FAQ

(Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the life expectancy of a water heater in our region?

Water heaters that are cared for properly can last as long as 12 to 16 years, but the make and model of the water heater also affect its longevity.

What is the age of my water heater?

The serial number normally tells how old a water heater is. For example, the first four digits of the number may tell the month and year.

What temperature is the ideal water heater setting?

Water heaters are commonly set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Hotter temperatures raise risks of scalding while lower temperature make running out of hot water more likely.

Does my water heater need insulation?

Gas water heaters should never be insulated as it creates a fire hazard. In Oregon, water heaters also already include an appropriate degree of insulation.

Why is my pilot light going out over and over?

Your water heater may have a damaged part, but venting associated with windy weather can also cause this issue.

Can I use a tankless water heater?

Tankless water heaters work well in some situations but are not always appropriate. Many factors affect whether a tankless water heater is a good option, so an assessment should always be performed. We can weigh the factors involved and tell you whether a tankless water heater will address your needs.

How can I reduce the energy consumed through my water heater?

Taking shorter showers and turning off the water heater during vacations can help save energy. Although minimizing hot water usage in general will also help, many people are now saving energy by switching to tankless water heaters or Energy Star models.

How do thermal expansion tanks work? Is this option right for me?

Thermal expansion tanks provide space for increased pressure during heating in closed plumbing systems, potentially preventing damage to water fixtures, appliances and the water heater itself. Many districts require thermal expansion tanks in plumbing systems that are closed. To find out whether your system is closed and would benefit from a thermal expansion tank, we will need to perform testing at your location.

How are water heaters regulated in my region?

The Uniform Plumbing Code, National Electric Code and Uniform Mechanical Code regulate water heater installation throughout Oregon, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco. However, cities and counties have their own codes that must also be considered. We always check local codes before we start working.

How much hot water is produced per hour by gas and electric water heaters?

Both groundwater temperature and the water temperature you need will affect production by your water heater. In most residential buildings, water heaters running on gas will make between 35 and 45 gallons water in an hour whereas high-input water heaters will make between 50 and 60. In electric water heaters, 4500-watt models will heat between 18 and 25 gallons per hour while 5500-watt models will make about 25 to 35.

My water contains small particles or flakes. Is the dip tube faulty?

The dip tube on your water heater prevents cold water from blending with your hot water as it goes to your fixtures. When a dip tub starts to disintegrate, it can let go of particles and chunks that may block water flow through aerators and faucets. Water heater tank replacement is recommended in this situation as those particles are difficult to take out of the system.

Are earthquake straps required for my water heater?

According to the Uniform Plumbing Code, water heaters in seismic zones 3 and 4 must be strapped down to prevent them from breaking loose during an earthquake. These zones include Oregon, Washington and California.

How does FVIR technology work in gas water heaters?

A majority of gas water heaters made before 2003 can be relit using a match, but this is a potential fire hazard. FVIR, which stands for Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant, is a safety measure that means the pilot mechanism must be used to relight the pilot, which is sealed.

Why is my hot water so slow to arrive at my faucets?

The distance from the hot water heater to the fixture is the main factor. If the distance is significant, water may also be wasted as you wait for hot water to come out of the faucet. Re-circulation systems, which are included in some homes, ensure that hot water is always available from faucets right away.

Why is there a puddle of water at the bottom of my water heater? Is this a cause for concern?

A damaged water heater lining can cause a leak from the bottom of the tank. To avoid wasting water and having the problem worsen, the tank should be replaced sooner rather than later.

Why is my hot water not working? What can I do about it?

If your water heater runs on gas, find out if your pilot light is out. If necessary, relight it or call us for guidance. With an electric water heater, the unit may need to be reset or a breaker switch has flipped. In this case, turn the breaker back on. Call us if your lack of hot water does not seem to be related to these factors.

Will my water heater be affected by the high water pressure in my home?

Water pressure above 80 psi can damage water heaters and other appliances. If you have high water pressure, you can install a pressure-reducing valve to possibly extend the life of your water heater.

Why are loud bangs and rumbling noises coming from my water heater?

Thermal expansion causes these noises. This can potentially result from buildup of sediment in the tank and could indicate strain that might raise energy consumption and reduce the life expectancy of your water heater.

The bottom of my tank is rusting. How can I keep it from getting worse?

As water heaters get older, they often develop rust. Although this does not necessarily indicate that the lining of the water heater is damaged, replacement may be a good idea if the appliance is more than 15 years old.

Does my water heater need a blanket?

Blankets were once used to insulate water heaters but are no longer necessary as manufacturers add insulation during production. In fact, blankets can raise risks of fire.

Why does my water have a bad odor? Is this dangerous?

The odor is probably coming from bacterial growth inside your water heater and is common in areas that use low levels of chlorine in the water supply. Replacing the anode rod, using copper to replace old pipes or sanitizing the water heater may fix the problem, but water heater replacement should also be considered. Because the bacteria could potentially raise health risks, this issue can benefit from professional help.