Electric Water Heaters
Electric water heaters operate much like gas water heaters. They have an insulated storage tank that takes in cold water, heats the water, and sends it to wherever hot water is required in the home. A big difference between the two types of water heaters, just as you would expect by their names, is that rather than using a gas burner, electric water heaters have electric heating elements to heat the water. Instead of being hooked up to a gas line, the water heater must be plugged in to an electric power supply. Just like a gas water heater, the temperature is controlled and monitored by a thermostat. It is recommended that the temperature be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding.
Choosing a water heater is not a task to be taken lightly. Heating water is the second largest use of energy in your home, right behind heating and air conditioning. Your water heater runs several hours a day, year-round, to deliver hot water to your sinks, tubs, showers, washing machine, and dishwasher. Usually electricity is more expensive than natural gas, which is one of the disadvantages of having an electric water heater. That is one reason why it is important to keep your electric water heater working as efficiently as possible. Fortunately, electric water heaters are not difficult to maintain.
To extend the life of your electric water heater, yearly maintenance is a good idea. Once a year, you should check the temperature and pressure relief valve, often called the T & P. As water heats up, pressure builds inside the tank. When the water reaches 210 degrees Fahrenheit or the pressure inside the tank exceeds 150 pounds per square inch (PSI), the T & P valve opens to relieve the pressure. Without a T & P valve, the pressure could cause the tank to rupture, potentially causing severe injury to people and extensive damage to your home. Testing the valve is an important safety measure that should not be overlooked.
Another component to check in both electric and gas water heaters, is the sacrificial anode rod. This rod is designed to deteriorate by attracting minerals that would otherwise corrode your tank. When the anode rod has no more metal to sacrifice, it needs to be replaced. Generally, you should be replacing the anode rod every three to five years, depending on water quality and the water heater manufacturer’s recommendation. Unless you are confident in your ability to replace the rod on your own, you should leave that job to a plumbing professional.
Despite the best efforts of the anode rod, rust and sediment still builds up at the bottom of the tank. Electric and gas water heaters should be flushed once a year or at least partially drained, depending on the amount of sediment that needs to be removed. At least once per year, preferably every couple of months, you should inspect your electric water heater for leaks. Do this by checking the pipes and connections at the top of the water heater. Make sure connections are tight and that there are no signs of water dripping or leaking. At the bottom of the tank, look and feel around the drain valve for water. If you notice corrosion at the bottom of the tank, it is important to prevent the tank from leaking by calling a plumbing professional right away. Water on the floor indicates that your tank may already be leaking.
An advantage to having an electric water heater is its initial cost, which is less than the cost of a gas water heater. Both types of water heaters have approximately the same life expectancy and similar maintenance requirements. Electric water heaters are generally considered to be safer than gas water heaters and are usually easier to install. It is important to consider the quality and reliability of various models when determining which electric water heater best meets your needs. Remember that the lowest price is not necessarily the best value. Our plumbing professionals will work with you to determine the best size electric water heater for your household’s hot water needs. We supply high-quality electric water heaters that you can depend on for years to come.