The Ultimate Guide to Water Heater Replacement in Chicago

Man repairing a water heater

Due to the severe cold of Chicago winters, keeping your water heater in good working order is essential. Whether you’re looking for information on installation, repair, or just who to hire, this guide on water heater replacement in Chicago has you covered.

Why Chicago Residents Need a Dependable Water Heater

Consistent Hot WaterChicagoans, especially in the chilly winter months, require a dependable water heater to provide a constant supply of hot water. This is necessary for bathing, dishwashing, and laundry. Comfort and cleanliness at home depend on having a water heater that works reliably.
Energy EfficiencyThe improved energy efficiency of today’s water heaters means lower monthly utility costs. The cost of heating a home could rise if you use an older appliance. Long-term cost savings might be substantial when purchasing an energy-efficient model.
SafetyGas leaks, overheating, and pressure building are all hazards associated with water heaters that are too old or aren’t working properly. To avoid these dangers and guarantee the safety of one’s family, routine maintenance and prompt replacement are essential.

Identifying the Need for Replacement

While regular maintenance will extend the life of your water heater, there are particular symptoms that signal it’s time for water heater replacement in Chicago.

  • Age of the Unit: Depending on the model, a water heater should be replaced every 10 to 15 years. If your water heater is this old or older, you should probably replace it. Older machines are more likely to malfunction and be inefficient, leading to higher repair bills and a greater need for energy;
  • Rust and Corrosion: An obvious sign that your water heater needs maintenance is the presence of rust or corrosion on the tank. The tank’s integrity is compromised by rust and corrosion, which can cause leaks and other problems. Water damage to your home is possible if you ignore it;
  • Inconsistent Water Temperature: Fluctuations in water temperature, such as abrupt bursts of hot water followed by cold water, can indicate a failing water heater system. This irregularity can throw off your normal pattern and make it difficult to complete necessary chores in comfort;
  • Leaks: Water heater leaks should be fixed as soon as they are discovered. Water damage, mold growth, and the further deterioration of the unit can all result from leaks. Leaks, if left unchecked, can lead to expensive repairs or possibly replacement.

Importance of Regular Maintenance

Maintaining your water heater on a regular basis will help it last longer and run more smoothly. Some essential upkeep duties are as follows:

  • Flushing the Tank: Heating efficiency can be increased by flushing the tank on a regular basis to get rid of sediment buildup and restore the tank’s original condition;
  • Checking Anode Rod: Corrosion in the tank can be avoided by inspecting the anode rod and having it replaced if necessary;
  • Testing Pressure Relief Valve: The pressure relief valve should be tested regularly to avoid any pressure-related problems;
  • Inspecting Gas Lines (for gas heaters): Routine checks of gas lines can detect gas leaks and guarantee the safety of gas heaters;
  • Adjusting Temperature: Changing the Temperature Turning the water heater down to a safe level reduces the risk of scalding and also conserves energy.

Choosing the Right Water Heater

Choosing the correct water heater model is crucial before having one installed in your Chicago home.

  • Traditional Tank Water Heaters: The most common type of water heaters today are storage tanks that heat water as needed;
  • Tankless Water Heaters: These offer hot water on demand and are more energy-efficient;
  • Hybrid Water Heaters: Hybrid water heaters improve efficiency by combining tank storage with a heat pump.

Sizing Your Water Heater

Household SizeRecommended Tank Size (gallons)
1-2 people30-40
3-4 people40-50
5+ people50-80

Selecting the Right Water Heater Installers in Chicago

It’s important to choose skilled technicians when installing a water heater in Chicago. What you should search for is:

  • Licensing and Certification: Make sure they have the proper certifications and licenses to conduct business in Chicago;
  • Experience: Look for organizations with vast experience in water heater installation and repair;
  • Customer Reviews: Online testimonials are a great barometer of client happiness, so be sure to check them out;
  • Warranty and Service Guarantees: Ensure the installation you hire provides a reliable warranty and servicing assurance.

Water Heater Repair in Chicago

In some cases, a repair is preferable to a complete replacement. Some of the most often addressed problems include:

Faulty Heating Elements

Electric water heaters frequently have problems due to faulty heating elements. These elements are responsible for heating the water in your tank. If they break, you can find yourself with lukewarm water at best.

  • Insufficient hot water;
  • Water not getting hot enough;
  • Rapid depletion of hot water;
  • No hot water at all.

Repair Process:

1.To disable the water heater, flip the breaker off.
2.Drain the tank partially or entirely to access the heating elements.
3.Cut the power to the element that’s doing the heating.
4.To get rid of the broken heating element, use a wrench designed for that purpose.
5.Reconnect the cables and put in a new heating element.
6.It’s time to switch the electricity back on and fill up the tank.
7.Make sure the water heater is working properly by checking on it periodically.

Thermostat Issues

The thermostat is what determines how hot your water gets. When it malfunctions, it might lead to water that is too hot or too cold. Issues with the thermostat can be indicated by:

  • Water temperature fluctuations;
  • Inaccurate temperature settings;
  • Water that is too hot or too cold;
  • Inconsistent hot water supply.

Repair Process:

1.Turn off the power supply to the water heater at the circuit breaker.
2.Remove the access panel to access the thermostat.
3.Test the thermostat using a multimeter to determine if it’s functioning correctly.
4.If the thermostat is faulty, replace it with a new one.
5.Reassemble the access panel and turn the power supply back on.
6.Adjust the thermostat settings to the desired temperature.
7.Monitor the water heater to ensure it maintains the set temperature.

Leak Repairs

A leaking water heater may have a corroded tank, unsecured fittings, or a broken pressure relief valve. Rapid leak detection and repair is essential for avoiding waste of water and power. Symptoms of a leaking water heater include:

  • Puddles of water around the base of the water heater;
  • Dripping or streaming water from the tank or fittings;
  • Corrosion or rust on the tank or pipes;
  • Decreased hot water supply.

Repair Process:

1.Turn off the power supply and the cold water supply to the water heater.
2.Drain the tank completely to stop water flow.
3.Locate the source of the leak (e.g., tank, fittings, pressure relief valve).
4.If the leak is from a fitting, tighten or replace it as needed.
5.If the tank is leaking, it may need to be replaced, as repairing tank leaks can be challenging.
6.If the pressure relief valve is leaking, replace it with a new one.
7.Turn the cold water supply back on and refill the tank.
8.Monitor the water heater to ensure there are no further leaks.

The Installation Process

A typical water heater installation in Chicago involves several steps:

Removal of the Old Unit

It is important to properly disconnect and remove the old water heater before installing the new one. This eliminates any potential obstacles during the installation procedure and increases safety.


  1. Turn off the power supply: If your current water heater is electric, turn off the breaker that supplies electricity to it. If your water heater runs on gas, turn the gas off;
  2. Shut off the water supply: Locate the cold water supply valve and turn it off to cease water flow to the old unit;
  3. Drain the old water heater: Connect a garden hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the old water heater to empty its contents. Turn the drain valve to the open position. This step is important because it lightens the load of the old water heater and stops water from leaking out during removal;
  4. Disconnect the plumbing: Disassemble the plumbing by removing the hot and cold water pipes from the water heater using the necessary wrenches and other equipment;
  5. Disconnect electrical or gas connections: Turn off the power and the gas supply to the water heater if it is electric. If your water heater is gas-powered, the gas supply must be cut;
  6. Remove the old water heater: It’s time to get rid of the old water heater, so carefully disconnect it from its mounting and haul it away. The unit’s weight means that you might need a second person to help you move it.

Installation of the New Unit

Once the old water heater has been removed, it’s time to place and connect the new water heater. Efficiency and security in operation depend on a job well-installed.


  1. Choose the location: Pick out a spot that will work for the new water heater. It needs to have enough room and windows to pass muster with the local building department;
  2. Prepare the new water heater: Make sure the new unit is standing straight and level. Take off any labels or covers protecting the item;
  3. Connect the plumbing: The new water heater has to have its hot and cold water pipes connected to its input and outlet, respectively. Threaded connections can be sealed with Teflon tape or pipe joint compound;
  4. Connect electrical or gas supply: Establish a connection to the power source or gas line; in the case of electric water heaters, run the wiring in accordance with the manual. A gas water heater requires a safe gas connection;
  5. Ventilation: If your water heater needs ventilation, check that the exhaust and intake pipes are connected in accordance with building requirements;
  6. Fill the tank: To fill the tank, turn on the cold water tap and wait for it to run all the way through. Look for signs of leakage at the joints.


It is essential to put the new water heater through its paces when it is first installed. This procedure aids in spotting problems before they escalate.


  1. Turn on the power supply: If your water heater is electric, turn on the circuit breaker to ensure it receives power. For gas water heaters, turn on the gas supply;
  2. Set the temperature: Turn the water heater’s thermostat to the appropriate setting;
  3. Check for leaks: Examine all the connections and joints for any evidence of leaks. Stop any dripping right away;
  4. Test the hot water supply: Turn on hot water taps throughout the house to test the supply and make sure hot water is consistently delivered;
  5. Monitor for unusual noises: Listen for any popping or hissing that can signal a problem with the unit and keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary;
  6. Verify proper ignition (for gas heaters): If your water heater runs on gas, check that the pilot light stays lit and that the flame stays consistent;
  7. Observe for a sufficient temperature rise: Wait for a significant increase in temperature: You may check the accuracy of your water heater’s thermostat by comparing the hot water flowing out of a tap to the specified temperature. Make sure it’s the right temperature for you.

Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance is crucial if you want your water heater to last as long as possible and keep working as efficiently as possible. Here are some essential upkeep instructions:

Regular Inspections

A skilled plumber or technician can help you find and fix any problems with your water heater before they become expensive emergencies by inspecting it once a year. The technician will look for signs of leaks and corrosion, as well as evaluate the unit’s overall health, throughout these visits.

Flushing the Tank

Sediment buildup in the water heater tank lowers performance and might even be harmful over time. Simple tank maintenance like flushing can aid in the elimination of silt buildup.


  1. Turn off the power supply or gas to the water heater;
  2. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the base of the water heater;
  3. Open a hot water tap in your home to allow air into the tank;
  4. Open the drain valve and allow the tank to drain completely;
  5. Close the drain valve and disconnect the hose;
  6. Turn on the cold water supply to the tank to fill it back up;
  7. Turn on the power supply or gas.

Checking the Anode Rod

The anode rod is a sacrificial element used to inhibit corrosion and rust in the water heater tank. The longevity of your water heater can be improved by inspecting the anode rod on a regular basis and, if necessary, replacing it.


  1. Turn off the power supply or gas to the water heater;
  2. Locate the anode rod’s access point on the top of the water heater;
  3. Use a wrench to loosen and remove the anode rod;
  4. Inspect the rod for corrosion. If it’s heavily corroded, it should be replaced;
  5. Insert a new anode rod and tighten it securely;
  6. Turn on the power supply or gas.


Repairs, installations, and replacements for water heaters in Chicago are essential to the health and safety of any home. If you take the time to assess your demands, select the optimal unit, and hire trained experts to install it, you can keep your hot water running smoothly even through Chicago’s freezing winters. If you want your water heater to last and perform well, preventative maintenance is essential.


Q: How often should I replace my water heater in Chicago?

A: Typically, every 10-15 years, depending on the model and maintenance.

Q: Can I install a water heater myself?

A: It’s recommended to hire professional water heater installers in Chicago for safety and compliance with local regulations.

Q: What is the cost of water heater installation in Chicago?

A: Costs vary based on the type of heater and complexity of the installation. It’s best to get quotes from several installers.

Q: Are tankless water heaters better than traditional ones?

A: Tankless heaters are more energy-efficient and provide hot water on demand but can be more expensive initially.

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