. Fortunately, many water heater problems can be repaired. On the other hand, this isn’t always the case. If you are having trouble with your water heater, the experts at Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning can help you decide if the heater can be fixed or if it’s time to purchase a new one. If it is time for a replacement, we can help you find the best model for your family. Here are the top 10 water heater issues that we see in Seattle homes.

1. Too Hot

Hot water in your home should be warm enough to clean and bathe, but it should not scald your skin. If the water is too hot, chances are that some small adjustments will fix the problem. The factory setting on most units is around 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and this is comfortable for most people. You can adjust the thermostat of the unit to find a more comfortable hot water setting. If this does not fix the problem, schedule an appointment with a plumber who can check the heating elements and other components to determine if your water heater needs any repairs or maintenance.

2. Discolored Water

Discolored water is typically a sign of rust that may be inside the hot water heater or plumbing pipes. A plumber can usually determine the source of the problem. If the rust is coming from your water heater, the unit needs to be replaced. It is more affordable to replace the device than try to make repairs on the metal components.

3. Rotten Egg Smell

A rotten egg or sulfur smell from a hot water heater is caused by bacteria inside the unit. The bacteria grow in standing water that sits at the bottom of the tank. The water heater should be drained and rinsed to clear out the bacteria. Some homeowners attempt this on their own, but most enlist a professional to come by and take care of the problem.

4. Noises

Water heaters should be nearly silent when they operate. Seattle homeowners report several types of noises coming from their units, and those sounds indicate problems. A high-pitched noise typically comes from the heating elements, and it means that mineral deposits have collected on the metal. You may be able to replace just the elements without replacing the entire heater. If the damage is too severe, though, it is time to have Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning replace the unit. If you notice a gurgling noise from the water heater, this indicates that there is sediment inside the tank, and the water is boiling. You can have the water heater drained and rinsed out to clear the sediment.

5. Tilted

Water heaters are mounted on platforms to keep the tank level. If you notice that your water heater is tilted, it is most likely the platform that needs to be replaced. If the platform is level, the tank may be damaged by corrosion or other problems. In these cases, we recommend replacing the hot water heater. Leaving a damaged water heater in place invites the water to also damage your home.

6. No Pilot Light

Natural gas water heaters have a pilot light that stays continuously lit. When the hot water heater turns on to heat up the water in the tank, natural gas is released, and the pilot light provides a source of ignition. If you notice that the pilot light is out, you can try to relight it. If you are unable to light the pilot, there may be a problem with the thermocouple or valve for the gas. These items can be repaired or replaced without having to replace the entire water heater.

7. No Hot Water

If you turn on a faucet and find that there is no hot water, there could be a few things going on with your water heater. Check to see if the pilot light is lit. If it is out, relight it, and then give the unit some time to heat the water in the tank. If the pilot light is lit, there may be a more serious issue with your water heater. The heating elements inside the unit may not be working, or you may have a hidden leak. In these cases, it is most cost-effective to replace the unit rather than invest in numerous repairs.

8. Leaking Water

Hot water heaters are sealed to prevent water leaks. If you notice water around your water heater, check to see if it is coming from another source, such as an open window or nearby appliance. If the water is coming from the heater, it means that there is a hole in the shell of the unit, and the whole device needs to be replaced. Call Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning to learn about which type of new hot water heater would best for your home.

9. Insufficient Hot Water

Not having enough hot water for your family may or may not mean that you need to replace the unit. The place to start is determining the capacity of the heater. If your family has grown over the years, the water heater may not be big enough to meet everyone’s needs. The professionals at Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning can recommend a larger hot water heater. If the capacity is correct, the unit may need repairs. Check to see if you notice any other problems such as leaks or noises.

10. Age

Residential hot water heaters for homes in the Seattle area are not designed to last forever. The average water heater will last about ten years or less. If your hot water heater is close to this age or older, it is time to have it replaced, even if it seems to be working properly. If you aren’t sure of the age of your hot water heater, check the label on the side of the unit. It should show the date the water heater was manufactured. The reason why we recommend replacing an old unit is that the components are likely breaking down, and you may need to make costly repairs in the near future to keep it running. At Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning, we understand that buying a new hot water heater for your home is a large investment, so we want you to feel comfortable with your decision. Our team will give you the professional guidance and insight you need to choose a hot water heater that will meet your family’s needs for many years to come.

Residential Hot Water Heater Experts

Since 1987, Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning has helped Seattle homeowners find the best hot water heaters for their families. If it’s time for you to buy a new water heater or fix your old one, give us a call today to learn how we can help. Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning is also a top-notch heating and cooling company that offers installation, repairs, and maintenance services. In addition, we furnish energy consultations to help clients save money each month on their utility bills.

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