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PLUMBING • DRAINS • COOLING • WATER QUALITY
Thursday, 14 February 2019 20:07

Why Do I Quickly Run Out of Hot Water?

Why Do I Quickly Run Out of Hot Water?
Does your shower start out nice and hot, then rapidly run out after just a few minute? If the problem is only happening while taking a shower, it could be the shower mixer. A plumber should check the pressure balance and temperature control faucet. When they are not working properly, you will notice a reduction in the hot water pressure as when using a faucet. Temperature control shower faucets have a spring that turns the hot water supply down when it detects a change in the water temperature. As the spring ages and wears out it results in a loss of hot water temperature.

Broken Dip Tube

Another common cause of rapid hot water loss is a broken dip tube. This dip tube is a pipe inside the water heater that passes cold water through the hot water to the bottom of the tank so the burner can heat it up. If the dip tube falls off, the cold water empties into the top of the water heater and overruns the hot water outlet, sending cold water to the shower.

To determine if the dip tube is the cause of the problem and to stop the loss of hot water your plumber will need to pull the cold water inlet pipe out ot the water heater to check  the condition of the dip tube.

Water Heater Age

A water heater will typically last around 10 years. Over time sediment can build up leading to corrosion. The burning will gradually become less efficient and will produce less hot water in the same period of time as it used to. Consider the age of the unit when deciding wether to repair or replace the water heater.

Have water heater problems? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help diagnose the cause and recommend effective solutions to get the hot water flowing again.
Tankless water heaters, or on-demand water heaters, have been around for over a decade now and have proven to be a reliable, energy efficient and a green alternative to tank-style water heaters. When problems do arise is often a result of installation issues or a lack of maintenance.

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters are hi-tech appliances that heat water rapidly only when it's need, resulting in less wasted energy and a nearly continuous supply of hot water. When properly maintained they will last around 20 years. Here are some of the most common problems experienced with tankless water heaters.

Hard Water and Mineral Build-up

Hard water can lead to scaly calcium buildup which can increase the maintenance requirements for the unit. The unit should be flushed with vinegar following the manufacturer's instructions to prevent minerals from reducing performance or potentially damaging the unit. If your home has excessively hard water, it's recommended that a water softener be installed to prevent excessive calcium deposits form accumulating in the water lines.

Corrosion

While you're more likely to experience corrosion problems with a conventional tank-style water heater, tankless water heaters can also be damaged by corrosion if condensation drips onto on the gas burner and causes problems with the gas supply.

Excessive Demand

Before installing a new tankless water heater your plumber will ask about your water usage to calculate which unit will best serve your hot water needs. If you exceed the capacity of the unit by showering, doing laundry and other water-intensive tasks simultaneously, the unit may shut down to prevent damage from over heating. If you use a lot of hot water at the same time in different areas of your home, you may be better off going with a larger tank-style water heater.

Improper Installation

When a tankless water heater is installed it's essential that the unit have enough ventilation to allow excess heat to escape, and in the case of gas units, for exhaust gases to vent to the outside of the home. If not properly vented, the unit may overheat and automatically shut down as a safety precaution.

Have questions about tankless water heaters? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help answer all your water heating concerns.
If the pilot light pilot light on your gas water heater will not stay lit or the burner that will not ignite, you likely have a defective thermocouple. A thermocouple works by sensing the heat from the pilot flame and, when the temperature is high enough, it sends a signal to the gas valve to supply gas to the pilot light.

Water Heater Thermocouple

A thermocouple is an important safety device that prevents gas from being sent to the pilot and burner if there is no source of ignition. If the gas were to continue flowing to an unlit pilot light, the result would be a hazardous buildup of natural gas. While the part sends an electric signal to the gas valve, it doesn't use any electricity itself, but instead uses heat to generate an electrical impulse.

The first sign that a thermocouple is failing is that the supply of hot water is reduced or stopped altogether as the thermocouple receives false signals and shuts off the gas, thinking the pilot light is out. If the pilot light remains lit but the gas supply is shut off, the thermocouple is the likely culprit. A plumber should inspect the unit to diagnose the problem. If the thermocouple has stopped working, it is not repairable and should be replaced.

Have questions about your water heater? Cll ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning.

Thursday, 22 February 2018 16:21

How Often Should I Flush My Water Heater Tank?

If you have a tank-style gas or electric water heater you can extend the lifespan of the unit by regularly flushing the tank to remove sediment build-up that can reduce heating efficiency and shorten the lifespan of the unit. Sediment is caused by minerals in the water that accumulate at the bottom of the tank. Flushing the tank removed the buildup and helps the burner work more efficiently. It also reduces the likelihood that the bottom of the tank will develop corrosion and leaks.

Sarasota Water Heater Maintenance

How often you should flush the tank depends on a number of factors, including the size of the tank, the number of people in the household and how hard your water is. Here is a general guide for how often you should flush your tank.

1 or 2 person household - Inspect the water heater every 6 months and flush the tank every 12 months.

3 or 5 person household - Inspect the water heater every 4 months and drain the tank every 8 months.

6 or more person household: Inspect the water heater every 4 months and drain the tank every 6 months.

Need help maintaining your water heater? Call ABC Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help with all you home pluming maintenance needs.
Thursday, 23 March 2017 01:06

Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heaters

When most people think of heat pumps in the home, it's usually as a source of central heating or cooling. But a heat pump also can be used to heat water. Heat pump water heaters work by transferring heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. As a result, they can be up to three times more energy efficient as a conventional water heater.

To move the heat, heat pumps works sort of like a refrigerator in reverse. While a refrigerator draws heat from inside the appliance and exhausts it to the room, an air-source heat pump water heater draws heat from air in the room and transfers it – at a higher temperature – into the water heater.

Hybrid heat pump water heaters are available as stand-alone, integrated unit with a built-in water storage tank and back-up resistance heating elements. Or, an existing tank storage water heater can be retrofitted with a heat pump.

Heat Pump Water Heater Requirements
To operate efficiently heat pump water heaters need at least 1,000 cubic feet of air space around the water heater with a temperature that is in the 40-90 degree fahrenheit range.To optimize performance they can be installed in a space with excess heat, near a furnace for example.

Have questions about choosing the right water heater for your home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help.
By default, many water heater manufacturers set the temperature on the thermostat at 140 Fahrenheit. For most households, this is simply too high. One rule of thumb: if you can't hold your hand under the tap with the water on it's hottest setting, the water heater is turned up too high, and your wasting energy. In addition, setting the temperature too high increasing the risk of scalding, of particular concern if there are young children or elderly residents in the home.

Setting the water heater to 120 Fahrenheit work well in most cases. Turning the temperature down 20 degrees saves 6 to 10 percent on energy costs. If you're finding that 120 F is leaving you wishing the water was hotter, gradually adjust the setting upward until a comfortable setting is achieved.

Have questions abut your water heater? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help.
When choosing a new water heater there are several types to choose from. Each offers advantages and disadvantages, here is a comparison, starting with the most popular water heater designs.

Storage Hot Water Heaters

Advantages
  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Inexpensive to purchase and install
  • Energy source gas or electric 
  • Average EF rating 0.67
Disadvantages
  • Tank size has increased with NAECA standards, so installation requires more space
  • Limited supply of hot water during extended use
  • Can waste up to 15% of energy through radiant heat loss
  • Life expectancy of 10-15 years

Tankless Hot Water Heaters - On Demand Water Heaters

Advantages
  • Consume 20% to 30% less energy than storage tank models
  • Meets NAECA standards without increase in size or installation costs.
  • Take up less space, can be mounted on a wall
  • Very little standby energy waste
  • Virtually endless supply of hot water
  • Life expectancy of 20 or more years
  • Average EF rating 0.75
Disadvantages
  • Hot water flow rate is limited by the size of the unit
  • Typically more complicated and expensive to install
Tuesday, 17 November 2015 19:06

Troubleshooting Water Heater Problems

When water heater problems arise they usually present a few symptoms, these include:

No hot water

With a gas water heater, this is usually caused by a faulty pilot light, thermocouple or pilot control valve.

Hot water is running out too soon

Sometimes the tank is simply too small to meet the demands of the household for hot water. Other reasons could be a broken dip tube that is allowing cold and hot water to mix or a gas supply issue that is preventing the burner from reaching the preset temperature.

Discoloration of water

Rust colored water is usually an indication that corrosion is happing inside the tank. If the anode rod has failed corrosion can start attacking the inside glass lined tank, discoloring the water.

Water odors

Rotten egg and other smells could mean there is bacteria growing in the tank. Sediment fed by the corrosion of the tank anode tube is usually the cause. Flushing the tank can remove the sediment and the odors.

Unusual noises such as rumbling, popping or whining

When excessive sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank it can cause the water to boil and make noises as it percolates upwards. The tank should be flushed to remove the sediment.

Water leaks near the base of the water heater

Broken temperature or pressure relief valves are usually the cause of water leaks. Also check the plumbing supply connections above the tank for possible leaks.

If the water tank is getting up in years it could be a leaking storage tank caused by excessive corrosion. If this is the case, the water heater will need to be replaced.

Have questions about your water heater? Give ABC Plumbing and Air Conditioning a call, we can help.

Thursday, 08 October 2015 20:36

6 Tips to Save On Your Water Heating Bill

Heating water is one of the most energy intensive tasks in most homes. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to ensure your water heater is working as efficiently as possible and to reduce your hot water usage.

  1. Set the water heater thermostat at 140 degrees or "normal."
  2. Use a water heater blanket to insulate the tank and prevent heat from escaping.
  3. Install energy-saving low-flow shower heads. These will save a significant amount of hot water with little effect on water pressure.
  4. Wash your laundry using a cold water detergent. Many laundry detergents are available that are formulated for cold water.
  5. Fix defective plumbing or dripping faucets. A single dripping hot water faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month. That not only increases water bills, but also increases the gas or electric bill for heating the water.
  6. Wash only full loads in a dishwasher and use the shortest cycle that will get your dishes clean. If operating instructions allow, turn off the dishwasher before the drying cycle, open the door and let the dishes dry naturally.

It's also a good idea to flush your water heater tank at least once a year. This will remove sediment that can reduce heating efficiency and shorten the life of the water heater. 

Have questions about your water heater? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.


Thursday, 04 June 2015 12:03

Water Heater Technology For The Home

Water heater technology has advanced the last 10 years with several options to consider besides the conventional electric or gas tank water heater. Tank water heaters store 20-80 gallons of hot water and are relatively inexpensive to purchase and install. However, because they must maintain a large volume of heated water, they can be more costly to operate. Newer technology is designed to address some of the shortcomings of the traditional water heater.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless or demand-type water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. A gas burner or electric element heats the cold water as it passes through the water heater. Households that require a lot of hot water can benefit the from a virtually endless supply of hot water. One downside to tankless water heaters is they typically cost more to purchase and install, although they can last longer than conventional tank water heaters if properly maintained. Another disadvantage of tankless water heaters is they can take longer to heat the water initially when the tap is first turned on.

Hybrid Water Heaters

Hybrid water heaters are designed to combine the benefits of a conventional tank water heater and a tankless water heater. They have a small storage tank that provides an initial supply of hot water, then heats cold water on demand with a heating element similar to a tankless water heater.

Heat Pump Water Heaters

Heat pump water heaters distribute heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly to providing hot water.

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters use the sun's heat to heat water. A roof-mounted solar collector absorbs the sun's heat and stores it in a special fluid that circulates in a closed-loop system that heats water in a tank.

Have questions about which water heater is right for your home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.

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