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The Invention of the Water Heater, and 4 Things You Should Know About Yours

bathtub-890227_1280The first time water was able to be heated in a home was in 1868 when a London painter discovered he could heat his water by placing gas burners under his water pipes. Prior to that, there was no hot water to wash dishes, take showers or do laundry. Luckily Norwegian engineer Edwin Ruud heard about the painter’s discovery and used that information to create the first water heater. Ruud brought his invention to Pittsburgh, where word spread fast that water heaters could be sold and installed in homes across the country and eventually the world. We owe a big thanks to both of these gentleman each time we step into a nice warm bathtub full of water!

Now that we’ve told you about the water heater’s origin, let’s take a look at a few things you should know about yours.

Reducing Energy Use

Water heaters use ¼ of the total energy in your home, and most Americans use between 80 to 120 gallons of hot water every year. If you want to keep your energy bill down, run the dishwasher only when it’s full. And as much as we all love a hot bath, don’t take them all the time. Instead, take brief shower on most days instead of filling up the tub.

Increasing A Water Heater’s Life-Span

A traditional water heater usually lasts between eight to ten years. You can tell when your water heater is in need of a repair or a replacement, as the hot water tends to run out more quickly or takes longer to heat up. You should have a trusted Frederick County plumbing company check your water heater if it takes a long time for water to heat. Water from a bad water heater may also appear brown and have a metallic taste.

Ensuring Safety With the Right Temperature

According to energy.gov, 120 degrees is the safest temperature to keep your water heater. Try to keep your water heater between 120 and 140 degrees in order to save money and minimize risk of burns, as it only takes five seconds to suffer a severe third-degree burn if you come into contact with water hotter than 140 degrees.

Maintaining Your Water Heater

It’s hard to remember to maintain a water heater since you don’t look in your basement or closet often, but it’s important to take care of  your water heater to make it last as long as possible. Your tank water should be emptied and refilled periodically to remove buildup of sediment, and a knowledgeable plumber from Putman Plumbing can inspect your water heater for leaks or odd smells or sounds.

Putman Plumbing Knows Water Heaters

We’ve fixed hundreds of water heater problems and installed hundreds of new units. If you hear any funny sounds or don’t feel like your water is hot enough, let us know. Some Middletown homeowners who want to reduce energy bills are switching to tankless water heaters which heat water only at the point of use, and we can tell you if going tankless would benefit your bills. We’d love to help.