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What to Consider Before Water Heater Installation

Your water heater is nearing the end of its life and has started to show the signs, like snapping and cracking sounds, leaks around the tank, and the inability to meet your home’s hot water demands. You could even wake up one morning and go to take a hot shower before work to discover there is no hot water at all!

While not having hot water can definitely be an emergency, it is worthwhile to take a little time to compare your options. Before replacing the water heater, there are several things you will want to consider about water heater installation and selecting the best water heater for your home.

gas lines water heaters winter

  1. What is actually wrong with the current water heater? One common problem in electric water heaters is the heating elements will wear out. If that is all that is wrong, you may not necessarily need a new water heater right now. With gas water heaters, the burner unit at the bottom of the tank can also wear out and can cause problems. You will want to compare the costs of water heater repair versus a new one.
  2. What are your home’s hot water demands? Prior to looking at the different types of water heaters, you need to figure out your hot water usage. Does more than one person shower simultaneously? Do you like to take long hot showers? Do you run the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time? It is important to think about these things to ensure you will have hot water when you need it.
  3. What type of energy do you want to use? Your current water heater will most likely be electric or gas. Often, the water heater replacement will be the same as you use now unless you are doing some home renovations and want to switch energy types. Another option you might want to consider is solar power.
  4. How big of a water heater do you need? Your home’s hot water demands should fit the proper tank size if you are looking at a traditional water heater. You want to make sure the storage capacity will be sufficient so you never run out of hot water. In addition, the size of the water heater needs to be able to fit into the available space. If not, you may have to move the new heater to a new location.
  5. Which type of water heater do you want to get installed? While a traditional water heater is a good choice, you may want to consider tankless or solar-powered water heaters. These alternatives can cost more initially, but, in the long run, can save you money on your water heating energy bills. Just keep in mind, there can be added conversion costs when switching from one type of water heater to another.
  6. What is the energy efficiency of the new water heater? Energy efficiency has to do with how much your average annual water heating costs will be for electric or propane water heaters. Tankless heaters can be more energy efficient than traditional tank models. However, new tank-type models are much more energy-efficient compared to five years ago. All new models should have an energy efficiency rating sticker to help you make a comparison. However, if you are looking for the most green and energy-efficient heating source, you might want to go for propane, which is much cleaner and cheaper than oil or electricity. You can consult a company (like FSi Oil and Propane) that has an automatic fuel delivery program, which can ensure that you have enough propane in your tank.
  7. What type of warranty is on the new water heater? All new water heaters will come with some type of limited warranty. You will want to find out how long the warranty period is, what it covers, and how to get warranty service if it is required.
  8. How will you dispose of your old water heater? If you buy your new water heater from a qualified and licensed plumber and water heater installation company, they will typically haul your old water heater away. Some companies will haul the old water heater away for free, and others may charge a fee. Make sure to ask ahead of time to find out.
  9. Can the plumber do an in-home inspection and offer advice? Having a plumber come to your home is a good idea. They will need to see where the current water heater is installed to get an idea of how much space is available. Plus, they can help you with your hot water needs assessment to ensure you choose the best new water heater for your home.

woman meeting service worker

  1. How much do you have to invest in a new water heater? Your budget is equally important when selecting a new water heater. You want to get estimates and verify you can easily afford the water heater. If you are short on the cash, talk to your plumber, as many are able to refer you to finance firms that can lend you the money to get a new water heater.
  2. How long will you have to be without hot water during water heater replacement? This will depend on the type of water heater you are having installed. On average, if you are replacing an existing tank-type water heater with another one, you should plan about three hours. This does not take into account any additional plumbing work that may need to be completed. For tankless water heaters, it can take longer. When you get your estimate for your new water heater, your quote should show an estimated installation time.
  3. What brands does the plumbing company sell? You may already have a particular brand in mind you want, but you should verify your plumber also sells this brand. If not, verify they can install and service the brand should you decide to purchase it elsewhere.
  4. Are there special incentives, rebates, or promotions? Sometimes water heater manufacturers offer deals on select models. Your local plumber may also have his or her own deals. Don’t forget to check out possible tax rebates you may qualify for if you opt for an Energy Star Certified or solar-powered water heater.
  5. Should you include a preventive maintenance plan on your new water heater? Annual maintenance helps ensure your new water heater will last as long as it can. Should there be any problems that start to develop, they are far less to repair and fix than waiting until the water heater breaks down.

(H2) Why Hire a Professional Plumber for Water Heater Installation?

You may have watched an episode of your favorite DIY program that showed how to do your own water heater replacement. You might think after watching the program that replacing a hot water heater might seem like an easy weekend DIY project. All you have to do is shut off the water, drain the heater, and disconnect some plumbing lines. Right?

Wrong. There is much more that they may not show on TV. In general, there are several important safety precautions and steps you need to take before even touching the old water heater. The water, electricity, and/or gas all need to be shut off.

Then you have to deal with draining the scalding hot water from the tank. Opening the drain on the bottom of the tank is never a good idea. You will need a heat resistant hose to drain the water safely away. After the tank is drained, you not only have to disconnect plumbing lines but also electrical wiring and/or gas lines.

smiling plumber

When installing the new heater, there are certain things you will need to do to prevent water leaks, gas leaks, and electrical problems. You even need to make sure the water heater is installed according to current building codes.

Plus, you may have to get a plumber to certify your DIY installation satisfies current building codes to keep your homeowner’s insurance. It will also need to be certified if you are going to sell your home. Additionally, your local government municipality could require you to obtain a permit.

As you can guess, all of these other things you don’t see on TV can quickly increase your actual “DIY” costs. If you mess something up, you will end up having to call a plumber in the end. It is for these reasons, along with your own personal safety, it is highly recommended to always use a professional plumber for water heater replacement and installation.

For assistance in selecting the right water heater to have installed in your home, as well as water heater repairs and maintenance, household plumbing services, and air conditioning services, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Temple, or Austin Metro today!

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