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Take Care of Your Hot Water Heater

water damage irmo, water damage cleanup irmoOne of the most forgotten appliances is also the machine most likely to cause damage to your house. Hot water heaters are a top source of residential water damage.  According to the manufacturer’s suggested service life, the life expectancy of a water heater is about 8 to 12 years. So the numbers suggest– it is only a matter of time if you don’t properly maintain your unit. 

Replacing a hot water heater will cost you about $900- $3000. However, the average cost to repair home damage from catastrophic failure is also $3000. So paying attention to the needs and conditions of your unit will save you money and aggravation.

Hard working heaters have a limited life. Simple actions can improve your unit’s efficiency and longevity. A little attention and care will not only extend the lifespan of your heater but might also prevent an indoor flood of dirty water.

Why Water Heaters Fail

As the water in the system is heated, minerals separate and settle at the bottom of the water storage tank. Over time, mineral and salt deposits will accumulate on the bottom of the tank; they corrode the tank liner and heater elements. Then the corroded bottom of a tank literally fails. The rusted out bottom breaks open and all the held water spews out. This deluge of up to 50 gallons of silty, rusty water could spill 1 or 2 inches of water in the entire home.

Some signs of imminent failure include water accumulation beneath the heater, a hissing or whistling sound characteristic of a worn valve, chronic hot water shortages.  

Damage From Slow Leaks

However, not every water heater breaks down in such an obvious way– sometimes the damage is slow over time. Your average tank-style water heater has a typical lifespan of about 10 years. Like any appliance, wear and tear degrade the connections and something breaks. Most commonly, the connection where the cold-water supply line comes in or where the hot-water line goes out begins to leak.

Long-term water heater leaks that go unnoticed can cause widespread damage as moisture saturates drywall and wicks outward from the source, creating a perfect environment for mold to cultivate.

Steps To Prevent Water Damage

Annual water heater servicing can preserve your water heater and extend its life and efficiency; inspect and monitor your water heater frequently. Periodically check for moisture surrounding the plumbing connections, on the top of the tank, or on the stand, it rests on.

  • Use a plastic pan from the home discount store. Install it with a drain connected to a waste line, sump pump or other means of channeling water out of the building. The pan and drain should be large enough to keep water from rising and contacting any electrical or gas controls in the heater.
  • If you notice soggy drywall or the appearance of mold, call a water damage team like Sincerely Yours to perform a moisture inspection before the damage gets worse.
  • If you are renovating your house, relocate the water heater to the garage and place the tank on a metal stand designed specifically for water heaters.
  • If your water heater is older than 10 years, consider upgrading to a tankless system to preemptively avoid an older unit failing.
  • Use an automatic shut off valve (ASOV) with a water sensor linked to a water-controlling valve mounted to the heater’s cold water supply. When the sensor detects water beneath the heater, the valve automatically stops the flow of water.

Insulate The Pipes (Yes, Even In The Summer)

Hot water heater blankets keep the heated water from wasting heat,  Buy some self-sticking 3/8-inch-thick foam pipe insulation that matches the pipes’ diameter. Slide the foam over the hot and cold water pipes as far as you can reach. This also prevents losing heat to a cold room or outdoor closet. Plus, insulating the cold-water pipe prevents condensation in summer.

You can also use a thermal blanket to wrap the entire tank to preserve heat. Adding insulation can also reduce up to 45 percent of heat loss; this could mean almost 10% of water-heating costs. And the new tankless hot water heaters are generally energy efficient on their own and don’t need an insulation blanket at all.

Hire The Experts In Irmo

Water damage is stressful; it is important to hire trusted, experienced experts. If an appliance in your home has spewed water, contact Sincerely Yours water damage, restoration specialists.  Using state-of-the-art drying equipment, thermal imaging, and structural drying, they will restore your home or business to the highest quality standards.

Sincerely Yours has been handling water damage emergencies since 1959 in the Irmo area. Count on their expertise and historic flood experience to serve you with the fastest, easiest cleanup possible.