Water heaters are one of the larger utility items that a home owner can replace by themselves. Unfortunately the weight of the water heater and its size make it difficult to get rid of. When purchasing a new water heater you will have to decide if you are willing to go through the hassle or pay $150 for someone to install a new one who will take your old one away as part of the install.
With that said lets look at some of the features you can find in a new water heater and cover some general care that you can do to make your water heater last longer.
Water heaters come in various sizes and are supplied by many different fuel sources. Natural Gas, Propane, Electric are all readily available in most areas and the choice of fuel will be based on your needs.
Electric is a good decision if you are supplying water for a remote location that can get a electric service but can’t get Natural Gas or Propane but the cost to heat your water will be more. Some home owners do not like Gas and this would be a second factor in their decision.
Natural and propane gas are about the same Natural gas is fed by street service lines and Propane by a large tank that is filled by a truck.
Whatever fuel source you decide to use the operation of the Water Heater is about the same.
Cold Water is supplied to the tank from your water service line.
Inside the tank are coils that heat the water. A thermostat inside the tank senses the temperature of the water and turns off the heating coils once it hits the correct temperature.
Electric water heaters usually have 2 heating elements. If your water is not getting hot enough you can check the coils with an Ohm Meter.
All water heaters will have an Emergency Release Valve. The valve operates if the water heater overheats. Its not often that this will happen but this valve can save you from a burst tank.
Drain Valves are located at the base of the tank. They will have a hose connection so you can drain the water out of the tank. It is important to drain your water tank once a year to prevent scale buildup. In tanks that are never drained mineral scale deposits have been known to fill the bottom of the tank 1/3rd or more.
A tip is to drain your water heater into your sump pump this way you can give your pump a yearly check at the same time.
Some sources will say that adding an insulating blanket to your water heater will reduce your heating cost. This is probably true however the insulation in the heater is of a better quality then a half inch blanket can provide. The benefit of cost vs payback is probably pretty low so if you feel you want to install one then follow the manufacturers instructions.
Please see our HowTos on Tankless Water Heaters and Solar Water Heaters.
The YouRepair store sells a variety of models of Hot Water Heaters including Tankless and full sized tank heaters. We also have a great selection of Timers, Insulating Blankets and other plumbing products to get your whole job done. Remember free super saver shipping on many orders over $25