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Water heaters are an essential part of any property. The US Department of Energy estimates that there are 103 million residential water heaters in service. With the average lifespan of a residential water heater between 10 and 20 years, the numbers show that more than 25% of the water heaters in service today are nearing the end of their useful life. And when water heaters fail, they can dump up to 50 gallons of dirty, rusty water into your home. This can cause significant damage to the home, particularly if the damage isn’t addressed immediately.
So it’s not a matter of “if”, it is a matter of when. You need to maintain the unit AND replace it BEFORE it wears out. Since the heaters are in out of the way places, water can flood the closet and ruin the walls, floors and structures. Work with Certi-dry to clean up your home from water damage and potential cleanup costs.
While there are multiple varieties of water heaters, most (97% in the United States) are the traditional storage tank style (DOE). This type of water heater uses a large tank (typically holding between 25 and 100 gallons for residential systems) to store and heat the water for use in the home. The majority of tank-style water heaters use either a gas or electrical fuel source. Many moving pieces can lead to a unit failure including:
The water is stored and heated in a tank with (1) an interior, heavy metal tank with a water protective liner, the exterior of which is commonly insulated with a polyurethane foam, and (2) a thin, external steel shell that encases the entire unit.
The heating mechanism has one of two power sources. Electric tanks use two internal heating elements. Gas heaters use a burner beneath the tank and have a flue system that allows exhaust to travel through the center of the tank before being vented outside.
Usually made of aluminum or magnesium, the sacrificial anode rod minimizes tank corrosion by attracting harmful elements in the water away from the tank; because the rod is intended to deteriorate, it should be regularly inspected as a part of routine maintenance.
An optional automatic shut-off valve is excellent insurance to have in any situation, especially when the water heater unit is located inside the home. This can also help with water damage and potential cleanup costs that come with that.
Well, obviously, you know that you have a problem when you only have cold water (or the water gets warm, but never hot.) However, be on the lookout for rusty, muddy or discolored water that has a metallic smell or taste. Lastly, look for any water leaking around your water heater.
Many things can lead to drips. Sediment can buildup; when water is heated, mineral deposits separate and settle onto the bottom of your water heater tank. Water pressure that’s too high can also damage your water heater, as well as your pipes and other appliances. Keep the water pressure on your heater no higher than 80 psi, and consider replacing your temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve.
Finally, you also might have the wrong size heater; they come in a variety of sizes to accommodate the water usage of all the people and appliances in your home. If you buy a water heater that’s too small for your needs, it will need to work more than it should – leading to failure.
In Madison Wisconsin, the restoration team that specializes in water damage cleanup is Certi-dry. Their professionals will remove any remaining water and debris, sterilize the area, affected furniture, and items, then clean and dry the affected area. Additionally, the team will hunt down leftover moisture and water to prevent mold and mildew, triggering problems for people in your home with asthma or other health conditions.