Is it Time to Break Up With That Old Water Heater?

Signs to Part Ways With the Old Water Heater 

Breaking up is never easy––especially when breaking up with the water heater. That’s why some homeowners keep their water heaters around long after they should. However, homeowners could experience a complete breakdown, higher-than-average water bills, cold showers, and many other inconveniences when that happens. 

Instead, homeowners should learn warning signs that indicate it’s time for a water heater replacement or repair so they don’t have to get stuck without hot water. Some signs include: 


corrosionMany plumbers recommend a total replacement if a water heater has corrosion on its tank. Homeowners can find corrosion visually or by a common sign of corrosion in the hot water tank: discolored water. Some reasons why a water heater may have corrosion include: 

  • Sediment build-up: Sentiment build-up inside the water heater can cause rust and corrosion. Sediment and minerals build up in the water heater but get flushed out during routine water heater maintenance.  
  • Lack of maintenance: Homeowners should routinely consult professionals for water heater maintenance. During maintenance, plumbers will flush the tank and replace the anode rod as needed. When these vital maintenance tasks are ignored, sediment and minerals will build up and cause corrosion. 
  • Chronic leaks: Water is supposed to be housed inside the water heater––not outside of it. When a water heater leaks, it can lead to corrosion, rust, and other issues. 

If the corrosion on a water heater tank is minor, a professional may remove it using a chemical solution or employ specialized equipment, like a rust vacuum, to remove it. However, once too much corrosion has occurred, a replacement is a must.

Hot Water Runs Out Quicker Than it Used To 

Some ask, “how long does it take for a water heater to run out of hot water?” It depends on the tank size—however, one thing is for sure. The hot water should last long enough for a shower. If the hot water only lasts a few minutes or runs out quicker than it used to, this indicates that a water heater needs replacement or repair. 

The water heater can be running out of hot water for several reasons. The heating element or another internal component may be faulty and need replacing. Or the water heater may just be too old. Water heaters generally last 10 to 15 years, but appliances naturally decrease in efficiency over time, affecting the water heater's performance. Sediment buildup also causes a decrease in efficiency that affects the unit's performance. 

Higher Energy Bills 

Unusually high energy bills often indicate a loss of efficiency in the water heater. This could mean it's time to consider replacing the unit, as inefficient water heating costs homeowners more money. With an inefficient water heater, homeowners are essentially throwing cash down the drain.

If homeowners notice any of these signs, they should contact a technician to inspect the unit as soon as possible. Doing so can help prevent further damage and ensure the home runs efficiently. A professional can also advise homeowners on choosing a new water heater that meets their needs and fits their budget. Replacing an old or inefficient water heater can save money in the long run and keep the home running smoothly.

About G.F. Bowman, Inc. 

G.F. Bowman, Inc. has more than 55 years of experience serving the Harrisburg, PA, community and the surrounding areas. They offer upfront pricing, on-time arrivals, and financing. Call them today for water heater maintenance, repair, and replacement services in Harrisburg, PA.

Why Does the Home Have Low Water Pressure?

Common Causes of Reduced Water Pressure In Homes

One of the most frustrating plumbing issues homeowners can face is low water pressure - not because it’s terribly disruptive (although it certainly can be) but because it can be so difficult to identify what’s causing it.

Temporary reductions in water pressure might be explained by too many faucets and fixtures being in use at one time, but when the problem persists, it can leave homeowners scratching their heads. But every plumbing problem has its cause, and it’s just a matter of tracking it down. This article will discuss three of the most common causes of low water pressure - and what to do about them.

Water Leaks

leaksOne of the most insidious low water pressure causes is a pipe leak. Since the water in a home’s supply lines is constantly under pressure for rapid delivery to fixtures, some pressure will escape through any opening it can get. This means there will be less pressure (and less water) when it reaches the fixtures. A slow leak due to corrosion or a loose pipe fitting can go undetected for months, especially if it’s hidden underground or behind a wall, making this both a nuisance and a potentially costly problem.

The good news, in this case, is that the low water pressure may be the clue that alerts homeowners to the leak, allowing them to fix it before it causes more damage. The solution here is to schedule professional leak detection to find and fix the source of a leak.

Mineral Buildup and Clogs

Another common cause of decreased water pressure is a pipe clog or obstruction. Bits of rust or other debris can build up over time and form a blockage inside the pipes, restricting water flow. This is particularly common in older homes with aging or corroded pipes.

Another form of this is when mineral deposits from hard water collect on the pipe's walls, effectively reducing its diameter and constricting the water’s movement. This is a fairly common problem in Pennsylvania and other regions with hard water. One telltale sign of a clogged or mineral-coated pipe is if the water pressure is normal when the faucet is first opened, but the flow gets weaker as water continues to come out.

Fixing buildup or clogs in the water supply lines is best left to a professional plumber. In some cases, the pipes can be flushed (which is no small undertaking), but in the case of severe mineral deposits or pipe corrosion, lines may need to be replaced.

Closed Valves and Faulty Fixtures

valveIn some cases, low water pressure throughout the home may simply result from a valve being fully or partially closed. This often occurs after a repair technician or utility company representative shuts off the home's water. Two common culprits are the water meter valve (located in or near the water meter box) and the home’s main shutoff valve (typically found in a basement, garage, or exterior wall where the water main enters the house). Homeowners can simply turn these to the fully opened position and see if that has any effect.

A faulty water pressure regulator (usually located just downstream of the water meter or main shutoff valve) may also cause low water pressure in the entire home. But if only one fixture has low pressure, the fixture itself is likely faulty or clogged with mineral deposits (fairly common with older fixtures). For instance, if there’s the low water pressure in the shower, but the bathroom sink has normal pressure, it’s probably time to replace that showerhead.

Homeowners may be able to tackle a showerhead or faucet replacement themselves, but replacing the home’s pressure regulator will require a professional. Even if the fixture replacement is a DIY fix, it’s still a good idea to schedule a professional inspection to determine if a larger issue like hard water deposits or corrosion was to blame for the fixture’s failure to ensure the underlying cause is being addressed.

About G.F. Bowman, Inc.

G.F. Bowman, Inc. is a family-owned and operated business with over 55 years of experience serving Harrisburg, PA, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront pricing, on-time arrival, and fast service. Call them today for plumbing services in Harrisburg, PA.

Don't Let a Faulty Water Heater Ruin the Holiday Season

Common Water Heater Repair Signals 

The last thing any homeowner wants during the excitement of the holiday season is a water heater emergency. Especially with the temperature dropping, warm water is essential this time of year. Here are the telltale signs that a gas water heater needs repairs or replacement so that homeowners can enter this time of year fully prepared for colder temperatures. 

How To Tell if a Water Heater Needs Repair

There are a few ways to learn if a water heater needs repair or professional inspection. 

  • Change in warm water: If a homeowner notices that the warm water does not get as hot as it typically does, or if the hot water does not last as long, there are a few things they can check to determine if the water heater needs to repair. First, they should check the water heater's temperature settings to make sure it was not accidentally changed. They should also determine if they have been using more hot water than normal. If neither of these seems to be the issue, it is likely a water heater problem.
  • Rusty water: While rusty water can be a sign of pipe problems, it can also be a sign that the water heater itself is damaged and rusting. In this case, it is best to have a professional take a look. 
  • Odd noises: If homeowners start hearing clanking or other odd noises coming from the water heater, it is most likely from sediment build up. Water heaters make a normal amount of noise on their own, but if homeowners notice a change such as popping or banging, they should have it inspected.
  • Leaks: If homeowners notice a change in their hot water and a pool of water forming below their water heater, it is likely caused by a leak and is a sign that the water heater must be repaired. 

What Causes Faulty Water Heaters?


There are a few reasons water heaters can become faulty, including: 

  • Age: The average lifespan of a water heater is around 10 years. If it starts becoming faulty around that age, it will most likely need to be replaced.
  • Rust: If the water heater starts to rust, it can start to cause issues such as the aforementioned rusty water and, if not treated, may cause irreversible damage. 
  • Sediment: Sediment buildup is cause for not only pipe issues but also water heater issues. When the water is heated, sediment can settle in the tank, leading to issues.

If these issues sound familiar, homeowners should likely reach out to their local plumbing companies to schedule an inspection. 

When Should Water Heaters Be Replaced?


If water heaters start to act faulty or reach the age of 10 years, it may be time to replace them. While there are a few ways mentioned above to determine if a water heater needs to be repaired, it is best to have a professional look to determine if those repairs are manageable or if the water heater needs to be replaced. 

About G.F. Bowman, Inc.

With more than 50 years of experience, the G.F. Bowman, Inc. team not only has a thorough background but is constantly learning the newest technologies in their field. Dedicated to quality service so that their customers can have peace of mind knowing they are in the right hands. Call now for quality water heater services!

The Unwanted Effects of a Water Plumbing Leak Inside Your Home!

What a Water Leak Can do Inside Your Home

Unfortunately for many homeowners, not all plumbing leaks are going to come in the form of large floods that are easily spotted. While that may sound like a good thing, small leaks can cause just as much damage over time.

In many cases they go unnoticed for weeks and sometimes months, damaging your home and costing you thousands in the process. In this article, you will see some of the essential ways that homeowners can get the upper hand on leak detection.

Plumbing Leaks Can Waste Thousands Of Gallons Of Water Per Year

Plumbing leaks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and most importantly visibility. While a large leak can potentially cause a flood in the home, a small leak can cause just as much damage (if not more) over time. This is why it is crucial to have some understanding of what to look for when you suspect a small plumbing leak may be at work.

Small leaks in a homeowner’s plumbing can waste thousands of gallons of water and cost hundreds of dollars more per year. Not only that, but there are also detrimental health risks to be aware of, as well as potentially costly repairs to damaged fixtures outside of the plumbing itself.

The best defense against small but harmful leaks is to keep an eye on three specific things; water costs, mold, and odor. These three may not seem as though they would be able to indicate a plumbing leak, but they are the most common symptoms of the issue.

Look For Increased Water Costs

The first sign of a plumbing leak is an increase in your water costs. Generally, this will be a noticeable spike in the amount of water consumption per month. When water consumption is elevated without a cause, chances are it could be the toilet.

A toilet is behind almost 40% of a home's water consumption. When a toilet is not working properly, it will continue to run using almost double the amount of water it normally would. If you find this to be the case, a professional is the best bet for a quick and accurate solution.

high water bill

In the meantime, however, you can turn the water valve off when the toilet is not in use. This will keep the toilet from running and wasting precious water down the drain. Just remember to turn the water back on before use, however.

Wet Spots Are Also Mold Spots

Wet spots on the ceiling or walls are most likely on near water pipes that run through the walls. When you detect these spots, it usually means there is a leak in the pipe located in that area. Unfortunately, the leak is not the only issue in this case. The water spots are going to produce different types of mold and mildew that can be harmful to your health.

There are many health concerns associated with exposure to mold. Some of the symptoms include:

  • mold spotsSore and itchy throat.
  • Coughing and wheezing.
  • General increased breathing problems.
  • Increased allergies.
  • Sore, itchy, and watery eyes.
  • Nose bleeds.

There are several other symptoms that can occur; especially when conditions are already present.

Mold Also Causes Musty Odors

Another unfortunate side effect of mold is the musty odor it gives off. This is caused by any time water is left standing while in contact with any porous material. The musty odor will affect the olfactory senses the most; meaning the sense of smell.

While a musty odor can be hard to live with, getting rid of it can also be very difficult. When a musty odor has found its way into clothing or any textiles, washing it several times can help, but usually the item is thrown away.

musty smell

When the musty odor attaches itself to the walls, ceiling, and floor of a home, the homeowner can face costly re-construction to correct the issue.

Luckily, the musty odor, along with the health risks, can all be prevented by being aware of the warning signs of plumbing leaks. If you detect a musty odor in a specific location, call your local experts to investigate the problem.

G.F. Bowman, Inc.

G.F. Bowman, Inc. has been the plumbing and indoor comfort experts for over 50 years in the Cleona, PA area. With a professional plumber on call, there is no problem too big or too small. As community leaders, G.F. Bowman, Inc. is dedicated to the well being of each and every resident.