Archive for the 'Tankless Water Heaters' Category

Troubleshooting a Hot Water Heater

Sep. 14th 2012

The hot water heater is a very important component of your home’s plumbing system. Not only is it one of the most expensive components, but it is the first to be missed when it malfunctions. These are a few of the most common problems that can occur and some tips for preventing them by performing scheduled maintenance.

The most troublesome issue experienced when you have any water heater is when the water comes out cold. On a gas heater, the pilot may have blown out. If it is an electric heater, its circuit breaker may have tripped. Once you reignite the pilot or reset the breaker, look into the reason before assuming the issue is resolved.
If your water heater takes too long to heat up, it may be that deposits have formed in the tank. Sediments in the tank will insulate it from the flame. Drain and flush the tank occasionally to remove sedimentary deposits.

Reduce the rate of sediment buildup by lowering the water temperature and by softening household water. Set thermostat to 125°F. Temperatures below 120°F can allow the growth of unhealthy bacteria within the tank. Also, if sediment becomes too thick on the bottom of the tank, the tank bottom may overheat in a gas heater, causing the water at the bottom to boil. This may produce a funny popping or rumbling sound. Draining and flushing the tank occasionally will eliminate this issue.

If your tank is not big enough to provide enough hot water on demand, stagger showers throughout the day, or get a tank big enough to store 15 gallons for every member of the household. My 40-gallon tank only runs cold on the rare occasions when all four of us take baths or showers one after the other.

When an electric water heater supplies too little hot water, or water that is too hot, check the thermostat, heating elements and limit switches. Replace them if they are damaged or encrusted with sediment. The limits of a do-it-yourselfer in regard to electric heater components are to inspect them for loose or disconnected wires, and to tighten and reattach them. Never attempt to work on an electric water heater until you are sure the power has been disconnected at the panel.

If water from a gas heater smells rotten, replace the anode rod. The location of this rod is detailed in the owner’s manual. This rod, made of magnesium or aluminum, is in place because of the electrochemical reaction created when water is heated. The reaction will corrode the rod over time, so that the tank itself remains unaffected by it. For this reason the rod should be replaced periodically (every 2 to 5 years). Pull it out after 2 years (or if the heater is more than two years old and you never have before) and inspect it for wear. Charts are available to show how much service life remains in an anode rod.

If your heater is gas-fired, have the burners cleaned once a year. Take this opportunity to inspect flues and vents, or use a carbon monoxide detector to ensure no dangerous exhaust is escaping into the house.

The T&P valve (temperature and pressure relief valve) should be tested once per year. Test this by lifting the handle until pressurized water escapes through the drain tube attached to the valve. Release the handle, and the flow should stop completely. If it drips, there may be sediment which has lodged in the valve seat. Release a little more water a few times, until it stops completely. If you find water pooled under the heater, and it is not coming from the T&P valve, look above the tank nearby, to see if there is a drip from any of the other pipes in the area. If not, inspect the bottom of the tank, above the burner, for excess corrosion and wetness. If you find it is leaking through the tank, the heater will need to be replaced.
Water heaters are routinely ignored as long as hot water is delivered on demand. But setting a maintenance schedule and inspecting the tank on a periodic basis will prolong its trouble-free operation and performing these simple maintenance tasks will extend its life beyond the expected 10-15 years.

Green Plumbing Ideas

Jun. 20th 2012

There is great interest these days in environmental conservation, and applying ‘green’ concepts to household plumbing designs is a smart idea which can lead to substantial savings of water and of money. Even if water consumption is not regulated in your local area, many steps can be taken which not only reduce your dependency on public water supplies, but also reduce your negative impact on the environment.


One step which will have a huge impact will be the use of rainwater to supply toilets and washing machines, even sinks and showers. This can be done by means of a cistern. Many older homes in the rural United States were equipped with cisterns – usually concrete tanks buried near the house into which rainfall was harvested by means of the gutter system. Homes can be retrofitted for a cistern, using an underground tank or one that sits on the surface, but during new construction or renovation are the most cost-effective opportunities for the installation of such tanks, as retrofitting costs may be prohibitive.


Another important water-saving feature that can be added to a home is a treatment system for gray water. Waste water from sinks, showers and washing machines, while not clean, is known as gray water, as opposed to black water, which is the waste from toilets and food disposals. Gray water may be collected into a septic tank, to be treated and sent to a collection tank. From there it can be used for watering lawns and plants, a supply that costs nothing, and that has been redeemed from what may have been freely gathered rainwater to begin with.


Fixtures may be added to the plumbing system which serve to reduce water flow. Low-flow toilets, water-efficient shower heads and pressure reducers can add up to mean a great reduction in water usage. Even timely repair of leaky faucets and shower valves are very important water-saving measures.


In addition to the many undertakings that lead to a reduction in water usage, there is an increasing interest in more economical means of heating water for the home. Heating water for sinks and showers is a costly expense of a plumbing system. The costs of electricity and fuel – whether natural gas or Liquid Petroleum ‘gas’ – are unpredictable, except that they are sure to rise. The typical, traditional water heater is a tank in the home that takes in cold water and heats it to a predetermined temperature, letting it out into the pipes when the hot water faucet is opened. This is a rather inefficient system, since a tankful of hot water, when not being used, will cool down, and require continual reheating.


Recent innovations have allowed homeowners to move away from the water heater tank system though, and can provide significant savings because water will only be heated when it is needed, and only in the amount that is needed.


There is a still more efficient method than either of these, and it is to use the energy from the Sun to heat your water. Solar energy collection is a mature industry, and one of the best developed implementations of renewable energy technologies on the market. A solar collector sits atop the roof and the fluid within transfers heat to the water supply, which is stored in a tank, ready for delivery to the plumbing fixtures.


While this system depends at its foundation upon sunshine, it is well known that there is no place where the Sun always shines. There may be several days – or, in some locations – even weeks, when sunshine is scarce. There is also Winter, when the energy from the Sun is decreased. For this reason, a solar heating system includes a booster, which keeps the temperature of the water at the desired level. If your home is in an area which receives a great deal of sunshine during most of the year, however, it is likely that the booster will not have to be engaged for weeks at a time, or longer.


Consumers are always looking for cheaper ways to supply their needs. While some of the ideas spoken of can be expensive to implement, the overall costs of operating with these environmentally friendly methods are far less over the course of time, and including these aspects of environmental stewardship at construction time will give you a far more efficient and more affordable option.


Tankless Water Heater Savings

May. 22nd 2012

When you’re looking to lower your energy bills during a blazing hot summer or a long, frigid, winter, there are always a few tricks of the trade that you can adopt in order to spare yourself an imminent slide into bankruptcy and homelessness. You can keep the air conditioner or heater off as long as possible, by using portable fans or space heaters. You can make sure all the windows in the home are properly sealed to ward off the biting winter cold. You can make sure the drapes in all your rooms are down, in order to reflect back that murderous, searing heat.

And when it comes to heating up water during those long, miserable, winter months, there is a brand new trick on the market that will do more than any other to put much needed coins back in your purse, whilst simultaneously saving you from turning into an icicle in your own bathtub. The tankless water heater is an invaluable component of every modern, fully furnished home, and you should strive to familiarize yourself with the benefits it can bring to you and your family. Even if your home has already been fitted with a traditional, old fashioned (and obsolete) tank using water heater, no worries! You can remove that wasteful, money guzzling, old Brontosaurus, and have your home fitted with a brand new, twice as efficient, penny pinching new tankless water heater!

One of the very first benefits you’ll notice when you switch to a tankless water heater is also one of the longest lasting ones. You sure can’t miss noticing when you’ve been in the shower for ten or fifteen minutes and the hot water is still going strong, with no sign of cooling off or petering out! The satisfaction you get from a good, relaxing, hot bath or shower, especially in the dead of winter, just can’t be measured in words. And with a tankless heater, that satisfaction can and will be yours!

Consider this: a tankless water heater heats up the water that you need, exactly when you need it. Not before, and not hours later! A tankless heater doesn’t limit you to the amount of water that can be safely and efficiently stored in an old fashioned storage tank heater. A tankless water heater will heat any available source of water at your command, and in a hurry. Whether you need a good supply of hot water for your bath or shower, or for doing the dishes, a tankless water heater simply draws on your home’s supply of water, and heats it up. It’s dependent on the water that can be drawn from your house’s well or neighborhood source of water – NOT from the amount of water that a storage tank can hold!

Simply put, the difference between a conventional old fashioned, storage tank water heater and the new tankless water heater is the difference between an old vinyl long playing record and a digital Ipod. Sure, they both play music, but with the vinyl record, you need a big, clunky, turntable to play it, and you can only get 35-45 minutes of music out of it. With the Ipod, you can have access to an inexhaustible supply of music straight from your computer, and it can store hours upon hours of music.

The same comparison applies to the tankless water heater. As noted above, it draws from your neighborhood’s water supply, not a severely limited storage tank. So, your days of budgeting your time in the shower because you know full well the hot water will soon run out are over, and none too soon! The tankless water heater will heat your bath for as long as you care to remain within it. It will give your dishwasher piping hot water to scrub those dirty dishes clean with. It will do both tasks, and plenty more, simultaneously. Since there is no lack of water to draw upon, there is no time limit during which it can perform its tasks!

Of course, there is another, very large, benefit of switching to a tankless water heater: major savings on your energy bill come winter time! The average tankless water heater has been clinically tested and proven to enable its user to save up to 40% on their average winter heating and energy bills. A large part of this savings is due to the fact that, unlike a traditional water storage heater which runs on a set schedule and sometimes requires hours to power up and off, a tankless water heater will only heat water when it is needed. You determine when it runs and when it doesn’t, simply by switching your hot water tap off and on. So, there’s no more annoying groaning and scraping of rusty old pipes, no more water damage from leaking or broken pipes, and no more huge energy bills!

And here is another huge issue which a tankless water heater neatly cuts down to size: storage space! We all know that the traditional, storage tank, water heaters are big behemoths which can monopolize up to 18 square feet of floor space which could be more profitably employed for other uses. Some of these old Brontosaurs can occupy a whole room by themselves! In contrast, your average tankless water heater measures roughly the same dimensions as a carry on suitcase! Think about it: endless hours of piping hot water, courtesy of a nifty little gadget no larger than the flight bag you took on the plane with you last summer when you flew down to Miami! A tankless water heater is portable as well. Install one on any wall inside your home, and forget about it!

In conclusion, the benefits of owning a tankless water heater far outweigh the uncertainty associated with taking a risk on a new, untested, bit of technology. There simply is no risk! Except, of course, the risk of missing out on an incredible new money saving device which could possibly even save your life one frigid winter night! So, check out a tankless water heater today. Your family, as well as your family’s bank account, will thank you!

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