Cold Water Temperature and What It Can Do To Your Water Heater

It's Fall here in Arlington, Virginia. As the leaves change color and the temperature cools down, the ground temperature below the surface also drops down. Your water heater now has to work that much harder to heat the water entering your home. With an increase of energy being used to achieve the same result of 120 degree water, our water heaters are less efficient in the winter.

Arlingtons water is supplied by the Potomac River and treated by The Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant. After treatment it is dispersed via an enormous system of underground water pipes, hydrants, and valves, eventually making its way to our homes.

The frost line in Virginia is 18”, and the building code requires these water lines to be buried at least an additional 6”, or 24” in total. Though water pipes are not subject to freezing at depths of 24” or greater in Virginia, they are still subjected to temperature changes. Water inlet temperature in Virginia changes roughly 15-20 degrees throughout the year.

With colder temperatures on the horizon, we can expect our water heaters to be working harder as well. We see more water heaters break during the winter than any other season.

Example of a common failure,

Water heater is filled with sediment, the water heater has to heat through the sediment for the thermostat to recognize it has satisfied temperature, instead it overheats and starts dripping from the temperature & pressure relief valve. You walk into your basement and there's a pool of water on the floor!

As a homeowner, here's what you can do!

Maintenance, at least twice a year, flush your water heater. Sediment builds up in the bottom of tanks, eventually leading to internal parts failing or the tanks rusting through. Flushing a water heater is a simple task but should be done with caution. Always know where your main water shut off is to your home.

On electric water heaters, you can replace your heating elements. There are typically two heating elements on residential water heaters. They tend to become corroded over time and eventually fail, resulting in limited amounts of, or no hot water.

Keep an eye on your water heater, look out for visual signs of damage, signs of burning, water leaking, pipe discoloration. Burning around the top of the water heater could be a sign of improper venting. Water heaters primarily leak from the T&P valve or through the bottom of the tank, these are the first places to look for issues!

CALL US - We can verify that your heater is operating as it should and producing the correct temperature of water. There are many variables to consider when checking out the health of a water heater; is it a gas or electric heater, naturally drafted or power vent? We are extremely experienced in dealing with Water Heaters in Arlington, VA, including tankless water heaters. If you think your heater has an issue, give us a call today before you're sure it has an issue.

Call B.L. James & Son

The B.L. James & Son team likes to move quick and reply to customer inquiries the same business day. Once we troubleshoot the issue, estimates are provided the same day or by the end of the next day. Our work begins the moment you call, and since we’re open 24 hours a day there’s no reason to wait. Call B.L. James & Son anytime, we’ll be there to help.

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