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Signs It's Time For A New Water Heater

A household water heater works behind the scenes in every home. This appliance doesn’t get nearly the credit it should for keeping our lives running smoothly and comfortably — hot showers to name one benefit. For something that's not particularly glamorous, when this appliance fails, it’s guaranteed to cause a bad day for everyone. Watch out for the following four signs it’s time to call the pros and consider installing a new, energy-efficient water heater.

Hot Water Is Not Consistent
Image via Flickr by r.nial.bradshaw

Have you been finding yourself taking quicker showers and skipping your leave-in conditioner treatment? Are your dishes not getting clean when the dishwasher finishes a cycle?

First, check to see if you've tripped the circuit breaker or if the water heater pilot light is out. Are both OK? Next, have a home services specialist take a look at your water heater to decide if the heating coil needs replacement. If it does not, you may need to find a new water heater for your home.

You Can't Remember When Your Water Heater Was Installed

Some appliances can operate for a long time, but a water heater isn't one of them. The age of your household unit can indicate the likelihood that it will need replacement. Think about when your water heater was installed. If the installation date is beyond your memory — or longer than 15 years — you're likely facing a replacement.

You're Hearing Noises

Can you hear a musical serenade coming out of your water heater when you turn up the heat on your shower? Have you noticed that your previously clear water is murky, rusty, or sandy? Does the water have a metallic taste? Sediment and residue from hard water can cause a knocking or popping sound as the water heats. Hard water can also leave a residue in pipes, taking a few years off the life of your water heater.

If you’re hearing knocking or have sandy water, a technician can flush the system as a first step before fully replacing the unit. If your water has become rusty, the rust is a sign that the inside of your unit is breaking down and particles are entering your household water.

Your Water Heater Is Leaking

Have you noticed a small leak or small amounts of water near the unit? If so, you'll want to call a service tech as soon as you can. A slow leak can quickly turn into a flood — and nobody wants to deal with that mess.

Maintaining your water heater never seems to top our list of to-dos until an emergency arises. Watching for the above signs and calling a service tech to inspect your water heater are critical to saving yourself the headaches of a cold shower. You don't want to face that reality on the morning of an important job interview or the day your super-critical in-laws arrive.

Beyond keeping your shower hot, consider the energy efficiencies gained with a new unit. The money saved could be enough to splurge on a new pair of shoes. Who’s the hero now?
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Why Is Your House So Dusty?

A little light dust is normal, but if you find a thick layer of dust that accumulates seemingly overnight, despite your best efforts to keep your home clean, you have a problem.

Dust consists of dirt, dead skin cells, hair, pollen, insect parts, pet hair, and dander. Additionally, dust can often hold hazardous chemical residues including flame retardants, phenols, and phthalates. Medical specialists have linked these chemicals to hormone issues and cancer.

Find out the reasons your house may be accumulating so much dust.

Image via Flickr by Dan4th
Leaking HVAC Ducts

Gaps around fittings, holes, and unsealed joints between duct sections allow warm or cooled filtered air to escape and dirty unfiltered air to enter, complete with dust and other contaminants.

An HVAC technician can perform a pressure test on your HVAC system to identify leaks. You can use foil tape, mastic, and fabric tape to seal minor holes and gaps. A qualified HVAC technician will need to repair more significant leaks. After repairing and sealing all the leaks, a technician needs to thoroughly clean the ducts to remove any traces of mold and the inevitable accumulation of dust and dirt.

Inadequate Air Filters

Air filters which are the wrong size or type will not prevent dirt, dust, and other contaminants from entering your HVAC system. A clean, correctly sized proper air filter will promote ideal indoor air quality (IAQ) in your home.

Rather than buying an air filter blindly, use a tape measure to check the length and width of the grill where you insert the filter. If you are unsure whether you have the correct size, check with an HVAC technician.

The other measurement which is important when selecting an air filter for your home HVAC system is the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV. This measurement refers to the mesh density in the filter, with 12 being the finest available for residential use and four being the most coarse. If the mesh is too coarse, it may not adequately filter smaller contaminants, but if the mesh is too fine, it will not allow enough air to flow through it, leading to problems with your air quality.


Older houses often have small gaps under doors or around windows which can allow outside air into the home. In addition to compromising the efficiency of your heating and cooling, these drafts also bring dust and other contaminants into your home. Many hardware stores carry assorted draft sealant products to repair these gaps.

Debris Transfer From Outdoors

Each time your family or visitors enter your home, they bring with them pollen, debris, and dirt from outside. Using a doormat to remove excess dirt from shoes and perhaps taking shoes off before entering the home will greatly reduce the amount of dirt and debris being bought inside.

To combat dust in your home, check your ducts for leaks, look for the correct air filter, and maintain your HVAC system. Taking steps like these can help you keep dust in your home under control.
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