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Hot Water

Hot Water (5)

It's not uncommon for a new water heater to come from the factory with the temperature set at 140 degrees fahrenheit. While this temperature ensures that the homeowner has very hot water from their new unit, it is too hot for most households. One way to know if it's too hot is to turn the hot water all the way on and try to place your hand under the faucet. If you can't comfortably hold your hand under the flow for more than a few seconds it is too hot. If there are elderly or young children in the household, the temperature should be lowered to reduce the risk of scalding.

So what temperature is the best? A good starting point is 120 degrees fahrenheit. Turning the temperature down 10 degrees will cut energy use by 3-5 percent. If you find that 120 degrees is not hot enough, try gradually adjust the temperature up until the right setting is achieved. In the winter it may need to be turned up a few degrees.

Have questions about your hot water heater? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating, from conventional to tankless, we're the water heater experts.

Not enough hot water? Here are some possible solutions

If water from your hot water heater is no hot enough even after checking that the thermostat is set correctly, there are a number of things to check.

1. The Dip Tube Is Damaged

The dip tube is where the cold water enters the water heater and is sent to the bottom of the tank so it can be quickly heated. If the tube is damaged the water will remain at the top of the tank, where the hot water outlet is, causing it to return cold water to get returned with the heated water.

2. Sediment Has Accumulated at the Base of the Tank

Minerals in the water can build up at the bottom of the water heater over time. This will result in a gradual loss of heating efficiency, as the burners work harder to heat the water. Sometimes, when a tank has sediment you will be able to hear a gurgling sound as the water boils through the layer of sediment. Flushing the tank annually will prevent sediment build-up.

3. The Water Heater's Heating System Is Malfunctioning

Most water heater problems can be traced to these systems:
  • Thermal switch
  • Thermostat
  • Heating element
A licensed plumber should inspect the water heater and repair the pasts as needed.

4. The Water Heater Is Too Far From Where Hot Water Is Needed

If the water eventually get hot enough after a running for a while, the problem is often that the tank is too far away from where hot water is needed. In the winter, pipes will cool the hot water before it reaches the faucet where it's needed. Insulating the pipes can help reduce heat loss. 

5. The Water Heater Tank Is Too Small

If you're noticing that your water heater is running out of water suddenly it could be that your water heater tank is simply too small to keep up with demand. Installing a larger tank or tankless water heater will ensure that you have all the water your household needs. An Air Specialties hot water specialist can help match the right size water heater for your household's needs.

Like any mechanical device, a water heater requires regular inspections and maintenance to keep it operating safely and reliably. With regular maintenance you can also keep your water heater running longer by extending the life of the tank and other components. 

Tank-Style Water Heater Maintenance

A conventional tank-style water heater will typically last for 8-10 years. However, without routine maintenance sediment and rust can accumulate, shortening the life of the water heater while also wasting energy. To keep your water heater in good condition for the long run, Air Specialties recommends following these water heater maintenance steps at least once a year.

Drain out the water heater tank to remove sediment. This is particularly important if you have hard water in your home. Attach a hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank. Before opening the drain valve  ensure the opposite end of the hose is outside or near a floor drain. Be careful, as the water may be very hot. If you're not sure how to flush your water heater, call Air Specialties. An experienced plumber can advise you on the best way to drain your water heater tank.

  1. Check for water leaks, pinholes rusting around the exterior of the water heater.
  2. For natural gas water heaters, inspect the flue to ensure exhaust fumes are venting outside by striking a match next to the flue housing. The smoke should drift out through the exhaust flue.
  3. Test the relief valve by putting a bucket beneath the drain pipe and opening the valve. Water should flow freely when the valve is opened.
  4. Ensure that the thermostat is set to between 120 and 125 degrees. It should not be set above 125 degrees. We recommend keeping your water heater below 115 degrees if you have have young children in the home.
  5. Keeping a pan underneath the water heater will make it easier to detect any leaks.
  6. If you have a gas water heater, check the pilot light to make sure it is burning blue and steady.

Tankless Water Heater Maintenance

Tankless water heaters are becoming a popular choice for homeowners looking for a more efficient alternative to traditional water heaters. Because water is only heated when it's needed, it uses much less energy. And with no storage tank, it never runs out of hot water as long as the unit it the proper size for the home's hot water needs.

Like traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters require regular maintenance to ensure that they last as long as possible. Spending some time on maintenance yourself, or calling Air Specialties for routine maintenance, will ensure that you are taking advantage of all the cost saving benefits available from your tankless water heater. In addition, most manufacturers require this maintenance as a condition of the unit's warranty.

1. Inspect and Clean the Screen Filter


Following the manufacturer's recommended schedule and procedures, inspect and clean the filter located on the water inlet side the tankless water heater. We recommend having a qualified plumber do this job. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, it's important to learn the proper procedure before attempting this maintenance. Do not use chemicals to clean your tankless water heater, since they will enter your drinking water. Vinegar is a safe, effective cleaner.

2. Flush the System

To prevent the a harmful buildup of lime and scale, flush your tankless water heater periodically according to the manufacturer's recommendations. As noted above, please be sure to flush it with vinegar and not chemicals that could contaminate your water supply.

Many people purchase a conventional tank water heater and simply forget about it until it stops working and it's time to replace it.

However, with a few simple water heater maintenance steps you can increase the lifespan of the unit while also making it work more efficiently.

1. Flush the water heater tank annually

Almost all water heater manufacturers will recommend flushing the water heater tank annually. Draining the tank will remove the sediment that has collected at the bottom of the tank which will allow the burner to work more efficiently.

Check the manufacturer's instructions for the correct procedure for draining your model of water heater.

2. Check the anode rod and replace it if needed

The anode rod hangs in the tank to help prevent its inside from rusting out. It should be checked annually when the tank is drained. Replacing a badly corroded rod is far cheaper than replacing the water heater. Without a good anode rod, hot water will rapidly corrode the inside of the tank, shortening its life.

3. Insulate the water heater tank

This is a step you only have to do once. Wrapping your water heater in a blanket of insulation can improve it's efficiency up to 40 percent.
A leaking water heater can range from a slow drip to a full-blown flood. Either way, the damage to your home and property can be expensive; ranging from damage to walls and floors, to unhealthy mold and mildew.

If you see water accumulating near your water heater, it may not actually be coming from the water heater. Nearby appliances and condensation on pipes near the water heater can cause moisture to accumulate nearby. Closely inspect the base of the water heater and valves for signs of leaks.

If you determine the water heater is the cause of the leak, the first step is to turn off power to the water heater. If you have an electric water heater, turn the power off from the circuit breaker. A gas water heater can be shut of from the power supply attached to the unit, usually be turning a knob to the off position. Next, turn off the water from the cold water shut-off valve located near the top of the water heater.

Water heater leaks can occur in several locations, including: the cold water inlet and hot water outlet, the pressure relief valve, the drain valve, and the bottom of the tank. Fixing a water heater is not a do-it-yourseff project. A qualified plumber should make the repair. Depending on the location and severity of the leak, your plumber will either have to repair the water heater replace it.

Preventing damage from water heater leaks

For an extra measure of protection from unexpected water heater leaks, specially designed pans can be installed under the water heater to divert water leaks to a nearby floor drain. There are also special water leak alarms that can turn off the water when a leak is detected from the water heater or another source.
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Air Specialties Air Conditioning & Heating. • 25 Spring Street, West Haven, CT 06516 • 203-934-7984

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