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Water Heaters: Is it Time for an Inspection?

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Water heaters are a marvel of modern technology. One could argue that without the invention of water heaters and the availability of hot water on demand, humans may still be living in the stone age. Do you have an older model water heater that you'd like to have inspected for safety? Are you purchasing a home and need a full inspection, including an assessment of the water heater? 

Water heater inspection is one of the services provided by Brian Ross, certified professional home inspector with Details Home Inspections LLC in Vancouver WA. 

Maybe you're considering replacing your old water heating unit and aren't sure the options available now? Take a moment and read through this article to learn a bit about the different options and the pros and cons of each. 

There are four basic types of water heaters: solar, heat pump, tankless, and tank-style. 

Solar Water Heaters use energy from the sun to heat water. There are active and passive styles of solar water heaters, depending on the type of pump system that they use. A major benefit of purchasing a solar water heater is that they're long-lived, often lasting upwards of 20 years. A downside of a solar unit is that you'll likely need a backup option for days without adequate sunshine. Additionally, solar units are usually quite expensive and difficult and complicated to set up. 

Heat Pump Water Heaters move heat rather than actually generating it. The unit pulls heat from the surrounding air and dumps it into the tank of water. Because they do not have to generate the heat themselves, these types of water heaters are 2-3x more efficient than gas or electric water heaters. The cost of these types of units is also very high and they're very dependent on location and installation expertise. Additionally, heat pump units can create a large added demand on your HVAC system. 

Tankless Water Heaters use modern technology to heat water directly on demand, without storing large quantities of hot water in a tank. These units are significantly smaller than traditional tank-style water heaters and have a long lifespan of approximately 20 years. This style water heater is generally 3-5 times as expensive as a traditional tank-style water heater and requires an expert installation. 

Tank-Style Water Heaters are the most common and get their name from having a tank, usually 30-50 gallons, of water that the unit keeps constantly hot for ready use in the home. These come in two styles: electric or natural gas. Tank-style water heaters are cheaper to purchase and install than other options, but use a fair amount of energy to keep the water constantly hot and suffer from standby heat loss.

Depending on the type of water heater that you've got, its lifespan can vary greatly. If you're purchasing a home and aren't sure the age of the water heater, consider giving us a call at Details Home Inspections at 360-823-3034. We can perform a full home inspection and provide a detailed and unbiased report so that you can know what to expect in regard to maintenance and/or repair needs for the home, including the water heater.

Don't wait until your old water heater springs a leak and floods your garage. If your water heater is a decade old or more, or you're not sure its age, contact us today at Details Home Inspections. We'll be happy to pay you a visit and give our professional opinion on your water heater in Vancouver Washington. Like and follow our Facebook Page for more tips and up to date information.

*This article is indebted to the Pacific Heating & Cooling Blog.

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