Gas Water Heaters
Gas water heaters are exactly what the name implies- water heaters that use gas, either natural gas or liquid propane, to heat water. Cold water enters an insulated storage tank where it is heated by a gas burner. Hot water rises and is drawn from the top of the tank when a fixture is turned on. Several fixtures and appliances inside your house require hot water, including sinks, tubs, showers, dishwashers, and washing machines. It is important to select the right type and size water heater for your home and to keep the water heater well maintained.
One advantage to a gas water heater, is that it requires little maintenance. You can expect your gas water heater to keep going strong for around ten years, even without care. Simple yearly maintenance can keep your water heater running efficiently and extend its life. If you are handy, you may be able to maintenance the water heater yourself. However, there is always an inherent danger when working around gas, so call a plumbing professional if you are uncomfortable doing the work on your own.
Your yearly maintenance routine should include checking the temperature and pressure relief valve, also referred to as a T & P. Make sure it operates correctly, because failure to release pressure from the tank can lead to disaster. It is also a good idea to flush or at least partially drain the tank to remove sediment that has built up at the bottom. The number of gallons that need to be drained depends on how much sediment has accumulated. You will not know the amount of sediment until you start draining the tank. Water heater quality varies, as does the quality of the water in different regions. Your local plumbing professional can help you determine the best maintenance plan for your gas water heater.
You should also inspect your water heater more frequently for any signs of a potential leak. Start at the top of your gas water heater where the water pipes and connections are located. Make sure connections are tight and that there are no signs of water. Also look for leaks around the temperature and pressure relief valve. Then, look at the bottom of the tank. Look and feel around the drain valve for water and look for water on the floor. Corrosion at the bottom of the tank can have a couple of different causes, one of which is a slow leak. No matter the cause, if you see corrosion, you need to call a plumbing professional right away.
Another benefit of having a gas water heater is how quickly it replenishes the hot water supply, compared to an electric water heater. If your household has a high demand for hot water, you will appreciate the faster recovery time. Gas water heaters also tend to have lower energy costs because, despite being less energy efficient than an electric water heater, natural gas is usually less expensive than electricity. Just remember that when it comes to water heaters, size matters. A plumbing professional can determine the best size to meet your household’s hot water needs.
The disadvantage of a gas water heater is the upfront cost. Gas water heaters are more expensive to install than electric water heaters. However, you should save money in energy costs throughout the year. A gas water heater with a storage tank is still less expensive than a tankless water heater. When choosing a water heater, price is a concern for most consumers but remember that old adage- you get what you pay for. Your gas water heater is one of the most important appliances in your home, so it is important to select a high quality, reliable model.