We use hot water in our homes several times every day without thinking much about it. Hot water is a luxury we take for granted, but it wasn’t always a standard feature in homes. The first rustic concept emerged in 1868 in London when a painter found that it was possible to heat water by placing gas burners beneath the water pipes. That paved the way for Edwin Ruud to introduce the first tank style water heater in the United States. About one-fourth of all the energy used in our homes goes to the water heater to prepare anywhere from 80 to 120 gallons of hot water daily.

The initial idea of applying a heat source to the outside of a pipe to heat the water inside the pipe serves as the model for most water heaters today, except that the water surrounds the heat source instead. Fueled by gas or electricity, cold water is drawn into the tank through a dip tube. The gas burner then releases hot air through the chimney located in the middle of the water tank. As the hot air heats the chimney, it also heats the water inside the tank. When you turn on your faucet, the water is drawn back up through the dip tube and into the faucet for use.

Water heaters don’t always go out at the most convenient times but there are some things you can watch for that will alert you to an improperly functioning or broken water heater:

  • Lack of hot water, fluctuations in temperature, or short duration of the hot water supply
  • Low or decreasing water pressure
  • The presence of rust outside or inside the heater
  • Water leaking from the unit
  • Strange noises or odors
  • Water that contains rust or other particles or water that is discolored
  • The tank is old

Most water heaters last anywhere from six to 13 years. Basically, if your water heater is older than 12 years, you should be on the lookout for problems and be ready to replace it.

Water heater repair and replacement is complicated and requires knowledge of electrical wiring, plumbing, and building codes. Reputable plumbing services provide trained professionals who are licensed and insured to install or repair your water heater safely and according to code.

If your water heater stops working or you suspect there is a problem, Total Home Services of Utah offers EPA-certified technicians who participate in regular training and whose work meets or exceeds current standards for home appliance installation and repair. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.