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Professional Water Heater Repair in Houston

Your water heater is the most used plumbing appliance in your home, as it operates around the clock, maintaining the temperature of your hot water. Your water heater never sleeps, keeping an unblinking eye on its only task, providing your family with plenty of hot water for years to come. Some boilers will stumble along the way, as they succumb to a lack of proper maintenance, advancing age, and hard water conditions from the day it’s installed.

What Are the Signs Your Water Heater is Going Out?

You don’t have to be a plumbing whisperer to recognize when your water heater is calling out for help. The most common symptoms of a water heater in poor health are reduced hot water temperatures and hot water running out too quickly. Long, hot showers become a distant memory, and not having enough hot water to do laundry or wash dishes becomes more than an inconvenience.

In gas-powered units, the most common point of failure is the thermocouple, which shuts off the gas supply when the pilot light goes out. Before calling for help, you can attempt to reignite the pilot light by following the directions on the unit itself. If the pilot light is unable to remain lit, chances are you have a bad thermocouple.

In electric systems, the most common cause for a water heater service call is faulty heating elements. These elements use electrical energy to conduct heat directly into the water, unlike a gas-operated unit that uses an open flame for the same task.

Electric heating elements are submerged in a tank of water for their entire lifespan; thus, they are bound to eventually start to erode, reducing hot water output and efficiency. Electric furnaces are also less energy-efficient than their gas counterparts, often taking twice as long to heat a tank of water.

What Should I Do If I Need Water Heater Repair?

The first rule is: don’t panic!

Waking up to a “no hot water” situation is undoubtedly frustrating, but it isn’t the end of the world. Check the other faucets in the house to see if there is hot water anywhere else, or if the problem is isolated to one room. If the lack of hot water affects the entire home, check the circuit breaker for the water heater. On a gas-type furnace, make sure that the pilot light is lit.

How Long Should My Water Heater Last?

On average, a tank-type water heater has a lifespan of between 8 and 12 years. Without regular maintenance, however, many units will require some form of service in the first five years of use, and replacement in as little as seven years.

Residential tank-type boilers store between forty and seventy gallons of hot water at an average temperature of 120 – 140 degrees. The repeated heating and cooling cycles of the water cause the steel tank to expand and contract. This repetitive flexing of the steel begins to create pinhole leaks along the welded seam of the tank, and once your tank starts to leak, it’s a “game over” situation. You’re going to have to replace it.

What Does Hard Water Do to a Water Heater?

No one needs to remind a Houston area homeowner about the effects of hard water on everything from our dishes to our skin and hair. Most folks don’t know about the damage that hard water does to our plumbing appliances, particularly our water heaters.

Moving parts in our faucets and toilets are worn down by the tiny mineral particles in our water supply, causing leaks and premature wear and tear. In water heaters, it’s the parts that don’t move that are more likely to suffer the effects of hard water.

Why Should You Drain Your Water Heater Tank?

The key to improving your water heater’s efficiency, performance, and longevity is to have regular maintenance service performed. The steel tanks used are adversely affected by hard water sediment that collects at the bottom of the storage tank. Over time, this build-up starts blocking the transfer of heat from the gas burner to the water in the tank.

By having a regular maintenance service performed, including the draining of the tank, the sediment build-up is flushed out of the unit. Having this service performed at least once a year can increase your heater’s efficiency by as much as 15% and double the lifespan of the tank by preventing premature corrosion.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Water Heater?

While this is one of the most common questions our customer service reps are asked, there is no reliable method of predicting the cost of service. Price can range from as low as $150 to replace a faulty thermocouple, up to $1,000 for a complete overhaul. If your water heater is older than seven years, and the cost of your service estimate is over $500, it might be time to consider replacing it.

The professional plumbing technicians at Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Services have been Houston’s water heater repair experts since 1979. We also offer free estimates and free second opinions on any maintenance or replacement service your system may need.

Call us today, we’re on the way!

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