Some Frequently Asked Questions About Gas Hot Water Heaters

Lawrence Kim

A gas hot water heater can be a good choice for a home, as gas is usually more affordable than electricity, and you may be able to provide your own propane rather than connect to a city gas line. Because having a gas hot water heater is different than one that is powered by electricity, you may have some concerns over its installation and may not even know which type is in your home. Note a few questions that many homeowners have about gas hot water heaters and their installation and repair.

1. How can you tell if you have a gas or electric hot water heater?

A gas water heater will have a vent out the top for releasing fumes and emissions from the gas flame. It should also have a gas line at the bottom of the tank that connects it to the gas lines outside your home. An electric hot water heater doesn't need a vent at the top and will only have a power cord connected to the back or bottom of the tank. If you note that you have a gas hot water heater, always call a repair person who specializes in gas plumbing for repairs so he or she will be familiar with the gas lines and connections.

2. Why can't I have my gas hot water heater directly on the floor?

Combustible fumes from a gas hot water heater naturally sink, even when you have a vent out the top of the heater. A gas hot water heater is usually then placed off the floor so that air can circulate and direct those fumes to the vent at the top. Never remove your gas hot water heater from its stand, or if you're installing your own, be sure you understand the importance of having it elevated off the floor.

3. Why does a gas hot water heater make noise when it comes on?

Typically, a hot water heater, whether gas or electric, will make a popping sound when minerals and crystals build up in the bottom of the tank. These are from the water itself, but these minerals may harden as the water settles. When the heater comes on, trapped water becomes steam. The popping sound you hear is the steam traveling through those mineral or crystals. Consider having your gas hot water heater cleaned and flushed when you hear this noise, and this should remove those crystals and reduce or eliminate that noise.

For more information, contact a local plumbing company like A and C Plumbing