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5 Things You Didn't Know About Your Water Heater

 
Aug. 5, 2016

Photo via iStock.com

Water heaters have a long history, going all the way back to 1868 when a London painter discovered that by placing gas burners under his water pipes he could heat his cold water. This discovery led the Norwegian engineer, Edwin Ruud, to create the first water heater, which he brought to Pittsburgh. Since then, the water heater has become an integral part of modern civilization.

1. Energy Use

Water heaters use about ¼ of the total energy in your home. The main activities water heaters are used for include showers, laundry, and washing dishes. Americans average between 80 to 120 gallons of hot water every year.

2. A Water Heater's Life-Span

Water heaters generally last between eight to ten years. There are some telltale signs that begin to emerge when your water heater is in need of a repair or a replacement. Bishop Plumbing, Heating and Cooling recommends that all Americans get their water heater checked if they notice it takes a long time for water to heat. Water from a bad water heater may also appear brown and have a metallic taste. If any of these problems occur, the expert team at Bishop Plumbing recommends that you call for an immediate diagnostic test from a trained professional.

3. Safety

Within only five seconds, you can suffer a severe third-degree burn if you come into contact with the hot water inside a water heater. Water that is 140 degrees Fahrenheit and above is extremely dangerous to exposed human skin. According to energy.gov, 120 degrees is considered safe from the majority of the population. Try to keep yours between 120 and 140 degrees in order to save money and minimize risk.

4. Maintenance

Water heaters are easy to take advantage of. Hidden away in a utility closet, we hardly remember they are there unless you lose your hot water. Your tank water should be emptied and refilled more often than you might think. Removing any buildup like this will lengthen the lifespan of your water heater. Check on your tank every so often and inspect for leaks or odd smells or sounds. You don’t have to be a plumbing expert to recognize signs of malfunction.

5. Tankless vs. Traditional

There is a growing trend in the installation of tankless water heaters over traditional tank heaters. While tankless water tanks are more energy efficient, they are not necessarily the more economically sound choice according to Consumer Reports. Gas tankless water hearts are 22% more efficient but because of the upfront cost it can a few years to offset the additional costs with energy savings. Work with a plumbing professional to understand the best options for your home.

Thanks to water heaters, we have easier access to luxurious hot showers than kings of the Middle Ages did. Simply knowing these few facts about water heaters can help us appreciate this revolutionary device and keep yours lasting longer.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

Read more about energy-saving water heaters.


Topics: Bathroom, Cost of Ownership, Energy Star, Kitchen, Tankless Water Heaters, Water Heaters


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