Providing Hot Water Heater Replacement & Installation Services for Gas, Electric & Tankless Water Heaters
When the time arrives to update your water heater and install a new one, you can count on Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Wichita. We will help you make the perfect selection that matches your unique needs and budget. From installing a gas line to adding an expansion tank, we precisely follow every specification to the last detail. Whether you are looking for a conventional tank water heater or a modern alternative, our expert technicians can properly install your unit.
Types of Water Heaters
There are numerous types of water heaters on the market, including:
- Electric units
- Solar units
- On-demand units
- Conventional units
- Storage tank units
- Gas units
- Tankless units
- High-efficiency units
Gas Water Heaters
Gas water heaters incur higher upfront costs than electric options, but they can save money long-term due to the lower cost of natural gas. If you choose a gas heater, it is wise to periodically inspect your gas line, gas valve, and water tank to prevent leaks and sediment buildup. This will prolong the lifespan of your water heater, ensure it is optimally performing, and safeguard your home and family against potential hazards.
Electric Water Heaters
Electric heaters usually offer lower upfront costs but generally cause higher monthly utility bills when compared to gas heaters. Nevertheless, because the electric grid powers electric water heaters, they are more environmentally friendly – especially if local electricity uses renewable energy sources.
Natural Gas & Propane Heaters
Propane is derived from raw natural gas: separated and refined at natural gas facilities. On the other hand, natural gas is a diverse mixture of propane, butane, ethane, and methane. Highly processed, propane has many upsides: heating water twice as fast and burning half as much gas per hour. This makes propane water heaters more energy-efficient than natural gas units. One downside, however, is that propane tanks must be manually refueled.
Signs You Need a Water Heater Replacement
Rising energy bills, slow leaks, corroded and/or rusted tank liners, and a shortage of hot water are all valid reasons to replace your water heater right away.
Water Pooling or Wet Carpet
If water is pooling around the bottom of your water heater, there's likely an internal structural problem that's causing a slow leak. The root cause might be sediment buildup, a crack in the steel liner, excessive rust, a faulty drain valve, or a defective temperature & pressure relief valve. Unfortunately, leaks can be challenging to repair and usually warrant a replacement as soon as possible to avoid further water damage and mold growth.
High Water Bills
When a water heater is backed up with sediment, old, corroded, neglected, or set at an excessively high temperature, the costs of water and electric bills can double. The primary culprit of high water bills is a leak. Regularly checking for damp conditions and signs of drippage is a simple way to catch problems before they get out of hand.
Takes a Long Time for Hot Water
Ideally, a water heater should be as close as possible to your water fixtures to ensure fast delivery. Tankless water heaters are a great solution – they can be mounted anywhere and deliver two to three gallons of hot water per minute. Unlike slow-heating storage tanks, tankless units also have the upside of heating water instantly.
Another effective solution is installing a hot water recirculation system that returns unused hot water to the water heater. Hot water recirculation systems can get your shower hot and dishes clean without needing to run your faucet for an extended period. Delivering hot water quickly, you won’t need to waste gallons and inflate your monthly water bill while waiting for water to reach a satisfying temperature.
Gas On Hot Water Heater Constantly Needs Relighting
A defective thermocouple is the most likely cause of pilot light problems. This device regulates the flow of gas inside your water heater. When the temperature rises, the thermocouple opens the gas valve. When the pilot light goes out and the temperature drops, the thermocouple closes the gas valve. If its wires get disconnected, or dirt and dust cover its sensors, it can malfunction and cause the pilot light to turn off when it shouldn’t.
Should I Repair or Replace My Water Heater?
We recommend seriously considering a new water heater if:
- Your unit is providing insufficient hot water.
- Your unit is frequently breaking down and needing costly repairs.
- Your unit is over 10 years old, wearing out, and losing its efficiency.
- Your unit leaks or is rusting due to water minerals.
If the pilot light flickers out, the circuit breaker trips, the burner fails, the valve gets stuck, or the thermostat breaks, repairing and replacing should be inexpensive. However, when issues and repairs recurringly pop up with an older water heater, considering replacement options is wise. New models are up to 20% more efficient – saving you hundreds of dollars in energy costs over the unit's lifespan.
How Long Do Water Heaters Last?
A conventional storage tank water heater should be expected to function smoothly for 10 to 13 years before problems caused by age arise. Electric tanks generally last 8 to 12 years, depending on the design and frequency usage.
Tankless and solar water heaters are the most durable, typically lasting 20 to 30 years. The lifespan of any water heater can be extended by performing proactive maintenance, installing a water softener, and regularly draining and clearing sediment.
Water Heater Replacement & Installation Costs
The price of a water heater depends on many factors, including:
- The size of the unit
- The difficulty of installation
- The materials needed
- The removal of an old unit
- The labor involved
- The need to acquire permits or retrofit the space to meet code
- Technological features (some models, like hybrids or solar water heaters, can be tricky to install)
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Benefits of Getting a New Water Heater
A new water heater offers many perks, such as:
- Delivering enough hot water to satisfy all your needs
- Improving your energy efficiency
- Reducing the likelihood of emergency breakdowns
- Creating more space
- Making less sound
Efficiency and Money Savings
New water heaters are energy-efficient and less costly than older units, benefiting the environment and your wallet. Tankless systems, electric heat pumps, and solar water heaters offer even more significant savings on utility bills. Some of these eco-friendly options may even qualify for federal tax credits.
Hot Water Recovery Rate
The second most common reason behind water heater replacements is to increase the volume of hot water. By upgrading to a tankless system or a larger tank, you can make sure your household has sufficient hot water supplies for showers, dishwashing, laundry, and other tasks. Our team can help you choose a model and size that meets your needs.
Tankless water heaters have the advantage of being incredibly compact. A fraction of the size of conventional storage tank heaters, tankless units can be as small as a briefcase. A tankless water heater can also be easily mounted outside or on a wall, while storage tank heaters require a designated area and waste space.
Produces Less Waste
Each year in the United States, around 7.3 million traditional tank-based water heaters are disposed into landfills. With a tankless water heater, you will have a durable unit that lasts longer, consists of reusable and recyclable parts, and creates significantly less waste.
Tankless systems also drastically reduce energy consumption. If every water heater in North America were a high-efficiency tankless alternative, the continent would annually save:
- 290 million gallons of fuel oil
- 164 million gallons of propane
- 6 billion hours of kilowatt electricity
Why It's Important to Maintain Your Water Heater
A water heater can be a dangerous appliance, especially if installed by an amateur and neglected for long periods. Maintenance will safeguard your home from:
- Water heater leaks that can cause fire hazards and outbreaks of mold
- Gas line and flue leaks that can cause explosions and/or carbon monoxide poisoning
- Faulty water temperature controls that can cause serious burns
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional CO poisoning causes over 400 deaths, 20,000 emergency room visits, and 4,000 hospitalizations in America each year. There are 3 primary ways water heaters can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning:
- The unit was improperly installed
- The unit receives infrequent maintenance
- The unit is insufficiently ventilated, leaving nowhere for gas to escape
Prevent Fire Hazards
Water heaters are responsible for a surprisingly large percentage of home fires every year. To protect your home against fire, we suggest:
- Checking your water heater for gas and water leaks
- Keeping flammable materials and debris far away from the unit
- Knowing how to turn off the unit quickly
- Keeping the area well ventilated
- Having your water heater installed by a professional
Prevent Electrical Shock Occurrences
With electric water heaters, there is a low risk of electrocution. Because water conducts electricity, a faulty electric water heater can transmit shocks. This is why earthing/grounding your electric water heaters is an essential safety measure.
Instant, tankless water heaters have unique risks. To protect against the possibility of electrocution, inspect for loose cables, check the TEST button and fuse box, never aim the shower faucet at the mounted casing, and let a professional regularly inspect your unit.
Prevent Structural Damage
Most modern water heaters are equipped with a cathodic/sacrificial anode rod designed to prevent rust. Unfortunately, this rod can deteriorate over time. As a result, industry experts recommend routinely checking the anode rod. Our maintenance team can remove, inspect, and even replace the rod if needed.
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Water Heater Repair
Repairs can be costly, which is why we recommend proactive maintenance. At Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Wichita, we offer a year-round water heater maintenance program called the Ben Franklin Society. This program is a wise investment that can help you avoid inconvenient emergencies and expensive repairs. By preventively repairing minor issues, our routine visits will significantly help you prolong the life of your water heater.
Tankless Water Heaters
According to Energy.gov, tankless water heaters are 24% to 34% more energy-efficient than conventional units in homes using under 41 gallons of daily hot water – saving homeowners money every year. Tankless units are so efficient because they heat water on demand. Cold water travels through a pipe into the unit, where either a gas or electric burner instantly heats the water. This process allows for constant hot water without any wait time.
Solar Water Heaters
Unlike traditional water heaters, solar water heaters are independent of the electric grid. Highly efficient solar units use solar panels to draw clean, renewable energy from the sun. Though pricier upfront, solar water heaters will save you money on utility bills and lower your carbon footprint.
An expansion tank can be a lifesaver – quite literally. Available in various sizes, expansion tanks provide a relief outlet for the pressure that can build up in close-circuit tanks. This is a critical safety measure. Water expands as it heats, and if there is not enough space, this expansion can cause a tank to burst. By installing an expansion tank to assist the main tank, we can release this potentially explosive pressure.
Water Heater Replacement Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to replacing a water heater, many inquiries may arise. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Wichita is available 24/7 to field all of your questions.
What Is the Difference Between Gas and Electric Water Heaters?
Gas water heaters use either natural gas or propane to heat your water. Electric water heaters use electricity. It should be noted that switching from an electric unit to a gas unit can be particularly complicated. In such a scenario, extended gas lines and new vents will likely need to be installed.
It is also helpful to understand the variations within each type of water heater. For example, electric heat pumps are usually more energy-efficient than conventional electric units. Electric heat pumps can even run cheaper than gas units, despite consistently low costs of natural gas.
Can I Install a Water Heater Myself, or Should I Hire a Professional?
We do not recommend installing your new water heater on your own. A simple DIY mistake can have grave consequences:
- An over-pressurized tank may explode if the temperature and pressure relief valve is incorrectly installed.
- Electrocution and fire risks increase when wiring is improperly connected and/or sized.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when a gas line, flue, or valve is faultily installed.
Our experienced technicians can help you select the proper water heater size and model for your home and safely install it.
How Long Does it Take a Plumber to Install a New Water Heater?
Our certified and experienced technicians work quickly. We can usually remove an old unit and install a new one in approximately three hours. Various factors can affect this timeframe, including the need to add new gas or water lines. Regardless of the situation, we work urgently and always show up on time. After all, our company motto is: If There’s Any Delay, It’s You We Pay™.
Are Water Heater Replacements Covered Under Homeowners Insurance?
Some policies consider a water heater to be part of a home and cover it under dwelling coverage. Your water heater might also be insured by equipment breakdown coverage. However, standard homeowners policies usually don’t cover water heaters unless specifically added for an extra fee.
Do I Need a Permit for a New Water Heater?
Most cities, counties, and building jurisdictions require multiple permits to ensure a newly installed water heater meets current safety codes. Here are 2 possible requirements:
- If electrical modifications are necessary, an electrical permit may be required.
- Should you need to add or modify existing gas or water lines, acquiring a plumbing permit is a common prerequisite.
When replacing a conventional water heater, modern building codes might also require upgrades to be made to your:
- Water heater mount
- Venting system
- Drain pan
- Supply pipes
Does a New Water Heater Require an Inspection?
Applying for a permit almost always involves a mandatory inspection that will include a long list of safety checks. An inspector will inspect multiple components, including:
- The pilot light
- The gas pipes
- The exhaust flue
- The relief/drain valve
- The combustion chamber
- Earthquake restraints
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