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Should I Replace My 20-Year-Old Water Heater?

Plumber Works on a Water Heater Replacement.

Water Heater Replacement

As a homeowner, to save yourself surprises of unexpected major expenses, it is important to know the indicators that an appliance or component is coming to the end of life. When you need a new water heater, the team at Chattanooga Water Heater Co. are the experienced professionals to trust for water heater replacement in Chattanooga, TN. Get on our schedule today by calling 423-718-7342.   

How often are hot water heaters replaced?

The average lifespan of a water heater is between 8 and 12 years old. So, if your water heater has reached the 20-year mark, it is time to start researching a water heater replacement. Besides the age though, there are other indicators that you should be planning on a water heater replacement sooner than later, such as: 


The interior of a water heater is a steel liner, and while it is a strong metal, being exposed to water 24/7, it can begin to rust. As the rust slowly spreads, it begins rusting through the steel. At this point, the water coming from the faucets and other water outlets looks rusty, it may be time for a water heater replacement, or it may be an issue with the plumbing. 

Before you make that water heater replacement purchase, drain 2 or 3 buckets of water from the tank. By the 3rd bucket, if the water is still rusty, purchase that new water heater. 


Another indication that you may need a new water heater replacement is if the current one has started making loud noises like clanking, growling, and rumbling.  This is typically because of sediment build-up over time. 

However, before you purchase a water heater replacement, follow the instructions in the owner’s manual to flush the unit. This should be done every 2-3 years and can lengthen the lifespan. After you’ve flushed the tank, if it continues to make those sounds, proceed with a water heater replacement. 


As a water heater nears its end of life, it may start leaking water from the bottom or sides. If you’re noticing water on the floor, check all the water connections on the unit and make sure they are tight. If they are, then you should start shopping for a water heater replacement. 


If you’re not getting hot water, you can’t get a full tub of hot water, a water heater replacement is on the horizon, probably sooner than later. 

How much is a brand-new water heater?

A new water heater replacement cost can vary based on the brand and model, the tank size, and the power source.  They can start around $800 and go up, but remember, this doesn’t include installation. What is the average labor cost to replace a hot water tank? Like the water heater unit, the cost of labor can’t be generalized either. 

Some plumbers may charge a flat rate based on the brand, size, and power source. But most plumbers charge by the hour for labor plus parts, including the water heater replacement and the components and parts needed to install the unit.

Can I install a water heater myself?

If you’re a handyman DIY homeowner with the right tools, yes, you can install your own water. However, in most municipalities, a permit is required for water heater replacement installation and other type of work. To pull a permit, a license and proof of insurance are needed, which a plumber will have. 

Additionally, consider the warranty with the water heater replacement. Most manufacturers will not honor their product warranty if it isn’t installed by a licensed professional. Then there is the plumber’s warranty, if you have any issues once the water heater installation is completed, their workmanship will be warranted. 

What’s included in a water heater installation?

A typical professional water heater replacement installation will take approximately two hours. During this time, the plumber will shut the water off at the main and turn off any electricity or gas power to the unit, and then proceed with the following steps: 

  • Cut the water lines between the wall and the tank.
  • Remove the unit and drain pan. 
  • Position a new drain pan. 
  • Attach the new TPR valve (temperature and pressure relief).
  • Attach the pipe assemblies.
  • Attach the water lines.
  • Reattach the vent if you have a gas-powered water heater replacement. 
  • Check for back drafting and bubbles.
  • Turn the power and water back on and check for leaks.
A New Water Heater

It’s Time To Hit The Shower! 

Whether you do the job yourself, or as we recommend, have your water heater replacement professionally installed, it is time to hit the shower, load the dishwasher or washing machine!  Have your plumber either quote you a maintenance contract that includes them doing a tank flush every 2 years, or how to do your own water heater flush. 

The owner’s manual will have this process explained as well, but having a one-on-one explanation can make it easier to understand the process. Either way, flushing the unit as recommended is essential in extending the lifespan of your water heater replacement in Chattanooga, TN. Call now at 423-718-7342 to get the installation process started.

What is a high-recovery water heater?

A Technician Works on a Water Heater.

High-Recovery Water Heater

Today, it seems we’re all in a hurry for one thing or another. From getting to work for a meeting or to school before the tardy bell rings. Or maybe getting the dishes done before guests arrive. In most situations, this rush often includes the water getting hot faster, and yet, it just seems to be slower. Maybe your household is the perfect setting for a high-recovery water heater in Chattanooga, TN? If you are interested, please give our office a call at 423-718-7342.

What is a high-recovery water heater?

In the water heater industry, recovery means how quickly the water heats back up. The recovery rate for a standard 40-gallon water heater is approximately 1 hour. With a high-recovery water heater, a 55-gallon water heater recovers hot water in half that time, on most brands and models. 

Are tankless and high-recovery water heaters the same thing? 

No, they are different. A high-recovery water heater is still a tank-style water heater but is made to heat the water faster than the average tank-style. Whereas with tankless water heaters, they are just that: tankless. It heats the water on demand, so there is no recovery period for hot water.

How do you know if you need a high-recovery water heater?

If your household uses a large amount of hot water every day, then you should consider upgrading to a high-recovery water heater. A typical example would be a large family of more than 6 to 8 people, bath time wouldn’t be so rushed with a hot water heater that has a recovery rate of 50 gallons per hour, (or more).

What is the recovery time for a 50-gallon water heater?

Using an electric water heater as an example, a standard tank-style 50-gallon electric heater with a maximum wattage input of 4500 watts would have approximately a 3-hour hot water recovery. This gives you a 70% recovery rate. That recovery rate will diminish over time as the water heater ages and sediment builds up in the tank. 

A high-recovery water heater would recover in half that time, under 2 hours. Just as with the standard water heater, this recovery time will diminish over time as well with aging and sediment build-up.

Which type of water heater typically has the highest recovery rate?

Electric-powered water heaters have a higher recovery rate compared to gas-powered ones. An electric high-recovery water heater or the standard type, has immersion-style elements, meaning the heating elements are immersed in the tank water. With that, they are able to provide a 100% percent recovery rate. With a gas-powered water heater, some of the energy for heating up the water escapes through the flue. 

What is a drain water recovery system? 

Drain-water heat exchangers are used to recover heat from the hot water that is used in the bathtub or shower, dishwasher or washing machine, etc. They store recovered heated water to be used later, which requires having a storage capacity for that hot water. 

What are the disadvantages of drain water heat recovery?

Typically, there isn’t a storage component to a home’s water system. To have a drain water heat recovery, it would be attached to a drain and need continuous flowing hot water to the area you want to store that hot drain water, like a bathtub. This drain water heat recovery storage can be purchased and installed separately, but it is an expensive upgrade. Purchasing a new high-recovery water heater would be the better solution financially. 

Are longer warranty water heaters worth it?

Yes, for anything you purchase that is used every day like a high-recovery water heater, choosing one with the longest warranty is recommended. This can vary between brands and within the brands, the different models. 

How much money do you save with a high-efficiency water heater?

Choosing any appliance for your home that is ENERGY STAR certified will always be the better option. And today, most products on the market today will have that information easily found on the unit because being certified by ENERGY STAR is a must. 

A high-recovery water heater that is also ENERGY STAR rated is using a different technology that can help your household save up to $500 annually on electric bills. Additional savings on the water bill as well because you’re not running as much water waiting for heat up. 

How long does a high-efficiency water heater last?

Whether or not you choose the standard water heater that is noted for high efficiency or you choose a high-efficiency high-recovery water heater, there are several factors that will determine the lifespan of your water heater. Those factors are: 

  • Electric or Gas
  • Brand Name
  • Model/Series of the Brand
  • Maintenance and Upkeep after installation
  • Water Quality
High-Recovery Water Heater

Coming To An End – The Good Old Days

You hear people say about anything made today, “They don’t make them like they used to”, usually about cars and houses, and in many ways, yes, older cars and homes are better than what we have today. However, when it comes to a high-recovery water heater or even a standard water heater, you may ask, “Are old water heaters better than new ones?”, and the answer is no. And let’s be thankful they are made better than they used to be! Water heaters today are more energy-efficient and have glass liners inside the tanks that reduce corrosion. Today, we have more choices in sizes as well as brands, and regardless of what brand and model you choose, or going with a high-recovery water heater or not, you’ll be saving on your monthly expenses. Ready to get hot water fast? Give us a call at 423-718-7342 to install a high-recovery water heater in Chattanooga, TN.

Is a Gas Water Heater Better Than Electric?

plumber working on a water heater

High-Quality Water Heaters

Are you getting the best service from your current gas water heater? Maybe you are, maybe not, but to find out, let’s get an answer to, “How does a gas water heater work?” A gas water heater works on convection, much like your kitchen oven. Convection is based on the physics of how heat rises. 

With your convection oven, hot is circulated inside and around the cavity of the oven. This process helps the food to cook faster and with the use of a fan, it cooks more evenly. In regard to a gas water heater, the cold water fills the tank as the water flows through a supply tube with force, maintaining a continuous supply of cold water.

What are the parts of a gas water heater?

When you understand the components of your gas water heater, you’ll be able to troubleshoot problems and understand a technician when they’re explaining what is needed. The components of a gas water heater are: 

  • The Discharge Pipe, Dip Tube, and Tank: The big cylinder thing of your gas water heater is the tank. The dip tube is inside this tank and extends from the top to the bottom. As the water is heated inside the tank, it rises up inside the tank and is then discharged through a pipe and is dispensed throughout the house to where the hot water is needed. 
  • The Assembly and Gas Burner: Under your gas water heater is a gas burner, this is what heats the water when the pilot light turns on. On the exterior, to the side is a control module that functions like a thermostat for changing the temperature which ignites the pilot light. The gas line runs along the tank, a shut-off valve is there so that the gas can be shut off quickly in an emergency.
  • The Exhaust Flue: Using a gas water heater generates other gases during the combustion process and the exhaust flue vents these gases and performs heat exchanger duties. The exhaust flue is vented from the top of the gas water heater to the outside.
  • The PRV and the Drain Valve: The PRV (pressure release valve) is a safety component that releases any extra pressure & temperature if too much pressure builds up inside the tank. The PRV is an important component because any excessive heat or pressure is dangerous. At the bottom of the tank is the drain valve where you can flush sediment that settles at the bottom of the tank. 

How efficient is a gas water heater?

There are three basic options for gas hot water heaters: 

  • Standard gas water heaters: Most of them today have an EF (Efficiency Factor) between .58 and .60.  In layman’s terms, this means between 58% and 60% of the energy is heating your water. 
  • Energy Star gas water heaters: Most rank between .67 and .70 EF. This option has better insulation and an electrical igniter for the pilot light. Some have a flue damper control. With all 3 of these upgrades, your gas water heater is between 7% and 10% more efficient.
  • Tankless gas water heaters: This on-demand type of water heater is the latest, state-of-the-art type in water heaters, available in electric-powered or gas-powered options. 

How long will a gas water heater last?

If you’re replacing your current gas water heater, you’ll be pleased to know they are manufactured better today. However, to get a maximum lifespan of 15 years, you’ll still need to follow regular maintenance on the unit. This includes a regular schedule with a professional plumber for inspection, draining, and flushing.

Will a gas water heater work without electricity?

A gas water heater will provide you with continuous hot water, even in a power outage, if you have a conventional gas water heater that has a pilot light. If you have a tankless gas water heater, it will need electricity to get the water from the base component to the rest of the house. 

Why is my gas water heater not working?

There can be several reasons why your gas water heater isn’t working. For example, your pilot light may have gone out, the pilot light orifice may be clogged or worn out, or the heating element may be burned out.

If you have checked the pilot light and it is working but if you’re still not getting any hot water, or the gas water heater won’t stay lit at the pilot, call a professional plumbing contractor to inspect the unit. After their inspection and testing, the plumber will advise you on what needs to be done to get it working again, or they may let you know it’s time for a new gas water heater.

Is It Time for A New Gas Water Heater?

If the inspection finds that your gas water heater has retired, you should ask your plumber, “What should I look for when buying a gas water heater?”. So, when replacing a gas water heater, here are five things to keep in mind: 


If you need a gas water heater in Chattanooga, TN, the team at Chattanooga Water Heater Co. can be there to help. Give us a call at 423-718-7342 to schedule your service.

Do All Water Heaters Have a Water Heater Booster?

close up of booster pump on water tank

Increase Hot Water Distribution

A common complaint in large households is the hot water running out in the middle of a shower. Perhaps your water heater is aging and about to quit working, maybe your water heater isn’t large enough for the demands? Or may you simply need a water heater booster installed? 

What is a water heater booster and what does a water heater booster do?

A water heater booster is just what the name implies: It boosts water to heat up. It allows your water heater to provide more hot water than the existing water tank can. So, how does a booster water heater work? 

This small device is installed on the water line and mixes cold water coming from the input valve and heats the water, releasing it through the hot water valve. This device is activated when it detects the water temperature in the tank. This can almost double the amount of time you have hot water at your ready and is compatible with electric-powered or gas-powered water heaters.

How long does hot water boost take?

When the water heater booster kicks in, only part of the water is heated to the specified temperature. But it happens quickly in comparison to the normal wait time for an entire water tank to heat. 

In an E-7 system, the water heater booster takes approximately 60 minutes to heat ten percent of the water in the tank. This is sufficient hot water or a standard shower time. In a non-E-7 setup, the water heater booster will take approximately 30 minutes for that same ten percent amount of water. 

The key factor to a water heater booster working faster is where it is installed. An installation at the tank top will only result in 10% water heated in the tank. If the device is installed mid-way of the tank, 30% of the water will be heated by the water heater booster. And when the water heater booster device is installed closer to the bottom, you’ll have as much as 90% of the water heated within 30 minutes. 

boiler room

Does your water heater come with a booster?

No, water heaters do not come with a water heater booster. Water heater boosters are an affordable, after-market device that you can have installed with the water heater or afterward. 

This is an energy-efficient device that is an ideal solution for any household with a water heater that can’t keep up with their demands. This is an investment that can a homeowner from buying a new water heater before they are ready. 

Do hot water booster pumps work, are hot water heater boosters worth it?

As previously mentioned, a water heater booster can increase your hot water between 30% and 90%, depending on where it is in reference to the existing water heater tank.  There are other benefits of having a water heater booster:

  • Energy Saver: Many water heater boosters offer different modes like Eco Mode or Vacation Mode that will switch off when there isn’t a need for additional hot water.  
  • Space Saver: Water heater tanks take up enough space, typically around 60” x 24”. A water heater booster is a small addition that takes virtually no space. 
  • Money Saver: A new water heater is an expense most homeowners aren’t readily able to purchase, and the larger the capacity, the more the need for hot water for your family. 
  • Easy Install: Installing a replacement water heater isn’t the easiest thing, requires a professional plumber and city inspection. A water heater booster is designed for easy installation. Most will use the same power supply as the water heater tank and the cables needed are included with the water heater booster. 
  • Freeze Protector: Water heater boosters can often include a thermistor that detects dangerously low water temperature. This protects your water heater and conserves energy.
  • Scalding Protection: Even with the water heater set at the maximum temperature for hot water, a water heater booster acts as a protector, turning the temperature down.

How do you install a water heater booster?

Follow these 5 fundamental Water Heater Booster installation processes: 

  1. Turn the water off, prepare the water supply lines and turn the water heater off. 
  2. Attach the cold-water supply valve to the water heater booster cold water inlet and the hot water supply valve to the water heater booster hot water outlet.
  3. Install the proper connector that allows cold water to flow into the hot water mixing valve.
  4. Reconnect all water supply lines to the water heater.
  5. When everything is properly reconnected, turn the water on and wait for the water heater tank to fill. Set the water heater thermostat to 140 F and the water heater booster thermostat to the temperature desired.

And your house is prepared to boost the water heater next time there are multiple hot water tasks taking place at the same time! 

In Conclusion – Do You Have A Tankless Water Heater? 

We know that tankless water heaters are a great addition to most homes, but we also know they can be overwhelmed when too many hot water accesses are in use at the same time. 

So, can a tankless water heater be used as a booster? You can purchase individual boosters for your tankless water heater. They are installed at each water connection, like at the kitchen sink or each bathroom sink.

Increase the flow of water with a water heater booster in Chattanooga, TN. The team at Chattanooga Water Heater Co. is here to help, call 423-718-7342 now!

Can a water heater explode?

water heater in a utility room

Getting a Water Heater Inspection

Well, can a water heater explode? Can a water heater leak gas? Yes and yes! When a water heater is under excessive pressure it could explode and if a water heater has a gas leak, it could explode. These are a couple of reasons you want to have an annual water heater inspection performed. Other things that can cause a water heater to explode is the anode rod, or sediment buildup.

To understand how these can cause a water heater to explode, let’s review how a water heater works, the one common appliance every home has! This big metal cylinder may look simple and ordinary on the exterior, but inside, there is a lot going on. 

Most water heaters are installed in a basement or the laundry room, or today, you can have a tankless water heater that allows it to be installed in more places. In this piece today, we’re going to focus on the old-school tank-style water heater. The tank is filled with water and there is a heating mechanism inside that tank too, along with several other components, all of which are checked during a professional water heater inspection: 

  • Dip tube – Located at the top of the tank, the water enters through this and sends it to the bottom where it is heated.
  • Shut-off valve –This component is located outside of the tank, usually at the top, and shuts the water off to the water heater. 
  • Heat-out pipe –Suspended at the top of the tank inside this allows the hot water out of the tank. 
  • Thermostat – The thermometer is device that controls the temperature. Electric water heaters are two, one for each element. 
  • Heating element – There are typically two of these in electric water heaters that heat the water. 
  • Drain valve – Located the bottom of the tank, on the exterior housing, the drain valve allow the water to be emptied so that water heater repairs can take place, like replacing the elements, and flush sediment from the tank. This is also used to drain the tank to move it or replace it. 
  • Pressure relief valve – The PRV is a safety device that keeps the pressure safe inside the tank. 
  • Anode rod – Made of aluminum or magnesium, this has a steel core and is suspended inside the tank to minimize corrosion. 

All of these components are necessary for the water heater to function, starting with the thermostat controlling the water temperature inside the tank. Normally, the temperature is set 120 degrees but can be set at 180 degrees. The dip tube takes the water piped to the tank and feeds it to the bottom of the tank. There it is warmed up by the heating element. The heating elements will stay on until the water reaches the desired temperature. 

The water rises to the top of the tank as it heats, it rises to the top of the tank. As we learned in 8th grade science, hot water is lighter than cold water. From there, the heat-out pipe, located near the top of the tank and separates the hot water from the cold water, which has sunk to the bottom of the tank. 

Can a water heater leak? 

Yes, water can leak from the connections of the water heater or from the tank itself. A professional water heater inspection can catch things like loose connections, tighten them up, and stop any possible leaks. A water heater inspection also will check all the components on the exterior and interior of the tank, as well as the tank for possible small leaks.

What does a water heater inspection consist of?

During a professional water heater inspection, the plumbing technician will check the following for indication: 

  • Corrosion
  • Leak
  • Weak areas 
  • This includes checking the water lines and vents. 

What are the signs your hot water heater is going out?

Any of the following are abnormal for a water heater and typically are indications a new unit is needed.  In some cases, having a professional water heater inspection first will confirm that a repair is sufficient: 

1. Wet around or outside the tank: Condensation or moisture on the exterior of the tank often is from a slow leak. It can also mean there is a small leak on the tank, and in either case, you should have a professional water heater inspection to confirm there is a problem. 

2. Rust forming on or around the tank: If you see dark red or orange rust coming from the tank or the faucets, your water heater is full of corrosion. If the water smells metallic, this also indicates rust inside the tank. It is beyond water heater inspection, and time to replace the unit. 

3. Loud or unusual sounds: If you hear loud, strange, or unusual sounds coming from the tank, a water heater inspection could find that flushing the unit or replacing the anode rod is a quick fix. Most of the time, replacing the unit is recommended, based on the age of the water heater. 

4. Insufficient amount of hot water: If the water isn’t getting hot enough or there isn’t enough hot water to complete a shower, you need to replace the unit. 

Should I repair or replace my water heater?

First, determine the age of your water heater. Once they reach 10 years old and have any of the issues listed above, replacement is recommended. Have a professional water heater inspection to resolve any doubt of which is the best method for you. 

What water heater do I need?

If a water heater inspection reveals that you need a new water heater, the same technician can help you determine the best size based on the needs of your household. With a traditional tank-style water heater, the following will give you an idea of what size to purchase:

  • Up to  2 people—23 gallons to 36 gallons
  • 3 to 4 people—36 gallons to 46 gallons
  • 5 people—46 gallons to 56 gallons
  • 6 or more  people—add 10 gallons after 56 gallons for each additional person

Which water heater is most efficient?

Choose a brand that is ENERGY STAR rated. With a gas-powered water heater, the energy factor should rate 0.67 and 0.70. If you’re buying an electric water heater, choose a high-efficiency water heater. These extract heat energy out of the exhaust gases for heating the water, and some include a secondary heat exchanger. This provides a maximum in the heat transfer process by extracting as much heat energy from the whole combustion process.

close-up of a shower head spraying hot water

Closing Question 

With a gas water heater, is it dangerous if the pilot light goes out on the water heater? In most cases, an extinguished pilot isn’t dangerous. Today, gas-powered water heaters have a valve that automatically closes the gas supply off when the pilot light goes out.

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Water Heater Replacement?

close-up of a hose being attached to a water heater

Identifying the Need for Water Heater Replacement

A water heater is an appliance we depend on every day, but you likely don’t give much thought to it until there’s a problem. Then one day, as you get ready to take a hot shower, you notice there isn’t any hot water. A few selective words are tossed about and then you realize a water heater replacement will be needed.  

Is there any way to know ahead of time when to replace a water heater, or does it have to be a wait and you’ll know when it quits working thing?  With the water heater being used at least twenty times per day, per person, it is amazing how long water heaters last, typically between 8 and 12 years, some may last 20 years. 

If you’re an attentive homeowner, there are some indications how to tell if you need a replacement water heater, you just need to be aware of these: 

1. Banging, Knocking, Tapping Sounds: If you hear banging, knocking, or tapping noises coming from your water heater, replacement time is knocking too. That noise is from sediment buildup that has created tears in the metal lining. If you don’t get a water heater replacement soon, you’ll start noticing water puddling up around the heater or leaking from the top. You could come home one day to a flooded house.

2. Insufficient Hot Water: If your water heater is good for one shower or one load of laundry, you either have too small of a water heater or your water heater is filled up with sediment and there isn’t enough water in the tank to heat up for multiple uses. Depending on how old the water heater is and how long you’ve been dealing with this insufficient amount of hot water, it may be time for a water heater replacement. 

3. Fluctuating Temperature: Once you set the thermostat on your water heater, it shouldn’t move on its own. So, if the temperature is getting cool in the midst of your morning shower, or isn’t as hot as it was before, reset the thermostat. If it moves again, the thermostat is bad and you may be able to replace the thermostat to fix the problem. If that doesn’t work though, a water heater replacement is your next option. 

4. Leaking Water: Water leaking from the water heater isn’t something to ignore. Check all the water connections to the water heater and tighten them if needed. If there are water puddles under the unit or water leaking from the top, this is more than just water connections leaking, it is time for a water heater replacement. 

5. Cloudy or Smelly Water: As you’re washing dishes, bathing, or doing laundry, if the water is smelling like rotten eggs, or it is brown rusty color, this is an indication that the inside of your water heater tank has rusted, usually, because the built-in anode rod isn’t doing its job. A professional plumber can change the anode rod out and flush the water heater. If that doesn’t fix the problem though, you’ll need a water heater replacement. 

6. Older Than 10 Years: A water heater hits 8 years, you’ve gotten an average lifespan, if it hits 10 years, you’re beyond the average maximum. How often should you replace a hot water heater? Even if your current water heater is still working, start shopping for a water heater replacement now and make plans to have it professionally installed. 

How do I choose a replacement water heater?

Price will always be the main factor for a water heater replacement, but there are other factors that should be considered too. Like the size of the household, make sure you’re getting a large enough capacity.  A 20-gallon water heater replacement won’t be sufficient for a household with more than one person!  But a 50-gallon water heater is more than a 2-person household needs. 

As far as the energy source, if you have electric or gas, you’ll want the water heater replacement to be the same in most cases. If you’re making any changes, a professional plumber can help you with that choice as well as what brand and the capacity. Trust the experts and ask about rebates and tax incentives.

How much is water heater replacement?

The brand, the size, and the power source are all going to factor into the cost for your water heater replacement. They can start as low as $800 and cost as much as $1,200 or more for the water heater itself.

Labor can run between $50/per hour for a plumber up to as much as $800 flat rate. If you need an electrician, you can expect to pay $150/per hour.  

Can a homeowner replace a water heater?

If you’re a handy DIY homeowner and have the tools, sure, physically you can. However, depending on where you live, there may be local governing requirements for water heater replacement. Do I need a permit for water heater replacement? It is possible that you will need a permit, the water will be shut off during the installation and won’t be turned back on until the local governing body has inspected the installation job. 

A water heater replacement installation isn’t as simple as it may sound. A gas-powered unit will need to be vented, there is an overflow waterspout that needs to be installed to flow outside the house, and the electrical part of a water heater replacement can be challenging. 

It is best to leave the installation to the professionals that know how to remove and replace a hot water heater. The work will come with a guarantee and warranty, and if there is an issue with the water heater, the manufacturer may deny any warranty if not installed by a professional. 

full-size tank-style water heater in a boiler room

In Closing 

A common question by any homeowner that has experienced a leaking water heater, is a leaking water heater covered by insurance? If the unit is old and just worn out, no, the insurance company will not reimburse or cover any expenses of the water heater replacement, or any damage caused by it leaking. 

However, if the water heater leaking is caused by some unforeseen event, like a hurricane, earthquake, or anything a homeowner could not prevent, they may pay for the damage caused by the leaking unit. Check your homeowner insurance policy to confirm what is and isn’t covered.

How do you test an electric water heater?

hose being attached to a water heater

Dealing With Water Heater Problems

The water heater is one of the last things we think about in our daily life. It’s always there and the hot water is always there …. until it isn’t. Then, one morning you get up to take your shower and there’s nothing but cold water. It is only then you wonder if you really should be scheduling a professional water heater inspection

Why do water heaters need to be inspected? 

If avoiding a cold water shower one morning isn’t enough reason, here are three more reasons why getting a water heater inspection is a good idea: 

1. Avoid Expensive Major Problems

Like your car gets an annual inspection and your HVAC system gets an annual inspection, a routine water heater inspection will catch small issues before they become major problems that can be expensive. The more a water heater operates, the more sediment builds up and corrodes the unit. Corrosion and sediment build up can cause a water heater to malfunction or quit altogether. A water heater inspection will allow a technician to catch possible issues and make repairs before your water heater quits. 

2. Lower Your Water Heating Costs

Heating water is a large part of a utility costs, as much as 20% in most homes. If your water heater isn’t working at its full capacity, it is using more electricity or gas to heat the water. With an annual water heater inspection, the technician can keep your water heater at optimum functionality. 

3. Protection For Your Family

A gas water that isn’t working at its prime can create carbon monoxide, an odorless gas that can make you ill and is deadly if enough is leaked. This happens when a water heater isn’t vented properly, which is one thing a water heater inspection will catch and something that can be fixed before it begins leaking carbon monoxide. 

What happens during a water heater inspection? 

Water heaters don’t require a lot of maintenance, and the manufacturer’s manual will provide information on what should be included in a water heater inspection. Here is a brief summary of what will typically take place during a professional water heater inspection: 

  • Tank Flush: You can do this yourself, using instructions provided in the manual. No matter what the quality of the water coming into your home, there will always be some amount of sediment built up. A technician doing a water heater inspection will flush the tank to remove any corrosion and sediment. 
  • The Anode Rod: This is an important component to any water heater, but over time, because it is submerged in water protecting the water heater from rusting, it may need to be replaced. A water heater inspection will include the technician checking the anode rod and replacing it if it has started rusting. 
  • Additional Checks: The water heater inspection will also include checking all the plumbing connections for gas and water, checking the electrical connection if applicable and checking the pilot light. 

How much does a water heater inspection cost?

A plumbing inspection will include a water heater inspection too, since both are connected and work together, it only makes sense to have your home’s plumbing check too. The average size one-story home can cost around $200.00 plus any parts and labor that is needed. 

How do you test a water heater element?

When your electric water heater isn’t heating the water, it is often an burned out heater element, usually the bottom unit. However, it could be the top element and the following steps will determine which one needs to be replaced: 

  1. Turn off the power to the water heater, including the circuit breaker. 
  2. There are two wires connected to the water heater element, remove them and push to the side.
  3. Unscrew the mounting hardware and slip the wires out, bending them so they are out of the way. 
  4. Using a multitester at ohms setting, set it at the lowest reading. 
  5. Touch one of the multitester probes to each screw on the element. If there isn’t any ready, the element needs to be replaced. 

How do you test a water heater sensor?

During a water heater inspection, the technician will check the sensor along with the element. The following steps, using a multimeter, can be checked as follows: 

  1. Check the power supply to the thermostat terminals, there should be a reading on terminal one and terminal three of 240V. If you don’t get a reading, check the power source is on the high limit switch.
  2. Rotate the lower thermostat dial to deactivate and turn the temperature to its highest setting. 
  3. Place the multimeter prongs on the terminal one and the heating element blue wire. 
  4. If you get a reading of 240V there is power. 
  5. Now placing the prong on terminal two and the heating element blue wire. If you don’t get a reading, the water heater thermostat needs to be replaced. 

How do you test a water heater ignitor?

Today, the ignitor, or pilot light, is behind a glass so that the actual flame isn’t in the open anymore. The water heater inspection will require you to repeatedly press the ignitor button, a small blue spark should show behind that glass. If not, then the ignitor is bad and should be replaced. 

How do you test a thermocouple on a water heater?

A water heater inspection will include checking the pilot light flame. If flame goes out when the button is released after 60 seconds, the thermocouple needs to be replaced. A technician can usually do this without having to remove the complete burner assembly. 

shower head producing hot water

In Closing – Water Heater Inspections

So, just how often should a water heater be inspected by the homeowner? Every 30 days or so, you should check all the connections, electric, gas, and water. Make sure they are all firmly connected, nothing is leaking. Once a year, flushing the tank is recommended. 

A professional water heater inspection should be done once every three years until the unit is about  seven to eight years old, then once a year. Most water heaters will have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. The frequency of water heater inspections should increase as they age.

How often should a water heater be replaced?

close-up of technician working on a water heater

Do you need to inspect your water heater?

There are a few things every homeowner should inspect as part of a monthly routine. These include the HVAC filter, the smoke alarm batteries, and the roof. With a visual inspection, you can usually tell if any of these things need professional service or something as simple as a battery change. So what about a water heater inspection

Yes, a water heater inspection should be on that monthly list. But what is a water heater inspection? Water heaters are typically reliable appliances, sitting in a closet and quietly doing their job. However, this is why you need to check it out every 30 days. As a homeowner, a list of things to check during your water heater inspection include: 

Test the TPR Valve

  • Turn the cold-water supply and electrical power off.
  • Position a bucket under the TPR valve, typically located on the side or the top of the tank. 
  • Lift the tab on the valve to release some water out. If the water doesn’t stop flowing after shutting the valve, drain the tank some more using a pipe wrench, remove the old valve, and install a new TPR valve. 

Check the Anode Rod

  • Connect a hose to the drain cock on the tank and release two to three gallons of water.
  • Now, fit a 1 and 1/16 inch socket on the hex head, located on top or under the top plate, and unscrew the rod. If there is any calcium coating the rod, replace it. Use Teflon tape before inserting it into the tank and then tighten.  

Drain the Tank and Remove Sediment

  • Drain any water remaining in the tank into a bucket. Open the cold-water valve to stir up any sediment on the bottom of the tank. Drain that water and repeat the process until the water is coming out clear.
  • Shut the drain cock, refill the tank, and turn the power back on.

Check the Drain Pan

  • Clean any water and gunk from the drain pain using a shop vac.

How often should a water heater be inspected?

In addition to taking care of the things described above monthly, will need a professional electric or gas-powered water heater inspection every two years. However, when a water heater is about eight years old, an annual professional water heater inspection is recommended. 

Who does water heater inspection?

You can and should do your own water heater inspection every 30 days, as mentioned. However, for a professional water heater inspection, call a licensed plumber. They have the skills and equipment to handle most tasks associated with the hot water heater. If there are any electrical issues that need to be taken care of and that are beyond their capabilities, they will have an electrician assist . Examples of when help from an electrician may be needed include problems with circuit breakers or wiring. 

How long will a water heater last?

The lifespan of a water heater is dependent on a few factors: 

  • The quality of the water heater
  • Your water quality
  • Whether a water heater has had routine maintenance and water heater inspections

Both electric and gas water heaters can last between eight and 12 years. However, some have been known to last up to 20 years, though this is in rare circumstances, such as when a water heater is located in a home where the owner is often away.

What are the signs of a water heater going bad?

There are seven common indicators that your water heater is about to call it quits, probably without any notice other than the following signs: 

  • Insufficient Hot Water

If you run out of hot water while showering, check the temperature setting. Move it five degrees higher and wait 30 minutes. If the water still isn’t getting heated, check the circuit breaker. If it has tripped, reset it. If you still aren’t getting enough hot water after this is done, it is time to have a professional water heater inspection. 

  • Varying Temperature

Fluctuating water temperature could be a sign of a failing thermostat. However, it could also be a sign your water heater isn’t the right size for what your home needs. A professional water heater inspection can determine the problem and advise on whether you need a replacement unit. 

  • Water Heater Leaks

When the water heater is leaking, it’s time to take immediate action. Start with turning off the water and electrical or gas power. Then, do your own water heater inspection to see if you can tell where the leak is coming from. If it is from the TPR or drain valve, you can typically replace the water heater part and stop the leak. If it is coming from the tank itself, you may need to replace your water heater. 

  • Reduced Water Flow

If the water flow pressure has dropped, it could be because of buildup of sediment in the bottom of the tank. Try to flush the unit, and if that doesn’t fix it, it is likely time for a new water heater. 

  • Concerning Noises

When you’re hearing odd and unusual noises coming from the water heater, like banging, boiling, cracking, gurgling, popping, or whining, that could be a sign it is time to replace the unit. 

  • Discolored or Smelly Water

If water coming from your faucets that is dirty, red in color, or smelling like rotten eggs, there is likely bacteria and rust in the tank. This could be fixed by replacing the anode rod and flushing the tank. If that doesn’t help, it is time for a new water heater. 

Should I replace my water heater before it fails?

If you want to prevent having a cold shower some morning, yes. It is also easier on the plumbing and your appliances to replace it before it fails, and that’s not to mention the benefits of cleaner and healthier water. 

What water heater do I need?

With a professional water heater inspection by a plumber, you can get help determining what water heater is best for your household.  Suggested sizes are: 

  • Up to 2 people: 30-to-40-gallon water heater tank
  • Two to 3 people: 40-to-50-gallon water tank
  • Three to 4 people: 50-to-60-gallon water tank
  • Five or more people: 60-to-80-gallon water tank.
close-up of shower faucet

In Closing – Can a water heater explode?

It is rare but possible. Anything that is under pressure like a water heater tank has the chance of too much pressure building up and leading to an explosion. With a gas-powered water heater, an already dangerous issue such as a gas leak can cause a water heater explosion.  This is just one of the many reasons why water heater inspections are so important. 

What is the advantage of having a tankless water heater?

Shower spraying hot water

Why choose a tankless water heater?

The tankless water heater is making its way into more homes every day. So what makes tankless water heaters so good that everybody seems to want one? Are tankless water heaters better? Just what is it that makes them better than the standard storage tank water heaters?

When replacing the water heater in your home, it is a small investment that requires consideration of three main factors – Cost. Efficiency. Longevity. It is those three factors that have made many homeowners switch to the tankless water heater. But there isn’t such a thing as the ideal, perfect appliance, and the tankless water heater is no exception. The advantages do deserve a review though:

Over time, a tankless water heater will save you money
Energy efficiency up to $100 annually for gas and $44 for electric models
Up to a 30-year lifespan
Less space needed
On demand hot water

But as with all good things, there are some disadvantages with the tankless water heater too:

  • Initial purchase is higher
  • Tankless water heater installation may require extra electrical and plumbing work
  • The output of hot water can be challenging when there are multiple areas of need

We’re going to answer some specific questions about why a tankless water heater vs tank may be better for some, yet may not be the best answer for every home.

How does a tankless water heater work?

Tankless water heater means there isn’t any storage tank like the traditional water heater we have grown accustomed to having in our homes. Instead, the process of getting hot water has been simplified. Turn on the hot water faucet and you get instant hot water as the cold water travels through piping into the unit. It is then heated by electricity or gas, depending on which type of tankless water heater you have.

A tankless water heater doesn’t require waiting for the water to fill up the tank. Instead, two to five gallons of water are heated instantly. For a home where hot water is needed in abundance, like lots of showers, dishwasher, and laundry all running at the same time, a gas tankless water heater would be the better choice.

Is a tankless water heater gas or electric?

Tankless water heaters are available with both electric and gas power. One isn’t specifically better than the other and the decision of which to get needs to be determined by the expected hot water usage along with the following factors taken into consideration as well:

  • The availability of adequate electrical supply or natural/propane gas for the high output required by a tankless water heater
  • The initial cost of installation
  • The cost for an electric or gas tankless water heater of the appropriate size
  • The water usage habits of the household
  • The cost difference of electricity and gas for the area now and going forward
  • The desired location
  • Personal preference

Which tankless water heater is better?

Like anything new on the market, every year another manufacturer releases their version of a tankless water heater. Which brand is better will depend on what is the most important feature to your household.

  • Best overall tankless water heater: Rinnai RUR160iN
  • Best tankless water heater for a low price: EcoSmart Eco 18
  • Best electric tankless water heater: Rheem RTEX-24
  • Best point-of-use heater: Bosch Tronic 3000

How big of a tankless hot water heater do I need?

To choose the right size tankless water heater, the flow rate needs to be assessed along with the temperature rise, meaning the whole house or for one particular room.

Step One: How many water devices will need hot water and what is their flow rate. The desired flow rate is the expected demand for hot water.

Step Two: Decide the required temperature rise by subtracting the incoming water temperature from the output temperature.

Step Three: Choose the sizing with an average shower using 2.6 gallons at 104 to 106°, you want enough hot water for two showers simultaneously.

Do tankless water heaters need maintenance?

Yes, like tank storage water heaters, there is some level of maintenance that should be done.

Frequency of Cleaning

An annual flushing is needed with a tankless water heater, the same as with a tank storage water heater.

Exterior Maintenance

Wipe down the cover with a non-abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth to keep it dust-free and to help prevent rust from developing. The pipes should be inspected for possible cracks or splits in cold weather. If there is a PRV on your tankless water heater, test it occasionally.

Descaling a Tankless Water Heater

Start by disconnecting the power source and then close the cold and hot water shut-off valves. Open the PRV carefully and connect the flush kit hoses with the water service ports. Place a submersible pump in a bucket with the cold water connected to the pump and the hot water hose inside the bucket, and then pour four gallons of vinegar in the bucket. Open the cold and hot service ports and turn on the submersible pump.

Let the vinegar circulate through the water heater for one hour then turn the pump off and pour out the vinegar. Next, close the cold water service port and open the cold water shut-off valve to flush out the vinegar. Close the valve and allow the water to drain completely. Finish by closing the hot water port.

Close-up of tankless water heater

In Closing

How long does a tankless water heater last? A traditional tank storage water heater system will have a maximum life expectancy of six to 12 years. A tankless water heater has a life expectancy of 20 years or longer. The tankless water heater has parts that can be easily replaced that will extend that life expectancy. If you’re interested in learning more about tankless water heaters or having a tankless water heater installed, reach out to the Chattanooga Water Heater Co. team at 423-718-7342.

How Does Water Heater Booster Work

water heater system

What does this device do exactly?

Before we get into how a water heater booster works, let’s discuss what is water heater booster, and while we’re at it, we’ll discuss just what does a water heater booster do. A hot water heater booster attaches to your existing water heater. A water heater booster is an ideal investment for homes where multiple hot water sources are needed. 

A water heater booster is a solution when a home doesn’t get enough hot water by mixing cold water with hot water through input valve. Then hot water is delivered while the water heater booster actually conserved energy as it made hot water immediately available. 

Can you purchase a water heater with booster already attached or installed? No, water heater with booster pump aren’t available, they are sold separately because water heater manufacturers have designed their water heaters to provide a certain amount of hot water.  A water heater booster is additional for a household that  have frequent frustrations of not having enough hot water for the family’s everyday use. 

A standard time for a shower can use up to 10 gallons of water. When you count how many people in your home take a shower at night or in the morning is there any surprise a 40 gallon water tank would run out? Even with a tankless water heater, they can’t supply hot water to more than one or two fixtures at a time. A water heater auto booster can resolve that issue by heating up more water before its needed. 

water pressure booster

What are some benefits that hot water heater booster reviews talk about? 

Water heater booster offers several key advantages that will provide you a value-add to your home’s value with the following: 

  • Additional Hot Water: Like the name says, a water heater booster increases the amount of hot water in your home. The water pressure is improved too, which will ease the stress on your plumbing. 
  • Energy Saver: It is normal to think that additional devices in the home will only use more energy, but a water heater booster does just the opposite. If anything, customer reviews have stated that a water heater booster makes the water heater operate more efficiently.  
  • Conserve Water: With a water heater booster, less water is used overall  because there is plenty of hot water stored, no need to run the water longer to get more hot water. 
  • Installation Easy: While it is always recommended to use a plumbing contractor for these things, for a handy homeowner, it can be done fairly easy to learn how to fit hot water booster pump. 

Installing a water heater booster isn’t difficult, but it isn’t for a person will no basic household repair skills.  The following steps will guide you through the process.

#1. The Location 

Decide where you want the water heater booster installed. The standard location is past the main water shutoff valve in an easy to access place for emergency need. You want the install to the water pressure booster to have as little elbows and pipes as possible. 

#2. Measurements

With the location decided, take accurate measurements of that area and the main water line. Include the size of the pipes to be used, the elbow sizes, and other factors. As the old adage says: Measure twice, cut once. Include measurement for bypass piping if needed. This bypass piping will give you the ability to retain water inside your home should the water heater booster needs to be replaced. 

#3. Mounting The Booster

The water heater booster should be instead on a solid base or on the floor if the flooring is concrete. This solid base is needed because of the amount of vibration a water heater booster makes. 

#4. Turn Off & Drain the Water

The water should be turned off at the main water shutoff valve and allow all the pipes to drain of water. Open faucets to drain to assist with the draining. 

#5. Cut the Pipe

With a tube cutter tool, cut the require amount of piping section need for installing the water heater booster. Use sandpaper to remove any burrs and shaving from the pipe ends so the pipe will make a good connection to the water booster pump. 

#6. Drain Remaining Water

Make sure there isn’t any water left in the pipe by check the lowest faucet location where the pipe was cut. By making sure the highest point faucet is open, any residual water should drain. Place a bucket under the pipe where it was cut to catch any water that drains. 

#7. Install Pump

Install the elbows needed to the main water line so they point towards the water heater booster. Next, install a check valve as a safety to high water pressure that flows back into the street. Professional plumbers recommend a PRV and low pressure cutoff switch is installed for safety purpose. 

#8. Turn the Water On

Slowly turn the water back at the main shutoff, checking for leaks as you turn it on. If any leaks are found, turn the water back off immediately. 

#9. Prime the Pipe with Running Water 

Before you plug the water heater booster on, make sure the faucet are open so any air in the lines can be removed. Once the water begins flowing, turn the faucets off. 

#10. Plug the Water Heater Booster

Plug the  water heater booster into a GFCI outlet and let it run for a while, which it should shut off automatically after reaching the target pressure point. 

If you’re not sure that an instant hot water heater booster is worth the expense, rest assured those who have them recommend them.  An instant water heater booster will minimize your downtime of waiting for water to heat up for the next shower.  If the only area not getting ample hot water, consider having a compact water booster heater installed, perhaps at the washing machine or in the kitchen for dishwashing. Need a water heater booster installed in Chattanooga, TN? Call 423-718-7342 today.