Conventional Water Heaters 101: Replacement & Installation

Conventional water heaters, also known as storage tank water heaters, are essential appliances in most homes. They provide a reliable supply of hot water for various household needs, including bathing, cooking, cleaning, and laundry.

In this blog, we will discuss the basics of how conventional water heaters work, when to replace them, and whether or not you should hire a professional for installation. 

How Does a Conventional Water Heater Work?

A conventional water heater consists of a large insulated storage tank with a certain amount of water, typically ranging from 30 to 80 gallons. The water inside the tank is heated either by a gas burner or an electric heating element located at the bottom of the tank. 

Cold water enters the tank through a supply pipe and is pushed to the bottom of the tank, where it is heated. As the water heats up, it rises to the top of the tank. When you turn on a hot water faucet in your home, the hot water is drawn from the top of the tank and is replaced by cold water entering the bottom.

To maintain a consistent water temperature, the water heater constantly heats the water in the tank. A thermostat controls the temperature, typically between 120°F and 140°F. A pressure and temperature relief valve are installed to ensure the water heater operates safely.

When Should You Replace a Conventional Water Heater?

There are several signs that it may be time to replace your conventional water heater:

1. Age

Conventional water heaters have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. If your water heater is approaching or has surpassed this age range, it’s time to consider a replacement.

2. Rusty Water

If you notice rusty or discolored water coming from your hot water taps, it could be a sign that your water heater is corroding internally. This can lead to leaks and eventual failure.

3. Leaks

Any signs of leaks around the base of the water heater or from the pressure relief valve indicate that it’s time for a replacement. Leaks can lead to water damage and mold growth, so it’s essential to address them promptly.

4. Inconsistent or Insufficient Hot Water

If you are experiencing fluctuating water temperatures or running out of hot water more quickly than usual, it could be a sign that your water heater is struggling to keep up with demand and may need to be replaced.

Should You Get a Professional to Install a Conventional Water Heater?

While experienced DIYers can install a conventional water heater, hiring a professional is highly recommended for several reasons:

1. Safety

Incorrect installation can lead to gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning, or scalding water temperatures. A professional plumber will ensure your water heater is installed safely and complies with local building codes and regulations.

2. Efficiency

A professional can ensure your water heater is installed and functioning at peak efficiency, saving you money on energy bills in the long run.

3. Warranty

Most water heater manufacturers require professional installation to maintain the warranty on their products. Attempting to install the water heater yourself may void the warranty, leaving you without coverage if something goes wrong.

4. Convenience

A professional plumber can handle the heavy lifting, disposal of your old water heater, and any necessary adjustments to your home’s plumbing or electrical systems.

Final Thoughts:

Replacing and installing a conventional water heater is a significant investment in your home’s comfort and efficiency. By understanding how these appliances work, knowing when to replace them, and hiring a professional for installation, you can ensure a reliable supply of hot water for years to come.

For heating services in Georgia, work with us at Stiles Services. We help with water heaters — from installation to maintenance and repairs. Request a service today for more information.

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