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Tank & Tankless Hot Water Heaters
repair & installation services
Do you have water heater problems?
RT Olson Plumbing offers complete hot water heater repair and installation services, including:
- water heater flush
- repair service
- standard water heaters with a tank
- tankless water heaters
- water heater replacement
- remove and haul away old water heater
We work on, replace, and install new water heaters of all types including:
Of any size:
- 40 gallons
- 50 gallons
- 75 gallons
NOTE: So Cal Gas is currently providing rebates of $600 to $1,000 for certified Energy Star rated tankless water heaters. Check their rebates page for current availability.
*Instant Hot Water*
Would you like hot water instantly, on demand, at every faucet and shower the moment you turn on the faucet? We can make that happen for you. Contact us and ask about your instant hot water options.
Water Heater Info & DIY Tips Menu
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7 Signs You Might Need A Water Heater Repair or Replacement
How can you tell if your water heater needs to be repaired or replaced?
Water heaters tend to develop problems with age, and finally either fail to heat the water or begin leaking.
A serious leak from an indoor tank-type heater can cause serious damage to wood floors, carpets, and furniture.
Here are 7 signs you may need a water heater replacement:
- Age of your water heater
- Rust and corrosion
- Rumblings and noises
- Drain valve is not draining anymore
- Water heater is leaking
- Noticeable drop in water temperature
- Pilot won’t light
1. Age of hot water heater
If you have a tank type water heater, it should last roughly eight to twelve years. Tankless water heaters last quite a lot longer, typically about twenty years.
If you bought a used home and don’t know how old the water heater is, check the manufacturer’s label.
Some manufacturers clearly state the date of manufacture somewhere near the Model Number.
Look for “MFG Date:” followed by a month and year. But many manufacturers code that date into the serial number, making it more challenging to find.
For example, a serial number such as “G16237109” contains the Date of Manufacture in the first three figures. G, being the seventh letter of the alphabet stands for the seventh month, or July.
Then, the first two numerical digits of the serial number are 16, which represents the year, 2016, so this water heater was made in July 2016.
But each manufacturer may have their own date coding, so here is a handy list for decoding the age of your water heater by manufacturer.
Whether a tank-style water heater lasts a full twelve years or fails in less than eight years depends on both luck and proper maintenance.
But even with proper maintenance, there is no certainty that you will get twelve years trouble-free.
If your tank-style water heater is approaching the 10-year point, or your tankless water heater is approaching twenty years, it will likely need replacing soon.
If your water heater is located indoors, or where a leak can damage your home, you should likely replace it after 10 years at the latest, or before, if there is also rust in your water, or noisy heating cycles (see 2 and 3 below).
2. Rust and corrosion
Visually check your tank for rust or corrosion. Specifically, look for rust or corrosion around the temperature and pressure relief valve, and the water inlet and outlet connections.
Rust from a water heater may also show up in your tap water. Finding rust or corrosion can be an indication that your tank is rusting and needs to be replaced. (A tank cannot be repaired once it has started to rust and corrode.) If the rust is here, the leak will follow!
If your water heater is located inside your home, leaking water, especially from a large tank-style water heater, can cause thousands of dollar’s worth of damage. Imagine water from a 70-gallon tank soaking your carpets or wood flooring. Yikes!
If the water heater is inside your house, consider replacing a 10-year old tank-style heater right away because the rust is telling you that the tank is about to have holes in it!
If your tank is located in a garage where water damage may be minimal, you have an option of waiting for the leak to happen before getting it replaced. But that’s not recommended.
3. Rumblings and noises
If you hear rumbling, thumping, or banging sounds coming from the water heater tank during its heating cycles, it’s a likely sign that the water heater is at the end of its useful life.
The noises develop because sediment builds up on the bottom of the tank in its years of use. Heated sedimentary layers make noises.
As the sediment gets repeatedly reheated, it hardens it until it becomes impossible to remove through simple flush-out maintenance.
If your home has hard water, you should flush out your water heater annually.
Hardened sediment also causes the heater to use more gas or electricity to heat the water as the unit becomes less and less efficient.
More time spent heating the water is equivalent to more wear on the metal tank.
The tank thus becomes brittle faster, and will eventually crack or begin developing tiny holes.
If your water heater is getting noisy as it heats water, look for any small leaks and consider replacing your water heater very soon!
4. Unable to drain water through the drain valve
The Heater Drain Valve is a valve near the bottom of the water heater that can be used to drain water out of the tank in order to flush out sediment or to drain the tank.
It resembles a spigot fixture to which a hose can be attached for draining or flushing out.
A regular maintenance of flushing out your water heater once a year can prevent the build-up of sediment mentioned in #3 above.
In addition to degrading the interior of the tank, sediment can also clog the drain valve.
You may be able to unclog the drain valve yourself. But if the sediment has hardened to a point where the tank can no longer be drained, or if leaks have developed, it’s probably time to replace your water heater.
If you think you can get by just replacing a clogged drain valve, here is a how-to video from Rheem.
5. Your hot water tank is leaking
A leak from your hot water tank is usually an internal problem and is not really repairable.
But before calling for a replacement of your water heater, there are steps you can take to find other possible sources of the leak. So, first look for any fittings or valves that just need to be tightened or replaced.
- Check the water pipe connections at the top of your water heater. They may just need tightening or replacement of corroded parts.
- Check the overflow pipe attached to the temperature relief valve on the water heater. This is a safety valve to relieve excess temperature and pressure inside the water heater. This pipe is designed to occasionally blows off a little steam, and this is not a problem with your water heater. But, if it leaks frequently or continuously, get it checked by a professional.
- Examine the drain valve at the bottom of your water heater tank (#4 above) see to see if it is leaking. It can be tightened or replaced.
If the leak is coming from the tank itself, simple repairs won’t do. Turn off the water and power to your water heater. It’s time to install a new unit.
6. Your water is only lukewarm or even cold
If you find your water no longer gets as hot as it did, something is wrong. It may be a problem with the heating element or with the electric thermostat. These parts can fail or malfunction.
Water can also get cooled within the tank by a broken dip tube, which descends from the cold water supply at the top of the water heater down into the heater tank.
7. A gas water heater pilot won’t light
The most common reason for a pilot not to light, or not to stay lit, is a bad thermocouple., Usually, a simple repair will fix the problem. You may be able to replace a bad thermocouple yourself. Click here to watch a video on how.
Other issues with gas pilot lights are helpfully discussed here.
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Hot Water Heater Safety
Watch a water heater explode!
Don’t let your water heater become a bomb!
Home fires and explosions from faulty water heaters can be prevented with regular maintenance and inspections.
RT Olson Plumbing recommends annual water heater inspections and tune-ups.
We’ll have a professional and experienced plumber inspect your water heater to make sure all of it’s safety mechanisms are working properly. For gas water heaters, we’ll also inspect your connections to prevent gas leaks.
Water heater repairs and replacements are best left to professionals. Installing or repairing a water heater yourself may save you a few dollars, but improper installation can cause a number of far more costly problems.
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Hot Water Heater Repair or Replacement?
Repairing Your Hot Water Heater
If you determine that your water heater can be repaired, and you feel handy enough with plumbing work, you may be able to do some work yourself.
If you feel better hiring an experienced, professional plumber, ask your plumber the following questions:
- What is the estimated cost of the necessary repair?
- What is the life expectancy of the water heater after the repairs are completed?
- What would be the cost of a new water heater (including labor)?
With these answered, you have the information you need to decide if it is worth your time and money to repair the unit.
Replacing Your Hot Water Heater
If you’ve determined that you need to replace your water heater, ask yourself the following:
- Did the tank size of your old water heater meet your current household needs? If not, you may want to purchase a larger tank.
- Would it make good economic sense for you to switch from a tank-style heater to a tankless water heater? Consider the Pros and Cons of tankless water heaters discussed below.
- Will you hire a plumber or install the water heater yourself? For safety, we recommend getting a professional, experienced plumber to properly perform any water heater installation. But you can research installations on-line for how-to videos, and see if you feel comfortable with your skills, knowledge, and tools.
Water Heater Installation Costs & Sizing
There are many variables affecting the total cost for water heater installations:
- The prices of the units themselves vary for propane, gas, or electric water heaters.
- Tankless water heaters generally cost more initially than tank-style hot water heaters.
- The required size or heating capacity is a factor whether for tank-style or tankless water heaters.
For example, tank-style water heaters come in various capacities, the larger costing more. As a rule of thumb, tank size requirements are as follows:
- 40 gal for 1 bath house
- 50 gal for 2 bath house
- 75 gal for 3-4 bath house
- The location of the installation affects costs.
- Varied modifications to the plumbing system and pipe runs are a factor in overall cost (copper is very expensive).
For information about how to size a tankless water heater for your household, check out our blog post on that topic.
If it’s time for your old hot water heater to be replaced, or you want a new installation for new construction, please contact us at (951) 533-5071. We will answer your questions and help you choose the most appropriate new water heater for your needs.
Tankless Water Heaters
Would a Tankless Water Heater be an Improvement?
Here are some factors to consider:
- Tankless water heaters cost more than tank style heaters initially, but they may save you in energy costs, and they can last roughly twice as long.
- Tankless water heaters are much smaller and can free up space in your home for other uses.
- Some smaller units only adequately supply one or two fixtures operating simultaneously so a home might require a large unit or more than one tankless water heater.
- Tankless water heaters sometimes require a larger gas line and/or a change of flue piping.
What are the benefits of a tankless water heater?
The convenience of on-demand water heating: A problem with storage-tank style water heaters is that they rely on storing an adequate supply of hot water for typical usage.
But household usage may change, and there are times when a tank full of hot water doesn’t last long enough for everyone in your family to get a shower. Sometimes it runs out part-way through a shower. Brrrrr.
A tankless water heater solves this by heating water as it’s needed—whenever you turn the faucet.
As water is running through the heating elements, it is brought up to the proper temperature in seconds. This means that as long as the home uses hot water at a flow rate below the tankless heater’s maximum flow rate, the supply of hot water remains undiminished!
Important to note: Tankless units do not provide instant hot water; there is still the time needed for the hot water travel the pipe from the heater to your faucet!
The closer your tap is to the heating unit, the less time you wait for the hot water to arrive.
Efficiency: With a tankless water heater, there is no need to pay for the energy necessary to keep 50 or 70 or 100 gallons of water hot 24/7.
In tankless models the water is heated as it runs through the unit, sending hot water whenever a hot-water tap is opened.
Because of this, tankless water heaters generally save 20% to 40% on energy use compared with storage tank type water heaters.
The U. S. Department of Energy estimates that for homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, on-demand, or tankless water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters.
And for homes that use a lot of hot water (around 86 gallons per day), tankless water heaters can be 8%–14% more energy efficient.
SOURCE: U. S. Department of Energy
Space-saving: Tankless water heaters are much smaller units (about ¼ the size of a tank-style unit).
Since there is no need for the 50, 75, or 100-gallon capacity storage tank, the tankless water heater may be wall mounted in a much smaller space. This may well free up space inside your home or garage.
If you are finding that an old 50-gallon tank style heater is no longer adequate for family needs, and there isn’t room for a larger capacity heater, going tankless is a great solution.
How much do tankless water heaters cost?
Initially, they cost more than storage-tank style water heaters. Reasons for this include: a more powerful burner, computerized controls, and a possible need to reconfigure gas, plumbing and venting. But this initial cost is offset by both the energy savings and longer life-expectancy of a tankless unit.
Example: A tankless (condensed gas-fired) water heater can reduce water-heating energy costs by 60% or more compared to an equivalent 50-gallon storage, electric water heater.
A tankless unit might pay for itself in energy cost savings within the first seven years of its average 20-year life span.
To compare installation costs between tanks-style and tankless systems, you need to ask your local plumbers. But installation costs on tankless heaters have come down in recent years, and more tankless models are compatible with the existing gas line and ventilation stacks from previous tank-style heaters.
Tankless heaters are modern and more effective. They last up to 20 years with very little maintenance, as opposed to the typical 8-12 years of tank style heaters.
The U.S. Department of Energy helps you compare the purchase and annual operating costs of tankless water heaters vs. tank-style water heaters.
What size tankless water heater is right for my home?
The answer will depend on your home’s incoming water temperature, its maximum flow rate, and whether you will be using a gas or electric unit.
Let’s say you know your incoming cold water is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. You then determine the maximum flow rate of gallons during use.
A shower might require 1.5 GPM (gallons per minute), with a desired temperature of 105 F. But someone else is also washing dishes, at 1.5 GPM in nice hot water.
Perhaps also the dish washer is running, at 2 GPM, and an average washer temperature is 120 F.
The total GPM for that time period is 5 GPM. Thus you want a tankless water heater capable of raising the temperature of incoming water from 50 F to 120 F (a 70 degree rise) at 5 GPM. Most gas-fired water heaters are capable of doing this.
Let RT Olson Plumbing help you determine what kind of tankless water heater you need.
Tankless water heater repair and maintenance
Flushing/descaling is important for a long life and and worry free operation of your tankless water heater.
Tankless Manufacturers often require proof of proper service records before authorizing parts or unit replacement under a warranty claim.
Proper service includes one-hour flush with a descaling fluid, cleaning or “dusting” the unit of foreign objects, and cleaning the filters and condensation trap.
This service should be done annually.
Contact RT Olson Plumbing to set up annual tankless water heater inspections and servicing, at (951) 533-5071.
RT Olson Plumbing offers installations of Noritz brand tankless water heaters
Getting a new tankless water heater installed, step by step:
- Contact us for a phone quote or onsite estimate (Our phone quotes are always accurate and we will not be surprising you with extra charges once we arrive onsite).
- In discussion with you, we will help you determine the most appropriate tankless water heater brand and model for your home.
- We will arrive at the appointment date and time with the water heater and all materials needed, we will go over the project and explain you what are we gonna be doing and how the finished product will look.
- With your approval for the plans we will get to work. Typically, a tankless water heater installation takes 6 to 8 hours.
- We will remove the old water heater and clean and prepare the area for the new installation.
- We will mount the new tankless water heater on the wall, making sure we free up as much free space as possible. We will install all the new manufacturer’s approved air/exhaust vents, re-connect the water and gas supplies, making sure everything is up to-code.
- Once done, we will explain you how the water heater works and how to utilize its features.
- You begin enjoying endless hot water supply, while saving on you utility bill.
RT Olson Plumbing offers full-service, professional installations for the following brands:
Tank-style water heaters:
Tankless water heaters: