Hot water heaters are usually found in the attic or garage, and when it’s time to replace one, homeowners can choose where they want it placed. There are advantages to both spots, but many expert plumbers recommend the water heater be installed in the garage, if possible. There are several reasons for this, including:
Greater likelihood of avoiding a catastrophe –
Hot water heaters are rated to last around a decade, and while it’s true that hot water heaters are durable pieces of technology, they should be flushed out and inspected yearly for sediment buildup and signs of wear. This preventative maintenance may avoid a potential disaster before it occurs.
In rare cases, though, even consistent maintenance won’t prevent a water heater from giving out, and when the heater fails, it can release a significant amount of water. If water is released into the garage, it may not do any damage at all. If the water heater is in the attic, though, the outcome could be devastating. This may be extremely uncommon, but you can minimize the effects of severe water damage by installing the heater in the garage.
Leaks are less problematic in the garage –
It’s not just the rare water-related disaster that homeowners must be aware of. Slow, steady leaks are also a long term problem for houses, especially in the humid Houston climate. If the drain pan is overflowing or if a valve springs a leak, that water will run downhill and eventually contact drywall in the ceiling. Drywall willingly absorbs water and, because it is an organic material, it is a target for hungry mold colonies. In fact, within 48 hours of exposure, wet drywall can become a mold-growing zone.
If a water heater in the garage starts leaking, there’s a good chance that it won’t do much damage, if any, to nearby drywall. The concrete floor may be stained, but it won’t be completely compromised like drywall would be.
Easier to perform maintenance –
Most homeowners don’t go into their attics very often, and if the hot water heater is up there, chances are it hasn’t been thought of or inspected in quite some time. Attics are also a challenge to crawl around and work in, especially during the sweltering Houston heat.
Place the water heater in the garage and it will be much easier for technicians to get in and out, and you’ll be able to spot obvious issues like leaks sooner. Some maintenance will cost more if the technician has to crawl into and out of the attic, especially if anything needs to be hauled in or out.
There are downsides to a garage installation, but as long as the water heater is placed by an expert, they can be mitigated. It is important to install the heater in a place that vehicles are unlikely to contact, to prevent damage to the unit. The water heater will also need to be elevated, to avoid uncontrolled ignition of flammable gases or fluids. This is something that an experienced plumber can easily handle.
Signs That It Is Time To Get a Hot Water Heater Inspected
For most homeowners, the water heater isn’t moving until it needs to be replaced. It’s important, then, to know when your water heater is struggling, and may be nearing the end of its useful life. Here are some obvious signs that the water heater needs a checkup:
- It’s making a lot of noise – It’s not uncommon for a water heater to make a modest amount of noise. It takes considerable force to route water throughout the building. If there’s a lot of noise, particularly banging or cracking, coming from the heater, that could mean mineral sediment is building up in the tank. This can cause the heater to overheat, and that should be addressed immediately. In many cases, all that’s needed is a cleaning and a flush, but only if the issue is corrected right away.
- Temperature or pressure is inconsistent – The water heater is responsible for both water pressure and temperature, so if either is a problem, the heater may be the culprit. If water temperature is unreliable, then there could be mineral buildup around the heating elements. If the pressure is off, mineral buildup could be blocking water flow. In both cases, you’ll need a technician to resolve the problem.
- Water quality is suddenly poor – Water can look or taste bad, and both could be a glaring sign that your water heater is in need of maintenance or replacement. If there is a metallic taste to the water, there may be corrosion eating away at the pipes and liberating metal particles. If this is only a problem with hot water, that is typically a telltale sign that the water heater is to blame. If the water is cloudy, that is a sign of mineral buildup which is, again, something a technician will need to correct.
Your hot water heater is one of the home’s most important appliances, so regular maintenance is essential. It’s easier to keep that maintenance on schedule when the heater is installed in the garage, but if your hot water heater is in the attic, it’s even more imperative to call a reputable professional for regular maintenance and inspection.