One of the first questions that get on your routine checklist when a water heater repair is on site for a service call concerns whether or not the appliance will be fixed immediately or whether it will require replacing. Modern water heaters on average last up to 10 years depending on use and water quality. This long life is largely due to the fact that they are designed to make efficient use of energy while maintaining adequate hot water supply for the home.
Even though the average lifespan is somewhat longer, the actual number of years of service before replacement becomes questionable. When a water heater repair is needed, it is sometimes possible for the installer to just replace the anode, the component that brings heat to the home. For other installations, such as gas inserts, it is often necessary to drill new holes and install new copper pipes. If the anode is not replaced, it is possible the system will continue to function but not heat as efficiently. This can result in the water becoming cold in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room.
With gas heaters, which are typically easier to service than electric models, the water heater repair often requires a professional. Because gas units have no electrical element, there is no way to test the unit to determine what type of servicing is needed. Therefore, there is no diagnostic fee involved with gas units. However, because there is not a diagnostic fee attached to the repair, many homeowners still prefer to have a professional perform the repairs. Diagnostic fee payments can become quite expensive.
With both types of water heater repair, finding a licensed professional is essential. Licensed pros are required to meet certain licensing standards. They also must undergo ongoing training to keep their certification current. While a technician may be experienced with one type of system, if they do not have specific training for installation of new hot water heaters, homeowners may experience further complications during the installation process. In addition, some parts, if not installed properly, may not function correctly once the heater is installed.
Some homeowners, when confronted by the need to perform water heater repair, opt to attempt to perform the repairs on their own. While it is certainly possible to DIY water heater replacement, it is not recommended. Doing so could lead to further damage or injury. As stated above, not only is doing so likely to result in further damage, but it can increase the risk of injury to a significant degree. This is especially true if the homeowner has little or no experience with these repairs.
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Another reason that homeowners should avoid performing any type of water heater repair or installation on their own is because doing so may void or invalidate the warranty that accompanies each unit. Warranties cover not just the product itself but also certain installation procedures and materials. It is important to ensure that the installation of natural gas heaters and water heaters is performed according to installation procedures that are documented and approved by the manufacturer. Many manufacturers offer full instructions, both online and in the actual manual that come with the unit.
When it comes to water heaters, a natural gas heater typically requires more than just the pipes and connections to be replaced. The tank may also need to be changed out, and in some cases the entire heating system may need to be replaced. In instances where the tank is simply at capacity or even over capacity, it may need to be replaced before the homeowner is able to safely complete any type of water heater repair or installation.
If the homeowner decides to perform any type of work on their unit themselves, they should be aware that doing so may void the warranty that accompanies the product. It is best to leave major plumbing jobs to professional plumbers and heating experts. Not only will the work be done right away, but there will often be no cost for the labor as well. Most often, the installation is free and a matter of determining the right price and time needed for the job. It is recommended that all water heater repair and installations are leaving to licensed and insured plumbers and heating experts to be sure that the job is completed right away and that nothing further damages the unit.