Water heaters don’t last forever, and it can be expensive to repair a rusted or leaking tank. Often, it’s better to replace the heater.
Working with natural gas, propane, and electricity is dangerous, so this job should be left to a professional plumber. Also, installation requirements vary by location. For professional help, contact Hot Water Heater Replacement Denver.
The anode rod is the unsung hero of tank style water heaters. This sacrificial rod attracts negatively charged electrons away from the steel water heater tank and other exposed metals in the system. It also helps protect the tank lining by lengthening its life. The anode rod is typically made of magnesium or aluminum, which are softer than the steel water heater.
Anode rods should be replaced periodically, depending on your home’s water mineral content, to avoid corroding down to nothing but a piece of scrap metal. Look for signs that the anode rod is wearing out, including a visible bare metal end or rusting down to its core. Sediment build up on the anode rod is another indication that it is time for replacement. If the rod is corroded down to the steel wire, it is already too late and must be replaced immediately.
Your anode rod is usually threaded into the tank, either in a nipple-type opening at the hot water outlet or in a plug-type opening near the top of the tank. Using pipe dope to coat the rod threads can make it easier to remove and replace. You may need to use a socket wrench or a pipe wrench for this job.
Replacing an anode rod is a relatively easy DIY project, but the water heater will need to be drained first for removal and installation. If your water heater manufacturer has a warranty, this should only be done by a licensed plumber as damage to the tank and water line during the process could void the warranty. If you don’t have much headspace above the water heater, consider using a flexible anode rod instead of the traditional magnesium or aluminum. This will help reduce the odor of rotten egg water caused by non-harmful sulfur bacteria.
The dip tube is the unsung hero of your hot water heater. It transports cold water from the inlet pipe to the bottom of your tank, where it is heated by a burner. Without it, your supply of hot water would be limited or non-existent.
Corrosion eats away at the plastic of the dip tube over time. Constant exposure to water of different temperatures and acidity causes it to erode and shorten its lifespan. Minerals in hard water also impact the dip tube over time. This is why you might see small particles of plastic around your faucets and shower heads. These particles, while resembling dust or soap residue at first glance, actually come from the degraded dip tube.
A functioning dip tube suppresses 8 inches of cold water in the bottom of your tank and pushes it to the center of the tank where a burner heats it. This water then rises to the top where it can be used. When the dip tube is faulty, it lets cold water escape the inlet and mingle with your hot water, which limits your supply and can result in lukewarm showers and washing machines.
Replacing a dip tube is a simple project for homeowners who are not afraid of putting in some elbow grease. The first step is to switch off the power and water supply to your water heater and allow it to cool down. Using a pipe wrench, disconnect the cold water inlet nipple. Then remove the old dip tube and replace it with a new one, being sure to use plumber’s tape to seal off any possible leaks or mishandling in the future.
The thermostat is the part that controls when and how much water is heated. It works with the heating element or burner to raise the water temperature and also tells it when the desired temperature has been reached.
When the thermostat fails, it can lead to overheating and high utility bills as the heating element constantly runs even when no hot water is needed. It is possible to repair a faulty thermostat, however, it is usually more cost effective to replace the unit altogether.
A faulty thermostat can also cause the tank to leak. Leaks can soak and damage belongings as well as create mold when the water reaches living spaces. The thermostat should be tested for proper functioning on a regular basis to ensure it is able to turn the heating element off at the right time.
Older mechanical thermostats use bimetallic strips that expand and bend as the heating element turns on. These devices have a tendency to fail due to wear and tear or corrosion. They should be replaced with a digital thermostat which is more reliable and energy efficient.
Newer electric water heaters have thermostats with digital displays. These are easier to read and offer more accurate temperature settings. They are also programmable, which can help to save on energy costs.
Before attempting to change the thermostat setting, make sure you shut off power to the unit by turning off the circuit breaker. Once the unit is turned off, remove the access panel and plastic safety cover. Unscrew the mounting clip from the thermostat and pry it out of its holding bracket. If the thermostat is displaying a temperature, it can be adjusted by rotating the control dial to a different setting. Any adjustment should be made in small increments to avoid over-heating the unit.
The element is a metal rod that is located at the bottom of the water heater tank. An electric current passes through the element, which causes it to heat up. This heating action is what heats up the water inside the tank. When the element goes bad, your hot water heater will not function properly. This may mean you will run out of hot water more quickly or that the water takes longer to heat up. A bad element can also cause your circuit breaker to trip frequently. If this happens, it is a good idea to consider getting a new water heater.
Failing water heaters can lead to serious health problems, such as bacteria growth in the tap water and carbon monoxide emissions.
The pressure valve prevents water from escaping the water heater when it reaches unsafe temperatures and/or pressure levels. It is a safety device that can save your home from a catastrophic water tank burst that could flood your entire house, ruining belongings and creating mold problems. The pressure valve is located on the top or side of the tank, and it includes a plastic or metal discharge tube that points up.
The water pressure inside the tank rises and expands when multiple people use hot showers or tubs simultaneously. The pressure valve ensures that the expansion doesn’t damage your water heater or cause a ruptured tank. The valve is also designed to protect against scalding in your household.
Your home’s water pressure is typically 80 psi (pounds per square inch), but your hot water heater can operate under high or low pressure. The pressure in your water heater depends on the size of the tank, how hot it is set, and the number of showers and tubs you use simultaneously.
In order to maintain the safe pressure in your water heater, you should regularly check and test your pressure valve. The valve is easy to test by opening the valve and observing the amount of water that flows out of the tube. It is recommended that you drain the tank and perform a pressure test twice a year.
If your PRV is leaking or has not opened when the temperature and pressure reach a certain level, it will need to be replaced. It is easy to do, but we recommend letting a professional handle it because it requires shutting off your gas, turning off the water to your water heater, and disconnecting the tank.