Do you have a favorite appliance?  Your water heater has to be up there on the top of that list, right? A hot shower starts the day just right to wake you up, unless it is showering you with ice cold water. Then it really wakes you up with a startle.  How old is your water heater?  Conventional water heaters act as one of the largest household energy consumers, behind your heating and cooling systems.  According to Consumer Reports, your water heater eats up to 30% of your energy budget.  Maintaining your water heater annually is a recommended practice that reduces failures and extends the equipment life.  It is common for aging water heaters to rust and leak, so keep a close eye on yours, especially if it is located in your attic.  Leaks can cause expensive and inconvenient damage to ceilings, walls and personal belongings.  Flood-safe shut-off valves are also a smart solution.  They detect leaks then activate the shut-off function to prevent unnecessary water overflow damage.  The most common water heater size for single family homes is 40-50 gallons.  Drain pans will not hold 50 gallons of water!

If your water heater is older than ten years, it is time to think about replacing it.  Replacing your water heater often occurs when an aging unit fails, causing a small crisis when water is leaking or cold water is your only option until your new unit is installed.  That process can create a hiccup in your daily routine since you have to coordinate a technician to diagnose, propose a replacement quote, order equipment and schedule installation. In addition, there is now one more step to consider.  Manufacturers have recently changed the standard sizing, increasing the dimensions due to EPA increased energy efficiency requirements.  This can be a challenge for homeowners with limited space or access to existing water heaters.  Gas water heaters are now about 2 inches larger in diameter bringing it to about 22 inches.  Most attic accesses are 22 ½” wide not including the frame.  The height has increased about 4-6 inches.  The best plan is to have a professional assess the specifications of your existing water heater and access, identify if it is gas or electric and measure the dimensions of your space to determine if a newly manufactured unit will fit.  Then you can have a proactive quote for planning.  With new dimensions on the market, the existing water pipe and exhaust connections may not match up.  If it will not, it is recommended to prepare your closet or attic access for the new water heater dimensions.  Kellam Mechanical has seen some applications where modifications to attic eaves, removing attic access frames, re-venting and re-piping were required to allow room for the new equipment.  The manufacturers do not produce the units as small as the older models anymore and are no longer available to purchase.

The good news is energy-efficient technology has advanced so take advantage of welcomed savings when selecting a new water heater for your home.   Tankless water heaters also provide a solution since they are smaller in size.  Tankless water heaters deliver exceptional efficiency and since it heats water as used, not stored, there is an eternal supply of hot water.  They also last about 20 years compared to the conventional water heater’s life expectancy of 10 – 15 years.  Repairs are historically fewer, parts are easier to replace and the tankless model is less likely to leak.  Its design is small, a welcomed space saver.  Energy Star reports that tankless water heaters can deliver up to 34% energy savings using 86 gallons less daily equaling approximately $95 annual savings and $1,800 over the lifetime of the equipment.

 Water heaters are not the only appliance with larger dimensions…washing machines and refrigerators are on that list also, forcing homeowners to modify their laundry and kitchen spaces.  I speak from experience, I just purchased a new washing machine in a few weeks ago and it does NOT fit in my beautiful custom built cabinets. So, my cabinet rebuild starts now.  It seems bigger is better these days.

When scheduling your water heater repair or replacement, turn to a licensed and insured contractor.  Kellam Mechanical dispatches NATE certified professionals to deliver code compliant service.  Replacement quotes are free.

Click to schedule repair or replacement quote or call 757-430-0358 right now!