The hot water system of a household is its backbone, given that it ensures all the essential and necessary tasks and chores present in a house can be fulfilled. Having availability to have hot running water is vital for every individual. So, if your hot water system stops working, this can significantly affect your day-to-day activities and disrupt your usual routine. A hot water system allows occupants of a house to use varying warmth levels of water for all sorts of actions. From taking showers or baths, washing your hands, doing laundry, cooking, and doing dishes, access to water is imperative.
To avoid the situation where your hot water system suddenly breaks down due to poor maintenance, it is of the utmost importance to know when is the best time to replace it. What’s more, any homeowner should identify the signs of a deteriorating water system to know when it needs repairing or replacing. Although such a system usually lasts for an extended period of time, it is crucial you check it on a regular basis, given that it isn’t uncommon for people to overlook it.
Learning to ensure continuous service and maintenance to your hot water system requires specific knowledge that not many homeowners possess. So, by understanding how your hot water system works and what type of signs to look for, you will avoid getting a non-factional system that will halt the hot water in your house. For any individual, having a defective hot water system can be incredibly disrupting. It puts an end to most day-to-day activities, such as cleaning or bathing or having heating in the household.
How long does a hot water system usually last?
There isn’t an exact number of years to count the lifespan of a hot water system, as this is dependent on various aspects, such as the type of system you are using or how regularly you schedule maintenance. For this reason, the latter one is important, as it can prolong the lifespan of the water system and it announces to you when it is time to change it.
In general, a hot water system lasts from 8 to 12 years on average, so by the tenth year of having it, you might have to consider replacing it. Again, this isn’t a rule, and it depends on how often you ensure it is regularly serviced. The lifespan of an electric water heater can differ from that of a gas water system, as the former may last longer than the latter. However, the forecast can be more effectively estimated by how you use and maintain the hot water system.
Deteriorating signs to look for in your hot water system
If your hot water system stops working, chances are you could have avoided this should you have known the deteriorating signs to look for and have provided regular service. Apart from major disruption to essential activities, a hot water system can also cause severe damage to a household. Hence, you should try to avoid as much as possible having your system break down all of a sudden. Worry not, as there is an advantage that can give you a head start – learning the signs your hot water system gives you that it needs replacing. They are as follows:
- The system reaches its average lifespan: If there are no other more obvious signs, you should start giving more attention to your hot water system once it reaches its 8th or 10th year. Although there might not be any rust visible, or other signs, which are discussed below, it might be a matter of time. Therefore, if you haven’t arranged for regular service until now, it is highly recommended you do so when it is close to the estimated average end of its lifetime. In case you don’t know when the hot water system was installed, there Is a way to find out. The serial number placed on a sticker on the tank contains the needed information to detect and figure out the date of manufacturing. However, usually, the number itself looks like a code and not in the usual date format. So, the first letter represents each month of the year, followed by two digits that signify the year when the hot water system was manufactured. It might seem complicated, but you can know for sure when your system is close to reaching ten years since its installation and decide if it needs replacing or not.
- Rust in water: A first noticeable sign of your system starting to malfunction is the appearance of rusty water coming out of the faucets. It is improbable that when this happens, your hot water system is still running correctly. This usually occurs when the system’s lifespan is close to an end, and, typically, deteriorating signs start to happen. Nevertheless, it is crucial that you schedule regular service and maintenance, given that rust is prone to appear much earlier. There is no guarantee that this can occur only when the hot water system is 10 or 12 years old.
- Rust on pipes: With the exception of rust in water, there is also the possibility of rust developing on the pipes. Galvanized pipes can get corroded in time and form rust that causes other issues to appear, from low water pressure due to blockages, health issues from the hardness or the water to ruptured pipes. It is crucial to know whether the rust is originating from the pipes or the system’s tank. If the situation is with the tank, the following action is to replace your hot water system. Otherwise, it won’t be long until water leaks occur, and the damage will be even more significant. If the problem is with the pipes, a plumber must be called immediately.
- Rusty heater inlet valve: If you discover any trace of rust surrounding the water inlet, the chances are that it is present within the tank as well. This means that the hot water system needs to be replaced as soon as possible. When rust formats, there is no other repairing solution other than installing a new hot water system.
- Unusual noise: If you start hearing unusual noises coming from the water system you have in place, it is of the utmost importance you seek professional services to check the installation. Undoubtedly, it isn’t expected for your hot water system to be causing loud banging sounds or rumbling. Similarly, if you start hearing a noise that is not necessarily so intense, but something similar with ticking is still present, that is also a sign of worrying. Most probably, your hot water system is beginning to deteriorate. It might be possible that it only needs repairing, but depending on the issue causing the noise, it is likely that costs of repairing could be higher than the replacement of the water system. Not to mention that your bills can also start piling up if your system is not working correctly.
- Water leaking: The closer your hot water system is to reaching its life expectancy, the bigger the likelihood of seeing water leaks. Such an issue can have significant consequences, as it can quickly flood your house if it gets out of proportion. The principal cause of this deterioration to your hot water system is the fact that the tank itself, which is made from metal, can expand massively over time due to a lot of heating cycles. Over time, in years – approximately ten – the expansion slowly increases. As a result, small gaps can form, and it is enough space for water to go through and starts leaking. Another reason for water leaks is malfunctioning system components, such as poor fittings to the tank or with the pressure overflow pipe. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance you provide service and maintenance to your hot water system at least every year to avoid such issues from occurring.
The difference between service and maintenance
For the proper functioning of your hot water system, it is required you ensure it is checked on a regular basis. When you first hear about the service and maintenance of a system, it might be easy to think that the terms are interchangeable and that they both mean to offer frequent checks to make sure everything works properly. However, there are a few differences between the two. It is crucial to learn about them so that you are aware of what you need to do in terms of taking care of your system throughout the years.
Maintenance refers to the action taken that is required between services. A specialist in maintenance can ensure the hot water system and its components are operating as they should, and there are no faults present that might represent a risk. This is imperative, and homeowners shouldn’t underestimate the importance of maintenance every four or six months. On the other hand, service is required when you start noticing anything unusual, such as one of the deteriorating signs mentioned above. Only a qualified professional who has the proper tools and knowledge to handle this can provide services for your hot water system. If your assumptions are correct, your system will need to be replaced.
Why is it important to schedule service and maintenance to your hot water system?
Installing, maintaining and providing service to your hot water system is essential, if not a requirement. Only this way can you avoid any significant damage to both the water system installed and your home, as an issue such as water leaks could affect the household. Not to mention, if you live in an apartment building, the consequences of a problem like this, which could be evaded with monthly or yearly checks, can affect your neighbours as well.
Whether it is a minor issue or something more complex and severe, you need to ensure that your hot water system is properly and regularly maintained. A little problem can rapidly transform into a major one if you do not schedule service and maintenance frequently. Plus, having to replace your system without knowing it had issues means that the costs will be not only high but also sudden.
Types of hot water systems
Depending on your preference and budget, you can choose to install from four hot water system types. Whether you prefer it is electric or runs on gas, you have alternatives. In order to make an informed decision, the four system types are as follows:
- Gas: With a hot water system that operates on natural gas, you will be able to save money, as it is the most cost-effective option. A noteworthy mention would be that only if you already have the necessary connection to gas is this hot water system reliable.
- Electric: Although an electric hot water system is the least expensive alternative to buy, it can be pretty costly once it is installed and in the long term. Besides, if the source power isn’t renewable energy, there will be higher greenhouse emissions than a gas hot water system would otherwise produce.
- Solar: In contrast to the electric hot water system, the solar one is much more expensive to purchase and install. However, the upfront costs are the only considerable expense, given that the running costs are among the lowest. So, in time, the substantial initial payments are worthwhile. What’s more, this option is incredibly eco-friendly, and it supports sustainable practices, given that energy consumption can decrease as much as 90%.
- Heat-pump: This type of hot water system is the better and more efficient option among the electric system types, given that the consumption of electricity is lower. The only downside is that a heat pump hot water system is more reliable in warmer climates. For it to function properly during lower temperatures, you will need booster options installed.
How often should you schedule maintenance or service of your hot water system?
Depending on the type of hot water system you have installed, you will need to keep a schedule of maintenance according to your system’s needs. For instance, if you have a gas hot water one, it is recommended you schedule plumbing maintenance every two or three months in case there is any early-set corrosion. Additionally, the tank should be drained often to eliminate the sediments that accumulate every few months. Regardless of the reason why you need to schedule maintenance, it is crucial you stick to it to avoid more serious issues and damages.