What To Know About Installing or Replacing Your Water Heater in Allentown PA
Water heaters, which range from storage tank-type to tankless/on-demand heaters, are commonplace in modern homes. The most popular sources of power for such heaters include electricity, gas, solar energy, heat pumps, or hybrids or these fuels. Unlike traditional heaters, the majority of modern heaters are fuel-efficient. In fact, most carry an Energy Star mark, which is particularly good news to environmentally conscious homeowners. This is in addition to accessories such as pressure regulators and timers that you can use to reduce energy consumption/costs further. However, a water heater, just like any mechanical device/equipment, will eventually breakdown due to wear and tear, and require repairs or replacement at some point. With that in mind, this guide will take you through various aspects involved in any Allentown water heater replacement.
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Typical water heater replacement costs for 50 gallon heaters
The cost of a 50-gallon gas heater ranges anywhere from $300 to $1,500. Take note this this includes the cost of buying a new heater, hiring a plumber, and cost of repairs that conform to local/state building codes. If you would like to replace an electric heater, expect costs to range anywhere from $400 to $3,000. Finally, a solar-powered heater will set you back anywhere from $800 to $3,000. Once again, these prices are inclusive of the installation costs. In general, you should set aside about $2,000 to cover the costs of installing a new heater. If you have to install a new heater at home, do not necessarily go for the cheapest one. According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), cheap heating units tend to be expensive to operate. This is because factors such as fuel type, size, and energy efficiency play a big role in determining the monthly or annual water heating costs.
3 reasons why you should consider a tankless water heater
Traditionally, homeowners installed storage tank-type water heaters. However, tankless heaters have become increasingly popular in recent years. There are three main reasons why this is so. Firstly, tankless heaters are more energy-efficient. Remember, storage tank-type heaters hold a lot of water, which is constantly heated. This translates to increased energy consumption and costs at the end of the month. In comparison, tankless heaters supply hot water on-demand. As a result, they use less energy translating to significant savings at the end of the month. Figures published by the DOE show that tankless heaters could translate into energy savings of between 24 and 34% per day.
Secondly, tankless heaters generally last longer compared to storage tank-type heaters. According to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, traditional water heaters have a lifespan of about 6 to 12 years. This means you should start thinking about purchasing and installing a new heater after about six years or so. In comparison, the 2008 Consumer Reports study found that tankless heaters can last 20 years or more. This means you do not have to worry about hiring a plumber to remove and install a new heater every six years or so. Thirdly, a tankless heater is not going to run out of hot water while you are taking a shower. It is worth noting that a storage tank¬-type water heater can run out of hot water after two or more people take a shower.
What to expect during a professional water heater installation job
This process typically begins with the delivery of a new heater. Secondly, the professional (technician) you have hired will inspect your existing heater and location to determine what needs to be done to install a new one. This includes the acquisition of relevant permits. At this point, it is worth noting that building permits are governed by local municipalities and cities. This means an inspector would have to visit your home to review the installation of a new heater. Local authorities take this step to ensure new installations are safe and are in line with state/city plumbing codes. Thirdly, your plumber will disconnect existing heater from fuel source/s and water, remove it, and clear the space.
Fourthly, the technician will install the new heater and reconnect it to fuel source and water mains. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, it is advisable to have water heaters strapped to nearby walls. You can buy the special straps required to secure heaters at local plumbing stores. A water heater stand may be necessary if you are installing a gas-powered heater to reduce the risk of fire in the event of flammable fuels spilling. Fifthly, your plumber will test the new heater to ensure it is working as expected. For example, if you have installed a gas-powered heater, it is advisable to apply dishwashing liquid over joints. If bubbles develop, this shows the connection is not airtight and requires tightening or replacing. Make sure every piece of plumbing or electrical wiring is working properly. Sixthly, call an inspector to review your plumber’s workmanship. Finally, allow your plumber to clean-up the worksite and remove existing unit for disposal.
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Considering attempting to replace your own water heater? Check out this video:
Gas vs. electric water heater replacements: what are the differences?
To start with, a gas-powered heater burns fuels like natural gas to heat water. On the other hand, electric heaters use electricity to heat water. Secondly, gas heaters have a faster recovery rate compared to electric heaters. Recovery rate is the time taken to reheat a given amount of water. According to statistics published by diffen.com, a gas heater can heat a 50-gallon tank of water in one-hour. An electric heater would require several hours to accomplish the same goal. Thirdly, electric units are more expensive to operate over time. This is largely because of high electricity costs compared to cost of buying gas. Figures published by diffen.com show that the 13-year cost of running a gas-powered heater ranges from $5,170 to $5,394. A similar electric-powered heater would cost $6,769 to run over the same period. Fourthly, despite their lower operating costs, gas-powered heaters are inefficient. Unlike electric heaters, gas heaters are prone to substantial heat loss.
Save time on your water heater replacement, hire a pro instead of making it a DIY job
In some cases, homeowners opt to take the DIY approach in a bid to cut water heater replacement costs. However, this is not wise. To start with, unless you have a solid background in gas appliance installation, hiring an expert is the way to go. Remember you have to disconnect and reconnect fuel sources, water supply pipes, as well as accessories like gas regulators or electric timers. If these reconnections are not done properly, leaking fuel or exposed electrical wiring could cause serious injuries or fatalities.
Secondly, you may not know how to acquire the relevant permits. This is where experts excel because they keep abreast of industry developments such as changes to building codes. Take note amateurish workmanship could have a negative impact on chances of selling your home in the future. Thirdly, the average professional would require about two hours to replace a water heater. If you go the DIY route, you could spend an entire day on the same job. This may force you or someone else to forgo taking a shower.
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In conclusion, if you have to replace a water heater, it is wise to hire a qualified technician for the job. In addition, you should consider purchasing a tankless heater instead of the traditional storage tank-type heaters. A tankless heater is more energy-efficient, lasts longer, and will not run out of hot water as you or someone else is taking a shower. As a rough guide, water heater replacements costs to typically range anywhere from $400 to $3,000.