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Hot Water

Hot Water (10)

Best Hot Water HeatersWhen choosing a new water heater for your home there are more choices than ever. Here's a comparison of the most common types of water heater and the advantages and disadvantages of each style.

Electric Tank Water Heater

Heats and stores water using electricity
  • Purchase Cost (less installation): $300 - $1,200
  • Advantages: Lowest upfront cost, Good for small or large households
  • Disadvantages: More expensive to operate

Gas Tank Water Heater

Heats and stores water using natural gas or propane
  • Purchase cost (less installation): $380 to $1,500
  • Advantages: Lowest upfront cost, Good for small or large households
  • Disadvantages: More expensive to operate

Tankless Gas Water Heater

Heats water on demand when its needed.
  • Purchase cost (less installation): $1000+
  • Advantages: Good for smaller households, lower operating cost, small footprint
  • Disadvantages: More expensive to operate

Electric Heat Pump Water Heater

Uses electricity to move heat from one place to another
  • Purchase cost (less installation): $1,000+
  • Advantages: 2-3 times more efficient than conventional tank water heater.
  • Disadvantages: Not a good option for colder climates

Condensing Gas Water Heaters

Heats and stores the water using gas, then uses the combustion gas to further heat the water.
  • Purchase cost (less installation): $1,000+
  • Advantages: Lowest operating cost. Can save a household $100+ a year
  • Disadvantages: Higher up-front cost

Hybrid Tankless Water Heater

Combines the advantages of a small storage tank with a tankless water heater.
  • Purchase cost (less installation): $1,000+
  • Advantages: Lower operating cost. Less standby heat loss than a conventional tank water heater, and no "cold water sandwich" that can occur with tankless water heaters.
  • Disadvantages: Higher up-front cost
Need help choosing the best water heater for your needs? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating. We can help.
Tips to Save on Hot WaterTank storage water heaters are one of the most energy intensive appliances in the home, second only to heating and cooling systems. By changing some habits and installing a few simple accessories, you can reduce energy consumption from your hot water heater significantly.

1. Reduce hot water use at the source. One of easiest ways to cut hot water usage is to install water saving shower heads. The minimum flow rate on a shower head should be no more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm). Many water conserving shower heads can reduce flow to as little as 1.6 gpm while maintaining acceptable water pressure. The water savings for a household of four could be as much as 14,000 gallons a year along with greatly reduced energy required to heat the water.

2. Insulate the hot water distribution system. Even in a small home, as much as 10 percent of the energy used to heat water can be lost in the pipes that supply the hot water. Insulating hot water pipes is an inexpensive way to significantly reduce heat loss.

3. Use a water heater blanket. While many new water heaters have sufficient insulation built into the tank wall, many older tanks will allow heat to escape. The larger the water heater, the more surface area that will allow heat to escape. Prevent heat loss by wrapping your water heater tank in an insulation blanket available from most home supply stores. Some manufacturers recommend against installing insulating blankets on their energy-efficient models, so be sure to read your owner's manual before adding a blanket.

4. Water heater maintenance. Over time, storage tank water heaters can accumulate sediment that reducing heating efficiency. Flushing the tank annually will remove the sediment and make it easer for the burner or heating element to heat the water.
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.
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.

Your water heater works harder during winter months. Flush it out and remove sediment buildup, which causes corrosion, shortens life span and reduces heating efficiency. Drain several gallons from the faucet near the bottom of the tank. Connect a hose to the faucet and direct water into a nearby drain. Check your water heater manufacturer 's website for specific instructions concerning your make and model.

Carefully test the water heater's pressure relief valve (Danger: water is very hot) by lifting up on the lever and letting it snap back. The valve should allow a burst of hot water into the drainpipe. If not, call a professional to have a new valve installed. Caution: if your water heater is more than five years old and the pressure relief valve has never been tested, you can actually cause a leak by testing older valves that have corroded or stuck seals. A plumber should be consulted.

Have questions about your hot water heater? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating, we're here to help.

 

Starting after April 15, 2015, The U.S. Department of Energy will put into effect new regulations that will require all manufacturers of water heaters to meet a higher energy factor (EF) ratings. Based on the new requirements, there will be significant changes to the design and size of water heaters. This includes gas, oil and electric water heaters. Tankless water heaters already meet the new requirements and are not affected.

How will these changes affect homeowners?

· Higher priced units – up to 35% more expensive.

· Larger units – 2” tall and 2” wider, and in some cases units may be even larger.

· More complex installation requirements

· Possible significant home remodeling costs if your water heater is located in a small space like a closet or attic.

These new regulations are being made to improve the efficiency of water heaters, which will result in lower energy costs for homeowners.

Should I Wait, Or Upgrade Now?

According to manufacturer’s suggested service life, the average lifespan of a water heater is about 8-12 years. Homeowners with water heaters 10 years old or older need to seriously consider replacing it now, before the regulations go into effect and costs go up. 

If you decide to install a water heater before the new regulations take place, Air Specialties can install a new, earlier model water heater. Have questions? Give us a call, we're here to help.

For more information, visit: 
U.S. Department of Energy
AO Smith
American Water Heaters
State Water Heaters

Welcome to Air Specialties' new series of tips to help you save energy and money. This month we will be talking about choosing the most cost effective water heating solution for your home.

Choosing the Right Hot Water Heater for Your Home

Hot Water HeatersConventional storage tank water heaters are just one of the options available to today's homeowner. With newer, advanced technology, water heaters are more energy efficient than ever, helping the environment and lowering your utility bill.

A typical family of four can use as much as 2,500 gallons of hot water each month. Choosing the right kind of water heater for your home will make a big difference in providing a reliable, economical hot water to all areas of your home. Air Specialties can help you select the right size and type of water heater to meet your family's needs and your budget.

Options For Heating Water In Your Home     

Conventional Natural Gas and Electric Tank Water Heaters         
Conventional storage water heaters are the most popular type of water heating system for the home. The primary benefits of a tank water heater are the low purchase cost, simple installation and large selection of sizes and configurations to choose from.                  

The main downside to a storage tank water heater is, because the water in the tank is constantly being heated, energy is wasted even when a hot water tap isn't running. However, there are storage water heater models with heavily insulated tanks, which significantly reduce standby heat losses, lowering annual operating costs. These models have tanks that have a thermal resistance (R-Value) of R-12 to R-25.                  

A gas hot water heater can be expected to last 8-12 years, while an electric model will last a little longer at 10-15 years.

Tankless Water Heaters          
Tankless water heaters have been around about 8 years. The benefits of tankless water heaters include:         

  1. Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly - Tankless water heaters are environmentally friendly because they are on average 22 percent more energy efficient than conventional water heaters.  Conventional hot water heaters heat water all the time while tankless water heaters heat the water only when it’s needed.  Since heating water accounts for 30% of the average home’s energy budget the higher efficiency of a tankless gas water heater can save you money on your utility bill.           
  2. Endless Flow Of Hot Water - Tankless water heaters heat water directly with out the use of a storage tank. Therefore hot water is supplied on demand.           
  3. Long life - In the short run, a tankless system will use less energy, immediately lowering your utility bill. Over the long run, a tankless water heater will last about twice as long as a tank water heater, with most systems having a life expectancy of more than 20 years. They also have easily replaceable parts that can extend their life by many more years. In contrast, conventional tank water heaters typically last 10 to 15 years.          

The disadvantages of tankless water heaters include:

  1. Limited Flow Rate - A tankless water heater’s output limits the flow rate of hot water.  Therefore problems can arise when hot water is need for more than one use simultaneously.  For example a shower is being taken at the same time the dishwasher is being run. In this case the hot water flow will be restricted. To overcome this problem, you can change your lifestyle to limit how much hot water is called for at one time or you can install more than one tankless water heater.          
  2. Up-front Costs Are Higher -  A tankless heating unit costs more than a tank heater and gas load requirements may require upgrading gas service. Venting restrictions may also limit where the unit can be installed.
  3. Additional Maintenance Requirements - Calcium build up can decrease efficiency, restrict water flow and damage the unit. While not complicated, performing regular maintenance is essential to the achieve the best performance full lifespan of the tankless water heater.

Hybrid Water Heaters

A new alternative way of heating water is a hybrid water heater, such as the Eternal Hybrid water heater and the GE GeoSpring water heater.

The Eternal has a unique way of heating water. Instead of having a 40 gallon tank like a regular water, or going without a tank like a tankless water heater, the eternal has a 2 gallon tank. Hot water is drawn from the small tank and the unit keeps replenishing the small tank.

The primary benefit of a hybrid water heater is higher flow capacity. When sized right, this means multiple people can take showers at the same time and not have to worry about running out of water.

Another advantage of a hybrid water heater versus a tank water heater is cleaner hot water. That is important if you use hot water for cooking or other uses besides showering. Water in a conventional tank water heater is prone to bacteria growth, rust and sediment.

The main disadvantages of a hybrid water heater are higher installation cost compared to storage tank water heaters and slightly less efficient operation compared to a tankless water heater.

Have water heating questions?  The hot water experts at Air Specialties can help you select the best hot water solution to fit your family's needs and budget.

Extend the Life and Performance Of Your Water Heater With Regular Maintenance

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.

Make Your Water Heater Last Longer With These Tips

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.

Water Heater Leaking? Here's What To Do

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.

Why Choose Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating?

  • NATE Certified Technicians
  • We Accept Visa, Mastercard & Discover
  • Planned Maintenance Agreements
  • Extended Service Agreements
  • Same Day Service On Most Units
  • Free Estimates On Replacement Units
  • Family Owned and Operated For Over 60 Years
  • Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer
  • Heat Pump Specialists
  • We Service All Makes & Models
  • 24 Hour Live Operator Answering Service for Emergency Repair
  • Indoor Air Quality Specialists (Humidification & Air Purification)
  • Puron® Refrigerant Specialists
  • All Employees Are Background Screened For Your Protection
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