Yes — the national water heater shortage could affect you. Here’s what you need to know before the cold weather hits.
Picture it: The year is 2020. There’s a global pandemic. We’re approaching winter. And… there is a national water heater shortage. In a word: Woof. Before things get to a boiling point, you should know why this is important, and how it might affect you, the consumer. Let’s talk about how water heaters work, why they’re important, and why you, as a homeowner, need to be prepared for the shortage as winter approaches.
How Does A Water Heater Work?
What does a water heater do? Okay, sure, that’s an easy one: It heats water. But there are a few different models of water heaters. You’ll need to determine whether your water heater runs on gas or electric. Now let’s talk about specific types of heaters. Many homes are outfitted with traditional storage tanks; these models store a ready-to-go-supply of hot water. Tankless units cost more, but are overall more energy-efficient; this could manifest as savings on your monthly energy bill. They also tend to last the longest. Heat pump units are ultra-efficient and can save the homeowner hundreds a year — although they do carry a higher initial price-point. Solar water heaters convert the sun’s energy to heat water, and although they’re typically the most expensive models, they are super efficient and environmentally friendly, too. Not sure how to know what type of model you have? Check the access panel for a model number. This will help you understand all you need to know.
Why Is the Water Heater Shortage Important?
If your water heater dies, a national shortage means it may take longer to replace. This also means that the type and size model you need for your home might not be readily available. While it’s never fun to deal with unforeseen home repairs and appliance replacements, a broken water heater can be one of the biggest problems you could face as a homeowner. Water heaters are also a high-cost investment, which can be devastating to families already suffering job loss and financial strain due to the global pandemic. It’s best to plan for their replacement and work within your household budget to have a new one installed.
Why Should I Care About The Water Heater Shortage?
- You probably use a lot more water than you think. The average American household uses 64 gallons of water every single day. (Number increases exponentially with each teenage daughter in the familial unit). If your water heater is on the fritz, consider all of the activities that will come to a grinding halt if it kicks the bucket. You won’t be able to enjoy hot showers, sanitize laundry in the washing machine, run an efficient dishwasher, or even wash your hands with hot water; an important consideration in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Your house may be heated with a water heater. Not having access to a hot bath is a bummer. But a frigid house in the winter is downright dangerous. Some heating systems use a furnace to circulate heat from the boiler into the living space. It’s complicated, but what you need to know is that your furnace, boiler, and heater all work together. Think of them as the Three Musketeers; without collaboration and teamwork, they’re just a few fellows in frilly shirts and feathered hats. (That metaphor may need a little tweaking).
- Your water heater may be at the end of its lifespan. Unlike household appliances we see and use every day, like the oven and refrigerator, the water heater is not something we give a lot of thought to. It’s an out-of-sight, out-of-mind problem. But if you’ve never considered your water heater, there’s a chance it might be out-of-date or in danger of kicking the bucket. Tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years, but other varieties, such as heat pump, storage, and solar, tend to run their course between 10-15 years. If there’s a good chance your water heater will fail this winter, consider taking steps to replace it now, before crisis strikes.
The water heater shortage is no laughing matter. In a year where everything that could go wrong, has, it’s smart to schedule a consultation with an HVAC company. They can help you discern the age and health of your water heater and make a plan for replacing it in a timely manner. Call Blanton’s today to set up an appointment with one of our friendly professionals.