Water Heater Questions & Answers

Click below to read the answer to common questions for 
commercial and residential water heaters.

residential water heater questions

Residential Gas Hot Water Heater Questions

If your hot water heater is less than 8 years old, and is NOT leaking, a qualified technician at Water Heater Man, Inc. can repair it.  However, if the hot water heater is leaking, or if it is more than 8 years old, the unit should be replaced since it would likely cost more to repair than to buy a new appliance.

On average, the life expectancy of a residential water heater is about 8-10 years, depending on the following circumstances:

  1. Is there a water softener installed? If the answer is yes, the life expectancy of the water heater can be reduced. Water softeners filter out the calcium and magnesium found in hard water so these minerals don’t come into the water heater. However, the salt used in the water softener causes the heater’s anode rod to deteriorate rapidly, placing the appliance at risk for corrosion after one to two years.
  2. Excess Thermal Expansion – The laws of physics dictate that as water heats, it expands. A typical standard water heater tank can handle a modest amount of thermal expansion. Problems occur when there are no faucets open to release the excess pressure caused by the water heating up. As a result, the T&P (temperature and pressure relief valve) will start to drip to release the excess pressure. Thermal Expansion can be evident immediately upon a new installation or years in the future. If Thermal Expansion is present, a properly sized expansion tank can be installed to cure this problem.
Anode Rods protect residential water heater tanks from corrosion. A typical water heater contains one or two factory-installed Anode rods, depending on the type of tank warranty. An anode rod is made from aluminum or magnesium, which reacts to substances in the water, causing an electrochemical reaction that draws corrosion to itself, rather than the glass lining of the water heater tank.

Sediment builds up in a water heater based on the hardness of your water. When the drain valve is opened for flushing, the heater will not drain the big particles or sediment rocks because the valve’s opening is not big enough to let them pass through. That’s why we don’t recommend draining your heater.  If you want your heater drained, please call our office and schedule an appointment. Once you open the drain valve, sediment particles can get into the rubber seal and not allow the drain valve to close properly and can cause your valve to leak. 

Water gets colder when the weather is colder because the temperatures are lower in the air and underground. When you use a large volume of hot water, it will take longer to heat up the cold water coming into the tank because the pipes have cooled off overnight due to the colder weather. As your water heater runs for a morning shower, for example, more cold water comes in and cools everything back down. Give us a call to learn about the different options for saving water and getting hot water right away.

Conventional – peace of mind, minimal maintenance, lower purchase cost.

Tankless – Higher purchase cost, required maintenance, must have filter or water softener, gas and venting may have to be upgraded. 

Please call us at 800-372-1800 to discuss this question more in depth.

In some jurisdictions a drain pan is required by code.  It is recommended to have a drain pan installed, as this will help protect the surrounding areas from water damage if the heater as a slow leak and the drain pan has a drain line plumbed to a drain or outside of the house. 

Repairs on average take an hour to an hour and a half.  Location of the water heater, access, and difficulty of complaint will also contribute to the length of a service call.

Not at this time.  The only plumbing we do is affiliated with the water heater.

Most residential water heaters have a 6 year tank leakage, 6 year parts, and 1 year labor on manufacture defects warranty.  10 year warranties can also be purchased at time of install. 

Repairs – a model and serial number allow us to ensure we have the correct parts on our truck so that we can provide service on the first trip. 

Water heaters – We want to make sure your replacement water heater is compatible to your existing heater in size and recovery.  Having a model and serial number allows to ensure this and allows us to determine if there is any warranty left on your water heater. 

The model and serial number are located on a sticker on the front of the water heater.  This sticker is called the rating plate.  It also has all the other pertinent information for your water heater. 

The new water heaters have intake screens at the bottom of the water heater that have to be clean and free of debris for proper operations.  If the area is dirty, this can cause a pilot outage.   When serving a water heater, the service technician needs to have space to work on the equipment.

We try to carry the most common parts for the water heater and this is why we ask for the model and serial number. 

At this current time, we stock Bradford White water heaters.  Although this is what we stock, we have access to any brand water heater should you request a different brand. 

Normally there is a isolation valve on the cold water supply to the water heater.  This valve is located on the above the water heater on the right hand side water line.  This valve can either be a ball valve (has a handle) that has to be turned 90 degrees or a gate valve (has a knob) that has to be turned clockwise.  If you are unsure and this is an emergency situation, you should call the fire department. 

On you gas line going to your water heater, there should be an isolation valve that has a knob that has to be turned.  This is usually a ball valve with a handle that has to be turned 90 degrees.  There are also some that have to be turned 180 degrees.   If you are unsure and this is an emergency situation, you should call the fire department. 

To prevent floods and leaks, the best thing you can do is have it serviced annually by a company who has a qualified technician that can come out and inspect it. Typically, they can cite things that signal the beginning of a leak, improper burning, carbon monoxide issues and gas leaks. Those are all things they would check for with an annual inspection.

commercial water heater questions

Commercial Water Heater Questions

The loud rumbling and popping noise can be caused by the following:

Low Water Pressure: Normally, water pressure should be around 65-75 PSI. If your water pressure is low (35-50 PSI), you may hear a rumbling noise. Contact your water department to clarify what your water pressure should be for optimal use.

Sediment Build Up: Sediment is caused by a mineral caused calcium carbonate.

When calcium in the water is heated, the deposits fall into the bottom of the tank. This causes a rumbling noise when water sits between the sediment and the tank and turns into steam bubbles. Sediment creates a barrier between the main burner and the water which causes more gas consumption (energy) to heat the water to the desired temperature. This also overheats the metal tank, which over time, can weaken the steel tank and damage the glass lining, causing premature failure of the water heater. The hotter the desired water temperature, the more calcium deposits fall into the tank.

There are multiple ways to reset/re-light your water heater depending on the model you have installed.

Electronic Ignition water heater – This type of water heater requires an electrical supply of 120 volts. To reset the unit, simply unplug or interrupt the power to the water heater, wait about 10 seconds and reconnect the power supply to the water heater. After about 15 seconds you should hear a ticking noise. You can then look underneath the water heater to see if the main burner is on. If nothing happened, plug some other type of equipment into the outlet to see if there is power at the outlet. If there is no power, try hooking an extension cord to the water heater to an outlet that has power to see if the water heater works. Call for service.

Standing Pilot water heater – Follow the instructions on the front of the water heater to re-light the heater. If that does not work, call for water heater service.

The purpose of a recirculation pump is to get hot water within about 5 seconds to all faucets supplied by hot water. The recirculation pump is attached to a secondary supply line that is connected to the hot water supply line at the farthest fixture away from the water heater. The recirculation pump then circulates the hot water throughout the entire building so every fixture has hot water within about 5 seconds of opening the faucet. A recirculation pump and recirculation line can save you money on your energy and water bill because the pipes are constantly (when needed as the pump can also be on a timer) hot and you have warm water returning to the water heater. Without a recirculation line, on average, the furthest shower/tub can waste an estimated 12,000 gallons of water a year waiting for the water to get hot.  If you don’t have a dedicated recirc line, a dedicated line can be added, but is costly.  They now make systems to allow you to have hot water within seconds without running a dedicated recirculation line.  These are called Comfort Systems and can be purchased and installed through us.

All commercial grade water heaters have a manufacturer’s three year limited warranty. The warranty covers three years for tank leakage and one year for parts and labor. All water heater manufacturers have an optional five year warranty at an additional cost.

Water Heater Man, Inc. offers a Preventative Maintenance Program for all water heaters and boilers. Please call for details.

Is your water heater turning off and displaying error code 110 or 61 on your Bradford White UCG100H399? Are you loosing hot water during peak usage times?

The problem could be with your gas pressure.

Gas pressure will fluctuate when all equipment is on in the building. If the gas supply line is small, the water heater may be having issues with the dynamic gas pressures.

  • On this particular water heater, the static gas pressure is rated between a minimum 4.5″ wc and a maximum of 14″ wc.
  • Dynamic gas pressure should not drop below 1.5”wc of the static gas pressure
  • Drops in gas pressures will normally be seen during peak times of usage when all equipment is being used
  • If the Dynamic pressure drops below 5”wc the water heater will not operate properly

When testing static gas pressure, you will have to ensure that all equipment is on and running. If you don’t, your readings my not be accurate

Hook up manometer to inlet port on gas valve and get static gas pressure reading

Turn on heater and wait for heater to fire. After 3- 5 minutes while heater is at full fire, check you dynamic pressure. If the pressure drops below 1.5”wc, there is a problem with either the gas supply or size of the gas line.

Double check the gas line size.

Double check the rating on the gas flex, if installed.

Verify the main gas line prior to the tee off for the water heater is sized adequately.

Increase the gas line to the water to a minimum 1 ¼” as close to the heater as possible.

Retest static and dynamic gas pressures.

If the problem persists there many be a different issue causing your loss of hot water.

In some circumstances you can, but the job site would have to be properly sized with a water heater sizing guide. Most applications are sized to accommodate the usage of hot water at peak periods during the day. We don’t recommend downsizing your water heater unless all measures are followed and the application is sized properly. Please call for further assistance.

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    “I’m happy with the job Mike and Eric did. And afterwards, I saw Mike helping my neighbor who has Alzheimer’s and was wandering the street not knowing where he lived. Mike gave the man snacks and called the police to help the man. Mike went way above and beyond the call of duty. Kudos to him.”

    —Ellen B.


    “I’m very happy with the service provided and thank you for taking time to explain how to shut off the main water valve. You didn’t have to take the time to show me how, but I’m so very happy that you did.”

    —Daniel Williams