6 Ways To Minimize Damage To Your Water Heater

Posted on: February 8th, 2018 by Joan Martin

It’s hard to imagine life without a hot water heater, even for a day. Yet most people rarely think about inspecting or maintaining this appliance until their warm shower turns cold or it stops functioning properly.

Generally, a properly installed, operated, and serviced hot water heater can last about 10 years. But there are many other factors that affect the lifespan, such as the mineral density in your water, quality of the appliance, having enough water in the unit, and electricity irregularities, among others.

Here are some tips to help maintain your water heater yourself and minimize damage:

  1. Flush The Water In Your Water Heater
  2. Drain and flush all the water in your water heater twice a year to wash out and prevent sediment buildup in the tank. This will help to prolong the life of the heating element and the tank itself. Start by turning off the heating element and water inlet before draining the tank.

  3. Check The Temperature And Pressure Relief Valve At Least Once A Year

    Heated water expands, causing pressure to build up inside the water tank. To release the excess pressure, hot water tanks have a safety feature known as a pressure relief valve. Inspect this valve at least once a year to ensure that it is working properly.

  4. Drain The Tank Completely When Not In Use

    When there’s no one in your seasonal property, or when going on a long vacation, it is recommended that you turn off the power supply and drain the water heater. This will prevent flooding while you’re away.

  5. Inspect The Pipes

    If there’s no hot water, or if the supply seems to be lower than usual, check the level of water in the tank and whether the supply line if functioning properly. Also check the water piping for leaks or signs of damage and fix any problems promptly.

  6. Inspect The Anode Rod

    Anode rods are made from steel wire with a magnesium or aluminium coating to prevent rusting. Inspect the coating regularly, or at least twice a year, and change the anode rods if the steel wire is showing.

  7. Inspect The Dip Tube

    Some water heaters have dip tubes to direct incoming cold water to the base of the heater. If your hot water heater has one, inspect is every six months or so for failure or corrosion. The dip tube should be 6 to 8 inches shorter than tank to deliver cold water to the right depth. If it’s shorter, your water may not run hot enough, and should be replaced.

    Like with every other appliance that works hard in your home, proper care and scheduled maintenance can help to reduce the risk of costly emergency repairs. Moreover, you can avoid shocking moments of ice-cold water, make your hot water heater more efficient, reduce energy costs, extend its life, and avoid early replacement, all without getting a professional involved.

Choosing A Hot Water Heater For A Tiny House

Posted on: November 6th, 2017 by Joan Martin

As the cold season approaches, you need to start thinking about your source of hot water. For a tiny house, your options are somewhat limited as far as the size of the hot water heater is concerned. But there are other factors to consider as well, such as your hot water needs, your budget, and whether you are on or off the grid.

Tank vs tankless water heater

Traditional water heaters are an excellent choice if you need a continuous supply of hot water. However, these water heaters also use a lot of energy and take up more space than on-demand tankless units because they need a tank to hold the hot water. If you don’t have the extra space, an on-demand water heater that only heats up the water as you use it may be preferable.

Electric vs propane/gas unit

The fuel that your hot water system runs on largely depends on what fuel you can access. Propane units have a higher cost of installation but are more powerful, use almost no energy compared to their counterparts, and are easier to run. If you already have running propane lines for your stove and heater, then choosing a propane hot water heater would be the obvious choice.

If you don’t have propane lines and want a water heater on a budget, then you should consider getting an electric system. It is inexpensive to purchase and install, though it consumes more electricity. If your house is connected to the grid, an electric hot water heater can be manageable. But if you are off the grid – using solar power, for instance – then using an electric water heater can be quite challenging.

Solar hot water

If your house is in a place that receives plenty of sunshine on most days of the year, then the sun provides an inexhaustible way to heat up your water. Solar hot water systems are designed to heat a non-freezable liquid, that in turn heats water in a tank through a heat exchanger. This ensures that you can enjoy a warm bath even during winter, provided there is some sunshine.

That said, there are different types of solar collectors and heating systems. Discuss the suitability of a solar hot water heater in your area with an expert. These systems are also quite expensive, though they require minimal investment after installation. So do your research before taking the plunge.

Final note
Lastly, if you are living in a tiny house because you’re cash-strapped, you could always try living without running hot water. Simply invest in a nice electric kettle or hot plate to heat water for washing, cooking, or bathing, only when you need it. This option offers the most savings as it eliminates costs associated with buying and installing a hot water heater system and running and maintaining it.