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San Diego Hot Water Heater Repair and Installation

Are you having a hot water problem at your San Diego home or business?  Most people ignore their water heaters until there’s a problem, so we’re ready to deliver on fast and efficient water heater repairs as well new and replacement water heater installation.  We’re a fully licensed, bonded, insured full-service plumbing company.  Our team is experienced in single-family, duplex, condos, and apartment residences as well as hotels, office complexes, supermarkets, restaurants, and other commercial facilities.  Our expertise includes electric, gas, heat pump, and tankless water heater technologies.

A Word About Warranties

These days 6- and 10-year warranties are the most common, and not surprisingly that’s a bit below the expected lifetimes of 8 to 12 years.  Annual maintenance, a tank drain, and flush, in particular, does indeed extend lifetimes and complete neglect can shorten them (and sometimes even void warranties).  On Target can take care of that maintenance as well as in-warranty and out-of-warranty repairs on pretty much all leading brands.

Efficiencies and Ratings

An energy rating (ER) is essentially the energy in the hot water delivered divided by the energy of electricity, natural gas, or propane consumed.  Today’s gas water heaters typically range from 0.54 to 0.62 and electric water heaters 0.90 to 0.98.  Energy Star rated models are at the high end of those ranges, or even higher.  Natural gas is a lot cheaper than electricity for the equivalent amount of energy, so gas-fired models nevertheless cost less to operate.  You may also run across a first-hour rating (FHR).  That number depends on the tank size and burner (or electric resistance element) capacity and is the amount of hot water that can be delivered in one hour starting with a fully heated tank.  The higher the number the faster the recovery time and the less likely you’ll run out of hot water.

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Water Heater Repairs

If you spot a leak, experience no or not enough hot water, or hear unusual noises then it’s time for a water heater repair.

  • Gas water heaters can be tricky to diagnose.  Everything along a chain from a temperature-sensing safety thermocouple, pilot light, controller, burner, flue, and thermostat have to be operating properly.
  • Electric water heaters are a bit simpler with only two electric resistance heating elements, thermostat, and the over-temperature controller to deal with.

Both types have inlet and outlet valves along with other fittings that can leak, and both have a protective anode rod.  If that rod is used up without being replaced the tank and fittings will rust, corrode, and eventually fail.  There’s also a temperature and pressure relief valve as protection against the tank getting way too hot due to some other problem.  If the pressure relief valve sticks closed not only the heater but all of your plumbing can be exposed to harmful pressure, and the tank can even rupture in a steam explosion.  If it opens a bit when it shouldn’t you’ll have a dripping leak, and if it opens completely it releases a flood (on the order of 500 gallons in a single hour).

Our troubleshooting experts will diagnose your problem and efficiently complete repairs along with a quick safety check.

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New and Replacement Water Heater Installation

If the tank itself is leaking, you’ve had serious or repeated problems, or your unit is over 8 years old then it’s probably time for a replacement water heater installation.  Most people almost automatically replace their old model with something similar, but it’s worthwhile to draw on our expertise to reconsider the energy source, tank size, efficiency ratings, and warranty periods.  And nowadays there are more options than you might realize, including tankless water heaters and heat pump technology (essentially required by 2015 efficiency standards for electric models with tanks above 55 gallons).

If you call us in the morning we can usually complete a replacement water heater installation that afternoon in just a few hours, including bringing connections and strapping up to code.  New heater installation takes a bit longer.

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Heat Pump Technology

If you need or want to go electric, heat pump hot water heaters are a great option.  That’s especially true for larger tank sizes, often cutting electricity use in half over traditional electric resistance technology.  They pull heat from the surrounding air, just like air conditioners, but dump that heat into your hot water rather than the great outdoors.  Unlike many San Diego plumbers, we’re experienced experts in heat pump technology installation, maintenance, and repair.

Tankless Water Heaters

The usual models with a big tank stay hot 24 hours a day, even when you’re not using any hot water, always losing heat no matter how well they’re insulated.  But tankless water heaters heat up only what you use, right when you use it.  They’re small enough to fit under a counter, so electric models can provide near-instant hot water —  no wasted water, and no waiting.  Even a centrally located gas model uses some 1/5 to 1/3 less energy.  Tankless technologies have been used in Europe and Japan for decades, and design advances in the last few years are speeding their adoption in America.

Wherever they’re located you’ll never run out of hot water and have to wait for a tank’s temperature to recover.  It’s all based on the model’s flow rate.  A single bath home or apartment is well served by 4-5 gpm (gallons per minute) models while 6-8 gpm is advised for single-family residences with 2 bathrooms.  Some manufacturers have models going up to 10 gpm or more, and commercial installations often use banks of several units.  Once again, unlike many San Diego plumbers, we’re experienced experts in tankless heater installation, maintenance, and repair.


Besides saving on utility bills, many high-performance hot water heaters qualify for utility company rebates and tax credits.  We’ll be happy to advise you.