7 Signs Your Water Heater Needs Repair

Water heaters are a frequently overlooked appliance. Unless your faucets are suddenly spouting ice-cold water, you might not notice that anything is wrong. However, there can be a lot going on behind the scenes. Most water heaters fail slowly, and there can be some subtle warning signs that something is happening. If you want to catch any water heater problems as soon as possible, you need to keep an eye out for these potential problems.

1. Weird Smells Coming From Your Water Fixtures

If you notice a strange smell in your home, your water heater is probably the last place you'll check. However, it can actually be the source of many unpleasant odors. A smell like rotten eggs, metal, or sulfur can indicate that something is going wrong. If you realize that these odors occur every time you use hot water, it's time to check out your tank.

Inside every water heater is an anode rod that's meant to slow corrosion. However, certain types of anaerobic bacteria that may cause unusual smells in your water tank can interact poorly with the anode rod material. If you don't want the rod to break down too quickly, you need to act fast. To address the issue, homeowners will need to both clean their entire tank and replace their anode rod.

2. Signs of Water Damage Near Your Heater

If your tank is older or damaged, leaks can eventually occur. However, a leaking water tank isn't always as obvious as a giant stream of water spouting out from the container. Many tank leaks develop slowly, so you might just have a few drops of water seeping out. In addition to puddles or damp spots near the tank, you need to keep an eye out for more subtle signs.

Any smell of dampness, mildew or mold around the tank can be a sign of abnormal humidity. Leaks can also look like discolored patches on the ground or walls near the tank. Though a leaky water heater sounds ominous, it's sometimes fairly easy to address. You may just need a technician to replace a few valves or patch a seam.

3. Hot Water That Never Seems to Last

Not all water heaters quit heating water when they need maintenance. In some cases, damage to your tank just causes your heater to heat less water or heat it more slowly. When this happens, you'll find that your hot water runs out quickly. Though you may have plenty of warm water when you turn on a faucet, you might notice that it's getting cold after a single shower.

There are a few different problems that can cause this issue. In very old tanks, the issue can simply be sediment buildup. Sediment accumulates slowly in your tank from all the minerals within your water. If you don't flush your tank regularly, it can end up taking up space that should've been used to store hot water. You can also have problems if the burners in your water heater are broken. Though they can still warm water, they might not be transferring heat as efficiently as they used to.

4. Gritty or Discolored Water

Corrosion is an inevitable problem in any hot water heater tank. A sacrificial anode rod is supposed to attract all the corrosion within the tank. However, if you don't replace the anode rod once it is fully corroded, the corrosive minerals in the water will start eating away at your tank. Once your tank is rusting, your water will start to look a little strange.

Typically, a corroding tank will cause water to look rusty or muddy. You might also see small chunks of sediment that make your water feel gritty. When this happens, you need to act fast. Getting a plumber to replace your anode rod and fix any corroded spots will keep your tank from experiencing further damage.

5. Water That Feels Unpleasantly Hot

Not all broken water heaters cause chilly water. In some cases, a broken water heater can actually become too hot. If your water is scalding hot even when your temperature settings are low, something is malfunctioning within your unit. The piping hot water can end up making your whole unit break because various components degrade faster at high heat levels.

An overheated water heater is typically due to problems like a stuck valve or a faulty thermostat. In some cases, it can also mean that your heating element is failing and is stuck in an "on" position. Whatever the cause, this problem needs to be addressed as soon as you can. Not only can overheating break your tank, but it's also dangerous. Members of your household can face unpleasant burns when your water heater is too hot.

6. Weird Sounds Coming From Your Water Heater

Every functioning water heater makes a noise now and then. As the burners turn on and off, you might hear some cracks. It's also normal to hear small gurgles as water moves in and out of the tank. However, any abnormal sounds are cause for concern. If you are hearing crackling, popping, or banging, you should get your tank checked.

Most strange sounds come from sediment accumulation. When there is too much sediment, your water heater can make a sizzling or crackling noise as it heats up. Sometimes, it can even cause mini explosions that sound like a loud knock or pop. Other times, sounds may be caused by a problem with your pressure-reducing valve. Imbalanced pressure levels can lead to ticking or even whistling.

7. Water That's Never Hot Enough

A lukewarm shower can be more than a mild inconvenience. If your water heater used to warm up just fine but your hot water suddenly feels lackluster, it can be a sign that something's wrong. In some cases, the issue is just that your temperature settings were adjusted incorrectly. However, when your water still feels a little cool on the highest setting, something else is going wrong.

It is possible that a heating element is starting to die, but in many cases, there is another culprit. Sometimes, it just means that a coat of sediment is covering your heating element. Lukewarm water is also frequently caused by a broken dip tube. The dip tube is supposed to help fresh, cold water circulate in the tank properly. If it breaks, cold water can flow out before it is fully warmed. Fortunately, repairing a dip tube is usually quick and affordable.

Local Experts at Your Service

If you notice any of these warning signs, it's essential to seek help as soon as possible. Getting your water heater fixed promptly can prevent small issues from turning into major problems, and nobody wants to live without hot water for an extended period of time. At TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we are happy to provide water heater maintenance and repair solutions. Our plumbers will examine your system, explain what's wrong, and offer affordable options for correcting it. In fact, we provide a complete range of plumbing services. Our technicians also perform expert heating, cooling, and indoor air quality equipment installation, repair, and maintenance throughout the Plainfield, IL area. To learn more about all we offer, contact us at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today.

How to Determine What Size Water Heater My Home Needs?

Tips for Choosing the Right Size Water Heater for Your Home

Sizing a water heater for your Plainfield, Illinois, home is not always easy. Your water heater will last a decade or more, representing a sizable financial investment. You want to avoid the common mistakes people make when sizing their water heater so that you can have sufficient hot water for your home for years to come.

Avoiding Common Mistakes When Sizing a Water Heater for Your Home

A common mistake homeowners make when they try to size a water heater for their home is over-sizing or under-sizing it.

If you undersize your water heater, you will run out of hot water as you shower, wash your laundry, or do other daily activities. For example, a 30-gallon water heater for a family of five is generally considered to provide 50% of the water heating capacity you need.

Getting a unit that is too big means you will waste a lot of energy heating water you will not use. For example, 60 gallons of water for a family of two is about one-third more water heating capacity than you need. Getting a unit that is too big means you will spend hundreds of dollars on the unit itself and waste valuable space in your home.

The key to avoiding these mistakes is having your water heater sized adequately by experienced HVAC and plumbing professionals like TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Our team will meet with you, evaluate your water heating needs, and help you find a unit that will work well for you today and for years.

Factors to Consider When Sizing a Water Heater

Because of how important it is for you to get the right size water heater, you want to consider all the factors that affect hot water use in your home. This includes the size of the home or building you need hot water for, the number of people in the family or the number of people occupying the building, and your estimated peak hot water hourly demand.

You must be familiar with water heater capacity and peak hour hot water demand. This will make it easier for you to understand tables with water heater sizes based on building occupancy.

What Is Water Heater Capacity Rating?

Water heating capacity rating is a critical metric that helps technicians adequately size the water heater for your home or commercial building. You may see 30-gallon, 50-gallon, or 60-gallon heaters, which refer to water heaters' capacity ratings, or in other words, the amount of hot water a water heater can produce within the first hour if you start with a full tank of water.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) makes it easy to identify the water heater capacity rating because they mandate that this information be included on the EnergyGuide label.

A general guideline for water heater in sizing is First Hour Rating (Heater Capacity) ≤ Peak Hour Demand (usually one hour when you shower). Your water heater should be large enough to provide one hour of hot water for a shower.

You can think about this in practical terms. Let's say in the morning, from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. that three people need to take a shower. According to US Energy Saver, a typical shower uses 20 gallons of hot water. In this scenario, you will need a 60-gallon water heater or larger.

After the first hour of usage, when the tank starts full of hot water, you have to think about other factors when determining how efficient the hot water tank would be. These include tank capacity, heat source, and size of heat source.

A water heater will produce less hot water in its second and third hours compared to its first hour, starting with a full hot water tank. For example, if you start with a 50-gallon water heater, you will enjoy 50 gallons of hot water during the first hour. However, during the second hour, depending on the heat source and the size of the heat source, you may get between 16 and 20 gallons of hot water because the heating element has to work to reheat the water in the tank.

How to Determine Your Peak Hour Demand

Determining the peak hour demand for your water heater is a crucial step. To do this, try to estimate the amount of hot water you will require when your family uses the most water. This is typically when everybody takes a shower. This is the size water heater you should purchase. You may want to add a couple of gallons for when someone might take an exceptionally long shower, etc.

Although this is not set in stone, general water heating needs based on the size of a family are as follows:

  • A family of one needs 25 gallons.
  • A family of two needs 35 gallons.
  • A family of three needs 45 gallons.
  • A family of four needs 55 gallons.
  • A family of five needs 65 gallons.
  • A family of six needs 75 gallons.

Calculating all the everyday activities that require hot water that your family engages in simultaneously is vital. For example, you can factor in 20 gallons per shower, three gallons for washing your hands, 5 gallons for brushing your teeth, 25 gallons for washing clothes in a washing machine, and around two gallons for shaving.

For example, let's say you have a family of four in a house with two bathrooms. From 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., three people will shower, one person will shave, and everyone will brush their teeth. During the peak hour, you have 60 gallons for the three showers, two gallons for shaving, and four gallons for brushing your teeth, which would be 64 gallons of hot water usage during peak hours.

You will need a water heater that has a minimum 64-gallon capacity. It is preferable to overshoot and get a 70-gallon water heater instead of a 60-gallon water heater. An 80-gallon heater will mean wasted space, wasted money spent on the unit, and unnecessary energy to heat water that you probably will not use.

The three fundamental principles to remember when sizing a water heater are the size of the family, the average use of hot water per person, and a baseline of 15 to 20 gallons of water for maintaining and cleaning the house. By sticking to these three basic principles, our team of technicians at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing will find the right size water heater for your home.

HVAC and Plumbing Problems Solved Right the First Time in Plainfield, Illinois

At TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we are experienced HVAC technicians and plumbers who have served the greater Chicago area for nearly two decades. We are members of ACCA, and our technicians are NATE-certified. We pride ourselves on offering emergency service and straightforward pricing.

Our services include HVAC repair, installation, and maintenance. We offer radiant heating services, burst pipe repair, drain cleaning, bathroom remodeling, slab leak repair, gas leak detection, and more. Contact TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today to enjoy no-hassle service.

Is Forced-air or Radiant Heating the Best Option for Your Home?

Winters in Plainville, Illinois can drop well below zero. Several weeks of these temperatures explain why people are willing to spend a lot of money yearly on heating their homes.

Finding the most cost-effective heating system for your home will depend on the availability of fuel types in your area, your budget, and your personal preferences. The most common choices are natural gas, oil, propane, electricity, and wood.

Two common ways to distribute heat through the home are forced air heating and radiant heating. Here are some factors that can help you decide which one of these two heating processes is best for your home.

A Description of a Typical Forced-air Heating System

A forced-air heating system is a system that uses a blower to carry warmth throughout your home. Homes with central heating systems push warm air through a ductwork system.

A furnace is usually located at the center of the home or in the basement. Standard forced-air heating fuels include natural gas, electricity, and oil.

The Pros and Cons of Forced-air Heating Systems

One of the biggest pros of a forced-air heating system is that the same ductwork can be used to cool the home. The system works by pulling in air from the house, passing the air through a series of filters that improve the quality of the air, and then redistributing the warm air in the home. Central forced-air heating circulates air throughout the house, promoting healthy airflow.

The downside of a forced-air heating system is that it is prone to air leakage, which reduces efficiency. Uneven air distribution can happen if the system is not adequately sized or installed. Blowing air around in the home can stir up dirt, particulates, and allergens. And, finally, a forced-air heating system can be noisy to operate.

After mentioning a few cons associated with a forced-air heating system, you must know that the biggest downside of it is heat loss. The air from the furnace and air handler must travel through several metal tubes to reach its destination. This means that there are multiple opportunities for the hot air to leak out, even if there is a tiny opening in the ducts. In most homes, the ductwork travels through unheated attics or basements, increasing heat loss.

Another downside of forced-air heating is that since heat rises, higher levels of the home are warmer than the basement or first level. Additionally, you must run the furnace and heat the whole house to warm the basement or one room.

If a home does not already have air ducts, you will need to install them before using a central heating system. Installing a mini-split system could be more cost-effective to install in a home without an existing system of ducts. However, replacing parts on a mini-split system can be very expensive.

What Is Radiant Heating?

Radiant floor heating heats a surface directly using touch to transfer energy. Radiant heating is produced using electricity, air, or hot water directly contacting the surface it is installed in.

The produced heat is transferred to objects and people in the room via infrared radiation. In most cases, radiant heating is installed beneath the floor to heat the entire home.

The Pros and Cons of Radiant Heating

Radiant heating adds supplemental heat to rooms that are not adequately heated with a forced-air system. One of its biggest pluses is that radiant heat eliminates inefficient heat loss since warmth is not distributed through the air.

Radiant heating systems are allergy friendly compared to forced-air systems, which can distribute allergens throughout the house. When comparing the two heating sources, radiant heating is a lot quieter, more efficient, and allows you to adjust the heat level in individual rooms using a programmable thermostat.

You get the ability to customize a room’s comfort level independently of the rest of the house while at the same time saving significant amounts of money on energy. There is no point in heating rooms in the home that are not being used.

One of the biggest cons of radiant heating is the expense, especially if you install it in the whole house. Another downside is that radiant heating provides heat but does not condition the air.

Since radiant heating is installed underneath the floor, it isn't easy to access when it is time for repairs or maintenance. When adequately installed, electric floor heating requires little to no maintenance. If maintenance is needed, our technicians at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing have the troubleshooting tools and expertise to make the repair process not as overwhelming as it once was.

The Cost of Forced-air Heating Versus Radiant Heating

Radiant heating is more efficient, making it less expensive to operate. The price you will spend per square foot of radiant heating will depend on the size of the room or the size of the home you are looking to heat. When you talk to our technicians at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we can evaluate your home and provide you with an estimate of potential radiant heating costs. Depending on the size of your home, installing radiant heating could mean a significant financial investment. However, you could recoup some of your initial investment through utility savings each month over the long term.

Forced-air systems are also economical to install, especially if the home already has a ductwork system. If maintenance is needed, repairing a furnace is usually less expensive than repairing radiant heating, as the technicians can easily access the unit to make needed repairs. With radiant heating, technicians will need to rip open the floor to access the components that need to be repaired.

Radiant Heating Versus Forced-air: Which Is Right for Your Home?

Several factors need to be considered when answering this question. Radiant heating systems are likely your best bet if the sky is the limit with your budget. Radiant heating offers even and energy-efficient heating.

You want to consider the upfront costs versus the operational costs of radiant heating versus forced-air heating. Think about the systems' versatility, your personal indoor air quality needs, and the level of comfort you want.

Deciding on a heating system for your home can be stressful, especially since it is a significant financial investment. Our team of experienced technicians and installers at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing will be happy to take the time to evaluate your current system and your home to help you determine which heating system is best for your budget and your household.

Trusted Plumbing and HVAC Services in Plainfield, Illinois

Our experienced, licensed technicians and plumbers have served the greater Chicago area since the early 2000s. As a family-owned company, we have generations of experience providing emergency service, offering straightforward pricing, and using the latest technology. We are members of the ACCA, and our technicians are NATE certified.

Our services include HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance, as well as indoor air quality services. We offer burst pipe repair, clogged toilet repair, water leak detection, gas leak detection, and more. Contact TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today to learn more about our unique products and services.

Everything You Need to Know About SharkBite Fittings

When it comes to plumbing, there are a lot of different fittings that can be used. If you're a plumber, you likely know that SharkBite fittings are the way to go. But why are they so popular? What makes them better than other fittings? Keep reading to learn the reasons why most plumbers use SharkBite fittings.

SharkBite Fittings Are Quick and Easy to Use

One of the most significant benefits of using SharkBite fittings is that they are quick and easy to use. Unlike other fittings, installing them doesn't require special tools or training. The plumber simply needs a wrench, and they can quickly tighten or loosen the fitting as needed. This makes them perfect for emergencies that require the plumber to quickly fix a leak.

SharkBite Fittings Seal the Pipes

SharkBite fittings provide a tight seal because the fitting bites into the pipe, creating a snug fit. This prevents leaks and protects the home from water damage. Suppose a regular fitting was to loosen: It could cause a lot of water to leak out, leading to damage to the home. On the other hand, the SharkBite fittings provide a much more secure connection that is less likely to come loose.

There's No Need for Soldering

Soldering is a common plumbing technique that involves using a torch to heat metal pipes so that they can be joined together. However, it can be dangerous and is not always necessary. With SharkBite fittings, soldering is unnecessary because the fitting bites into the pipe, making the whole process much safer and more accessible.

SharkBite Fittings Are Durable

SharkBite fittings are made from high-quality materials that withstand a lot of wear and tear. This means they will last for many years, even with heavy use.

They're Easy to Find

The plumber can purchase them online or at the local hardware store. This makes them convenient and accessible for everyone.

SharkBite Fittings Are Affordable

SharkBite fittings are also very affordable, making them a substantial option for those who want to save money on their plumbing needs.

SharkBite Fittings Are Versatile

SharkBite fittings can be used on various pipes, including copper, PVC, and PEX, making them perfect for any plumbing project the plumber may have. For instance, if the plumber is replacing their client's old copper pipes with new PVC pipes, the plumber can use SharkBite fittings to connect them.

They Can Be Installed on Wet Lines

Unlike most regular fittings, SharkBite fittings can be installed on wet lines even under full flow. This is why they're recommended when the plumbers have urgent repairs to work on.

How Do SharkBite Fittings Work?

SharkBite fittings are a type of push-fit fitting. They are designed for copper, PEX, CPVC, and PE-RT pipe and tubing. The fitting has two jaws that grip the pipe when it is inserted. A release collar on the fitting allows you to remove the pipe if necessary. The jaws of the fitting bite down on the pipe when you insert it and create a seal. This seal is what prevents leaks.

Factors to Consider When Getting SharkBite Fittings

Plumbers keep several things in mind when choosing the right SharkBite fitting for the project, including size, material, price, installation, and return policy. Let us explain.

The Size of the Fitting

When choosing a SharkBite fitting, it is vital to consider the size of the fitting. The plumber must ensure that the fitting is the right size for your pipe. If it is too small, it will not create a tight seal and may leak. It will be challenging to install if it is too large and may not bite into the pipe properly.

The best way to choose the right size fitting is to measure the outer diameter of the pipe and compare it to the sizing chart provided by the manufacturer.

The Material of the Pipe

The plumber must ensure that the fitting is compatible with the type of pipe they are using. If they use a different type of pipe, they will need a different type of fitting. It is important to remember that SharkBite fittings are incompatible with galvanized steel pipes. If the plumber uses this type of pipe, they will need to use a different type of fitting.

The Price

The price of the SharkBite fitting is also an essential factor to consider. The plumber will need to make sure that they choose an affordable fitting that fits within their client's budget. SharkBite fittings are generally more expensive than other fittings, but they are worth the investment because they are durable and easy to use.

The plumber can find SharkBite fittings at the local hardware store or online. When shopping online, comparing prices from different retailers is essential to ensure that the plumber is getting the best deal. It is also important to keep in mind that the fitting price will vary depending on the size and material of the fitting. The larger and more durable the fitting is, the more expensive it will be.

The Installation

The installation of the SharkBite fitting is also an essential factor to consider. The plumber will need to make sure they choose a fitting that is easy to install. SharkBite fittings are designed to be installed quickly and easily. Most kits have everything the plumber needs to install the fitting, including a template and instructions.

It is key to remember that the fitting installation may vary depending on the size and material of the fitting. The larger and more durable the fitting is, the more difficult it will be to install. If the plumber is unfamiliar with how to install a SharkBite fitting, it may be necessary to enlist help from other plumbers with the required experience.

The Warranty

The warranty of the SharkBite fitting is also an important factor to consider. The plumber will need to ensure that they choose a fitting with a warranty so that their client is covered if the fitting breaks or leaks.

The Return Policy

The return policy of the store the plumber purchases the SharkBite fitting from is also essential. The plumber will need to make sure that they choose a store that has a good return policy. This will ensure that they are able to return the fitting if it does not meet their expectations.

Your Trusted Plumbing Team

Plumbing is vital to any home, and choosing the right fittings for your needs is important. SharkBite fittings are an excellent option for many plumbers, so it is essential to consider them when deciding. It would be best to consult a professional plumber to get advice for your home plumbing needs.

TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is a full-service plumbing, heating, and cooling company serving Plainfield, IL, and the surrounding areas. We are a family-owned and -operated business dedicated to providing our customers with the best possible service.

Our plumbers are licensed and insured, and our work is guaranteed. We offer various services, including plumbing repairs, installations, and replacements. We also offer a wide range of products, including SharkBite fittings.

If you are in need of a plumbing or heating/cooling service, don't hesitate to get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you!

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