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Water Heater FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions of Tacoma Plumbers

Think about the many simple tasks you perform on a regular basis at home. From all of those evenings you spend cooking up a delicious dinner, to showering and bathing every day, to keeping your home and your family warm and comfortable, there’s only one source that makes all of those even possible; that source is your water heater. 

Without a properly running and a most suitable water heater for your home, cooking, cleaning, bathing and space heating would be absent. There are various types of water heaters including tankless water heaters, and conventional gas and electric. Listed below you’ll find questions that are frequently asked in regard to how a water heater works and the problems that may arise with them.

Q: How does a tankless water heater work?

A: This form of water heating is a newer concept, where water is heated on demand. Compared to gas and electric water heaters, a tankless water heater avoids wasting energy with its flow sensor feature. The flow sensor recognizes when a faucet, stove or system is being activated; only supplying energy and heat when the application is being used. This has grown as a popular choice for it saves energy and cuts utility costs in half.

Q: How does a gas water heater work?

A: Simply, a gas burner sits underneath a tank of water and heats it up. Gas water heaters are found in one of two ways: stand alone units and electric units. 

Stand alone gas water heaters work off of internal controls while those hooked to electric run off of ignitions and pollution control devices. Water is stored and heated in these 10-50 gallon tanks throughout the day. As the water cools down, it must allow more water into the tank to reheat it, utilizing more energy.

Q: How does an electric water heater work?

A: Electric water heaters are generally smaller in size, providing a slower speed for heating but requiring less maintenance and upkeep. Electric water heaters are composed of two heating elements: a lower element and an upper element. These lower and upper elements are made of metal and produce heat from electrical resistance, much like what you would find occurring with an electric cooking range.

Q: What factors should I consider when choosing a new water heater?

A: When choosing a water heater for your home or business you want to consider three variables that will affect your personal needs, your property and cost & energy efficiency: fuel source, storage capacity, and warranty.

Water heaters either retain fuel from electrical or gas sources and have tanks that with capacities ranging from 10 to 80 gallons. These variables will affect how much energy you will use every day, and how much you will pay to operate them on a month-to-month basis.

Q: What are common problems I may run into with my water heater?

A: There are three common problems that people may come across in regards to the proper functioning of their water heaters: leaking water, no hot water or not enough hot water.

If there is a small puddle formed around your water heater, there may be a crack in the tank or a leak developing from the top. If your gas water heater is not producing hot water, the pilot light on your system may have gone out or there could be a malfunctioning part. If your electric water heater isn’t producing hot water, your breaker may have tripped or your system has a faulty thermostat.  

Sediment build-up occurs as a water heater nears the end of its usage life. Build-up decreases the amount of water your water heater can produce causing you to find not enough hot water during those sudden icy-cold showers.

Want a Plumber's Advice?

Do you have any more questions? Let us know!

If you need some home plumbing assistance in the Tacoma area, you can count on us at At Your Service Plumbing. Our professional plumbers can answer all of your questions when it comes to your water heating needs. 
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