Poor water heater performance can leave you with sudden cold showers and long waits for warm water, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the appliance is done for. Sometimes the problem is nothing more than Ohio’s winter weather.
If your water heater isn’t working the way it should be, try these five tactics before you consider replacing it.
- Stop drafts: A cold, drafty space saps heat away from your water heater. If your water heater’s in the basement or another unheated space, take steps to prevent cold air infiltration. This may mean weather sealing the windows and caulking the window frames and other draft sources.
- Wrap your water heater: If your water heater feels warm to the touch, it’s losing energy. To improve your water heater’s energy efficiency, wrap the tank in an insulating blanket. These blankets are specially designed to fit around water heater tanks. You may find insulating your tank lets you turn the thermostat down, too. NOTE: Carefully follow the instructions when wrapping your gas/oil fired water heater so that you don’t block air from reaching the burner or venting out the heater to the chimney. This is of less concern for electric water heaters.
- Insulate your pipes: Cold pipes cool your water before it reaches you. To keep your water warm, install pre-split foam pipe insulation tubes on the at least the first six feet of the hot and cold water pipes that connect to your water heater tank. Fully insulate any pipes running through unconditioned or cold spaces.
- Check your dip tube: The dip tube is what lets cold water enter at the bottom of the tank without cooling the hot water at the top. Especially in an older water heater, this tube can crack or break, allowing cold water to chill your warm water.
- Do a maintenance check: A number of repairable issues can impair water heater performance. Make sure your pilot light, burner (or electric heating elements) and thermostat are working properly. If you haven’t done maintenance this year, it may be time to flush out the system to remove sediment that could interfere with performance and damage your tank.
If you’d like help improving your water heater performance or the performance of any other HVAC equipment, contact us at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. In Cleveland, Aurora, Hunting Valley and the surrounding area, we’ve been providing dependable HVAC services since 1936.