Replacing and installing a new water heater in the home can be an important, yet daunting task. This type of home improvement job can be done by yourself, however if you need professional assistance, we recommend booking a service with Shafer Services Plus. Our seasoned technicians have expert experience with water heater replacements and installations, and can help you at an affordable price. To help you learn what to expect when replacing or installing your water heater, we’ll take you through an overview of the project. We’ll go over the indication signs you need a replacement, what steps are in the process, and how to care for your new water heater afterwards.

Signs Your Water Heater Needs Replacement:

  1. Extreme Fluctuates in Water Temperature: If your hot water isn’t as hot as it used to be or if it fluctuates between scalding and freezing, it could indicate a failing heating element or a buildup of sediment in your tank.
  2. Frequent Repairs Required: If you find yourself repeatedly calling in a plumber to fix various issues, it might be more cost-effective to invest in a new water heater.
  3. Poor Water Pressure: Your water heater can be causing your home to have poor water pressure due to a blockage in the system that makes it difficult to repair.
  4. Unexplained Increase in Energy Bills: If your usage patterns for energy and water remain consistent, yet you notice a steady rise in your monthly bills, it could point towards an underlying problem within your water heater
  5. Unusual Sounds: Banging, popping, or rumbling noises coming from your water heater are often due to sediment buildup. This can reduce efficiency and lead to premature failure.

Preparing for the Replacement:

  1. Choosing the Right Replacement: There are two main types of water heaters: tankless (on-demand) and traditional tank-style. Tankless water heaters are compact and energy-efficient, providing hot water as needed. Traditional tanks store hot water, which can be beneficial for larger households.
  2. Assessing water heater size: Ensure your new water heater is the appropriate size for your household’s needs. A unit that’s too small will struggle to meet demand, while an oversized unit can lead to unnecessary energy consumption.
  3. Energy Efficiency: Consider Energy Star-rated models, as they’re designed to be more energy-efficient, ultimately saving you money on your utility bills.

The Installation Process:

If you schedule a water heater replacement and installation with a plumbing service, these will be the steps taken during the process. You can also complete these steps yourself if you wish to take on the project.

  1. Utilities will be turned off: Prior to commencing any work, the gas or electricity supply to the water heater will be deliberately turned off. For gas-powered water heaters, the gas valve will also be carefully shut off, ensuring a safe working environment.
  2. Tank will be drained: To prevent water spillage and potential mess during removal, a hose will be securely connected to the drain valve of the existing water heater. This hose will efficiently channel out the water present in the tank. Draining the tank not only reduces the weight for removal but also minimizes potential water damage.
  3. Old unit will be disconnected and removed: With the water and gas or electrical connections properly detached, the existing water heater will be disconnected. Our skilled technicians will exercise caution to avoid any damage to surrounding structures or components. The old unit will then be removed from its location.
  4. Area will be prepared: To ensure the seamless installation of your new water heater, the designated area will be prepared and thoroughly cleaned to remove debris and any potential obstructions. The installation site will be leveled, and adequate clearance requirements will be upheld, ensuring a safe and compliant installation.
  5. The new heater will be installed: The new unit’s pipes, valves, and electrical or gas connections will be connected following the manufacturer’s guidelines. In the case of gas heaters, a secure and leak-proof gas line connection is absolutely vital for both operational efficiency and safety.
  6. The new unit will be tested: Rigorous testing is an integral part of the installation process. Once the new water heater is properly connected, the cold water supply valve will be gradually opened, allowing the tank to fill. Once filled, a hot water tap will be opened to permit air to escape from the system. This step continues until a steady stream of water flows from the tap, ensuring that any trapped air is expelled. Subsequently, the power or gas supply will be cautiously turned on, and the desired temperature will be carefully set.
  7. Insulation pipes will be installed (optional): To optimize energy efficiency and reduce heat loss, our experienced technicians might recommend the installation of insulation on the hot water pipes connected to the heater. This additional step can significantly contribute to conserving energy and maintaining the heat of the water as it travels through the pipes to your faucets.

Post-Installation Care:

Here are a few measures you can take to guarantee the prolonged and optimal performance of your newly installed water heater.

  1. Maintenance: Regular maintenance is the key to extending the life and efficiency of your water heater. Sediment and mineral buildup can accumulate over time, leading to reduced performance and increased energy consumption. To counter this, our experts recommend scheduling regular flushes of your water heater. This process involves connecting a hose to the drain valve and allowing water to flow out, carrying with it any accumulated sediment. This straightforward maintenance step not only enhances efficiency but also prevents potential damage to the tank and heating elements.
  2. Temperature Check: Maintaining an optimal temperature setting for your water heater is essential for both safety and energy efficiency. We advise setting the temperature around 120°F (49°C). This temperature strikes a balance between preventing scalding and ensuring hot water is readily available. By avoiding excessively high temperatures, you not only safeguard your household from accidental burns but also reduce energy wastage and lower utility bills.
  3. Monitor for Issues: Vigilance is crucial when it comes to the performance of your water heater. Regularly inspect the area around the heater for any signs of leaks, dampness, or corrosion. Additionally, be attentive to any strange noises emanating from the unit, such as knocking or rumbling, which could signal issues like sediment buildup or a failing heating element. Any unusual behavior, such as inconsistent water temperatures, should not be ignored. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent minor problems from escalating into major, costly repairs. If you notice any of these signs, don’t hesitate to consult a professional technician for an assessment and appropriate action.

Replacing your water heater and installing a new one can seem overwhelming. However, now that you know the indication signs, the preparations, the steps, and post-installation care, you are equipped with the knowledge to confidently take on this challenge. Remember, while it might appear daunting, many homeowners find that with careful planning and following the right procedures, it’s a manageable task that can lead to improved energy efficiency and a more reliable hot water supply. If you’re unsure about any step or simply prefer the expertise of a professional plumber, don’t hesitate to enlist our help. You can book an appointment with Shafer Services Plus by calling (210) 227-8358 or contacting us online. Whichever path you choose, a well-functioning water heater is essential for your daily comfort, so take the necessary steps with confidence and ensure the steady flow of warm water in your home.

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