Answering Your 5 Most Common Water Heater Questions

March 6, 2021

Your water heater is one of the most essential appliances in your home. But how much do you really know about it? When your water heater is functioning as it should, you probably don’t give it a second thought—and why should you! After all, every homeowner deserves consistent hot water. Yet as soon as your system stops working, you are going to want answers. That’s where we come in. At Winters® Home Services, our knowledgeable technicians know everything there is to know about water heaters. We are capable of repairing and installing a full range of equipment, and are here to answer all your most important water heater questions. Keep reading for what you need to know, and remember that you can contact our expert plumbers at Winters® Home Services anytime for all your essential water heater services.

The 5 Big Water Heater FAQs

  1. How Many Types of Water Heaters Are There? Broadly speaking, there are two main types of water heaters: conventional and tankless systems. Conventional water heaters hold your water in a tank and reheat every time you turn on the tap. Tankless systems, on the other hand, heat your water as it moves through your pipes. It is worth pointing out that within these two types, there are many models that vary in terms of fuel types (i.e. gas, electric, oil.) There are also certain kinds of hybrid water heaters out there, which don’t fall neatly into the tank or tankless category. However, as a rule of thing. Conventional and tankless water heaters are your two main choices when selecting a new system. Speaking of which…
  2. What Kind of Water Heater Is Best for Me? As with most equipment, determining the best kind of water heater for your house depends completely on your needs. Conventional water heaters are cheaper to install, and also tend to be more affordable when it comes to repairs. Tankless systems, on the other hand, come with a high upfront cost and can be very costly to repair if anything goes wrong. That said, tankless systems require much less maintenance than traditional water heaters, and are easy to put in various places in your home, since they don’t take up much space. They also have longer lifespans, often lasting up to 20 years or more, whereas regular water heaters tend to only survive 10-15 years, max. Most important of all though, tankless water heaters do not draw power or use fuel by heating up your water again and again in a tank, making them extremely energy-efficient. And because they heat your water as it moves through your pipes, tankless systems can also provide an instant supply of hot water on-demand!
  3. What Size Water Heater Should I Buy: The size of your water heater tank will directly correspond to how big your home is/how many people you live with. For a household of 1-2 people, you can usually get by with a water tank that holds 30 gallons, maybe 40 at most. For 2-3 people, a 40-50 gallon tank is appropriate. For 3-4 people, that number goes up to 50-60 gallons. And if you live in a house with 5-plus people, you will want to install a water heater with a 60-80 gallon tank, if not more. Meanwhile, for tankless systems, size is generally not a factor, since all tankless water heater units are fairly small. Instead, when you are selecting a tankless water heater, the number you will need to look at is the flow rate. Measured in GPM, or gallons per minute, the larger your household is, the greater the flow rate you will need. So the bigger your home is, the higher the GPM rating your water heater will need to have. In the past, tankless systems have generally not been able to accommodate large households, though with advances in modern technology, tankless water heaters are an increasingly valid option for homes big and small.
  4. When Should I Replace My Water Heater? To restate what we discussed above, tank water heaters generally last 10-15 years, while tankless systems can last more than 20. To find the age of your water heater, look up the serial number, generally located somewhere on the unit. There are also some key signs that your water heater is on its way out, such as frequent water pressure issues, strange tastes or smells in your water, and a lack of hot water in general, forcing you to call for frequent repairs. It may also be necessary to install a new water heater when the needs of your household change for some reason, such as a family growing or someone new moving into your home.
  5. How Can I Increase My Water Heater’s Lifespan? Above all else, the best way to increase the lifespan of your water heater is simply to call for annual maintenance. With the assistance of an experienced technician, you can keep your water heater running smoothly and functioning with energy efficiency for years to come. There are also several key maintenance tasks you can perform on your own, such as replacing your system’s anode rod (the component that prevents rust and bacteria build-up) and flushing out the tank periodically. Flushing out tankless systems can also be necessary, yet this is a much more complicated process, and will require you to hire a professional. If you live in an area with hard water that is more likely to wear your water heater down faster, you may also want to consider installing a water purification system.

Call 617-221-5899 now for water heater service, or click here to ask us a question online.