Water Heater FAQs

Water Heater FAQs
August 11, 2011 Lorelie

Having your very own water heating system in your home can be great as these systems helps to eliminate the common task of having to boil water in a kettle to get some hot water which can be used for bathing or for washing the dishes.  The best part about them is that since they are mostly automated, all you need to do is turn on the tap or press a switch and out comes the heated water.  The truth is there are many types of water heaters, ranging from electrical to gas-fired, tankless to storage tank, point-of-use to whole-house use, and residential to commercial.  This reason alone can spark a lot of water heater FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) from consumers.  The list below shows some of the more common questions:


Should I go for Gas or Electric Water Heaters?

Gas-fired water heaters are more cost-efficient when it comes to operation and are also known to last longer.  Electric water heaters on the other hand are cleaner to operate.  Although they consume 75% more energy than gas-fired ones, many people use them as you do not need to allocate any valuable space in your home for the storage tank.


Is it Possible to get a Larger Water Heater?

Since water heaters require either gas or electric as their main source of energy, the width and the height of the unit are basically the only things you need to watch out for.  As long as your space is able to accommodate the sizes of the upgrades, then everything should be fine.  However, there is one thing you may want to consider when you upgrade into a considerably larger gas-fired water heater – a larger exhaust vent. Aside from lining up the old pipes towards the pipe spaces of the new water heater, there are practically no additional problems.


What Size of Water Heater do I Need?

The size of the water heater you choose will greatly depend on the number of people there are in your home and the number of bath tubs and showers, including the dishwasher and washing machine.  Each location where hot water heater is needed equals one number.  Adding these numbers will result in the gallon capacity needed.


  • 4 or less           = 30 Gallons
  • 5 – 7                = 40 Gallons
  • 8 – 9                = 50 Gallons
  • 10 – 12            = 75 Gallons


This is the graph commonly referred to by manufacturers.  However, if space is not a problem for you, it is recommended to go for the 40 gallon instead of the 30 gallon tank as they practically cost the same.  The price range of the 50 gallon tank on the other hand has a considerably higher price than that of a 40 gallon tank.


Do I Need to Turn Off the Water Heater When I Go On a Vacation?

If you are leaving your home with no occupants for more than two weeks, it is recommended that you turn your water heater off.  However, make sure not to turn off the water valve going to the water heater.  Gas-fired water heaters can be turned off or set to vacation setting on its setting knob.  Electric water heaters on the other hand can be turned off on the main switch of the electrical panel box.  One of the more common problems when leaving the water heater turned off though would be the dripping of water as the heater gets cold.  A hot water tank will usually be able to hold its heat for about 1 week.  After that, the water will start to get cold and drip will likely occur.  In order to avoid this, use the heated water stored in the tank after they have been turned off.


Will a Tankless Unit Suite my Water Heating Needs?

This greatly depends on your water heating needs.  There are people who prefer tankless water heaters and there are ones who prefer storage tank heaters.  If you require almost limitless amounts of heated water, then a tankless water heater will be the right one for you as it is not limited by how much volume of heated water a storage tank can store.  A tankless water heater is also suitable for you if you are only planning on installing them on point-of-use basis.


Why does it take a bit of Time before Hot Water gets to My Faucet?

This factor is usually dependent on the distance the hot water needs to travel from the tank (or whole house tankless water heater) towards the faucet.  If the faucet is more than 20 feet from the source, you may require some time to run the water for at least 20 seconds before heated water comes out.  In the case of whole-house water heaters, aside from the distance that should be considered, you should also consider takes several seconds to a few minutes before they are able to deliver heated water at the required temperature.  After this wait however, a whole-house tankless water heater will be able to provide you with continuous heated water.


How do I know when to replace my Water Heating Unit?

One of the factors that will require you to replace your water heating unit will be its age.  A water heater will usually last around 10 years before you may want to consider replacing it.  This is because with age will arise signs of failure such as leakage and slow output.  Other indicators would include noise, calcium buildup and deposits, and total failure to heat water.


How long does a Water Heater last?

This depends on the quality of the water being used, the quality of the water heater itself, and the maintenance provided by the owners.


How much Clearance is needed for a Gas-fired Water Heater?

It is usually suggested to have at least 24 inches of service clearance in front of the unit and at least 2 inches of clearance on the back and sides of the unit.


What are Dip Tubes?

Dip tubes are basically long plastic tubes that guide the cold water entering the tank so that it runs down through the hot water so it can be placed near the heating source.


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