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How Cold Weather Can Affect Your Water Heater

water heater

How Cold Weather Can Affect Your Water Heater

As a cold winter storm delivers rain showers to the cities of Southern California, nothing beats a nice, hot, steamy shower to start a cold day. That wonderful steam warms your body, but suddenly, you’re the star of your horror film as the hot water issues start. The water gradually starts to get cold, and it’s suddenly a mad dash to finish up and get out!

While many homeowners know that colder weather can adversely affect outdoor faucets and exposed plumbing, a little-known plumbing fact is that frigid weather can also create problems for your water heater. Unfortunately, this fact may not be as clear to Southern California homeowners who are used to a sunny climate year-round. New weather can bring up new problems, and the recent winter storm could be catastrophic to your plumbing and leave your home with lasting consequences.

Ensuring that you take care of your water heater is vital to have proper hot water throughout this cold spell. Knowing the impact colder temperatures have on water heaters is critical if you want to avoid water heater issues.

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Table of Contents

  • How Cold Temperatures Impact Your Hot Water
    • » Pipe Leaks
    • » Water Heater Leaks
    • » Less Hot Water
    • » Higher Energy Bills
    • » Longer Time for Water to Heat Up
  • Should I Adjust the Temperature of My Water Heater?
  • Signs That You Have Water Heater Issues
    • » Mineral and Sediment Build up
    • » Hot Water Shortage
    • » Loud Noises
    • » Age of Hot Water Heater
  • Tips to Prevent a Damaged Water Heater
  • Get Ready For The Cold Spell – Call Gallegos Plumbing

How Cold Temperatures Impact Your Hot Water

Can cold weather affect my hot water heater? Yes, but how exactly can cold temperatures affect the performance of your water heater? Here are some of the ways that your water heater may be affected negatively due to the frigid weather in Southern California:

» Pipe Leaks

A sudden drop in temperature can lead to frozen pipes. These pipes often result in your water heater working harder, which can become a bigger problem if unchecked.

» Water Heater Leaks

Cold temperatures mean that your water heater needs to work harder than usual, which can cause the metal on your water heater to expand and contract, potentially causing damage and eventually leaks. You must be careful, especially if you have an older water heater or your unit is in an unheated home area. If these leaks go undetected, they may slowly leak into your home, causing significant structural damage.

» Less Hot Water

Is your home running out of hot water quickly? Low temperatures can result in your hot water running out quickly. While you can fix this by adjusting the hot water temperature, you still need to call a winter plumbing maintenance specialist to have a look.

» Higher Energy Bills

As mentioned before, cold weather may cause your water heaters to work harder, especially if your water heater is in an unheated area. If your energy bill spikes more than usual during the cold spell, your water heater is the possible culprit.

» Longer Time for Water to Heat Up

Since your pipes can’t freeze during the summer, the water heats up much more quickly. This is because cold water lines tend to draw out heat from your warmed-up water in winter. This also causes fluctuating water temperatures.

Should I Adjust the Temperature of My Water Heater?

While most water heaters tend to come preset at 140 degrees, we usually recommend setting the thermostat to 120 degrees to avoid scalding (especially if you have toddlers) and to save energy.

When the temperature outside drops, 120 degrees may not be high enough to make the showers feel hot. If you’re wondering whether your water heater stopped working in cold weather, we recommend increasing your thermostat setting by 5 or 10 degrees and seeing if it improves your water heater’s performance.

When you turn up the thermostat on a water heater, be cautious about potential scalding, which can occur if you crank up the temperature too high. Test how the water feels at the faucet located the furthest distance from your water heater to check if you found a suitable temperature. Keep tweaking the thermostat setting until you find the perfect temperature.

Signs That You Have Water Heater Issues

Sometimes the water inside your home will get cold for reasons other than the frigid weather. In this case, you may be unable to remedy the issue by turning up the thermostat. Here are some of the most common signs of water heater problems during cold weather:

» Mineral and Sediment Build up

Minerals and sediment deposits tend to accumulate in water heaters over time. Since the deposits restrict water flow for proper heating and draw out the heat produced by the heater, this can result in escalated energy bills, especially in the cold months, when your heater has to work harder.

Consider having all sediments, corrosion, and scale eradicated from your water heater before the cold weather sets in. If you’ve not done so, make it a habit to flush the water heater frequently to prevent any damage, which may result in a water heater replacement.

» Hot Water Shortage

Are you running out of hot water quicker than usual? When water heaters develop issues, they often lose their ability to heat water properly, resulting in shorter showers and less hot water overall.

» Loud Noises

If you hear loud noises when you turn on the shower, it might be because the pipes are frozen and are rapidly defrosting, hence the popping sound. While this problem is most likely to occur in winter, it can also happen at other times for various reasons.

» Age of Hot Water Heater

The average lifespan of a water heater is about 8 to 12 years. If your old water heater is getting to or exceeding this age, it may develop several problems, including decreased efficiency.

The good news is that regularly maintaining your water heater will prolong its life. Be proactive and keep your water tank running smoothly with our Thousand Oaks preventative maintenance services at Gallegos Plumbing.

Also Read: Tips for an Effective Tankless Water Heater Maintenance

Tips to Prevent a Damaged Water Heater

How Cold Weather Can Affect Your Water Heater

So, can we do anything to prevent cold weather water heater damage and leaks during the winter months? Yes, you can prepare your water heater to withstand the colder temperatures and avoid costly repairs or replacements.

Here are some tips to avoid a damaged water heater:

  • If possible, upgrade to a tankless water heater
  • Get professional water heater preventative maintenance
  • Insulate your plumbing pipes
  • Replace old faucet aerators and showerheads
  • Wash your clothes with cold water
  • Please do not run the dishwasher until it is full

Also Read: Questions You Should Ask Before Replacing Your Water Heater

Get Ready For The Cold Spell – Call Gallegos Plumbing

Don’t sit around and wait for the cold weather to damage your water heater. Preventing pipe leaks and high energy bills is essential, so call a Thousand Oaks water heater expert to diagnose and find all areas in your plumbing system that may require attention. Therefore they can help prevent the damage before it even occurs.

If you’re suffering from colder-than-normal water this winter, our team at Gallegos Plumbing can help. We proudly provide water heater maintenance and repair services to home and business owners throughout Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, and the surrounding areas.

If your water heater is outdated and won’t benefit from maintenance, we can also provide water heater replacement services, where we’ll help you find and install the best system for your needs and budget.

For top-quality water heater installation, repairs, and maintenance in Thousand Oaks, call Gallegos Plumbing at (805) 243-2622 or contact us online today! We are the experts to call for professional Thousand Oaks water heater repair services!

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