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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.
Published in Hot Water
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 02:00

4 Tips To Save On Hot Water

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.
Published in Hot Water
Wednesday, 08 February 2017 19:50

What Temperature Should I Set My Water Heater To?

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.
Published in Hot Water
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.
Published in Hot Water
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 18:28

Water Heater Leaking? Here's What To Do

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.
Published in Hot Water
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