Tankless Water Heaters | Never run out of hot water again!

Tankless Water Heaters

If your water heater tank just called it quits, then you have probably been searching for a replacement tank. During your search you see a tankless water heater! How is that even possible you ask? Should I consider this tankless water heater as a viable replacement option?

So what exactly is a tankless water heater?
It is just as it sounds! A water heater with no tank! The small appliance houses strategically designed coils. When the hot water tap is engaged, the cold water runs directly to the tankless assembly. The unit then instantly heats the water with natural gas, propane or electric heating. This function is great because you have a consistent and never ending flow of hot water to multiple points of use!

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What are the benefits of a tankless water heater?
The obvious benefit to a tankless water heater is the constant supply of hot water. But there are actually a few others that really make this appliance a game changer.
-Tankless water heaters use much less space than traditional water heaters.
-They last significantly longer than traditional tanks
-Reduce your homes energy consumption

Tankless Water Heater

Save space with a tankless water heater

At some point, you have probably thought to yourself: “I really could use that extra storage closet, but the water heater tank is taking up so much room in it.” That is exactly why the tankless water heater is such a great investment. You will no longer have to waste that space with a large tank. The tankless water heater is significantly smaller, about the size of a small suitcase. You can install the assembly on walls or even outdoors. If you only need a small unit for a particular point of use, then you can install it underneath a cabinet. Now you can utilize that storage closet more efficiently.

Tankless water heaters save money in the long run

While you are shopping around for your new water heater, you probably notice the cost difference between the traditional water heater and the tankless water heater. Yes, the initial cost of the tankless may be a larger investment, but you have to remember that this option will save you money in the long run. The tankless heater, on average, is built to last twice as long as a tradition water heater. If a problem does arise with a tankless heater, you can simply replace the broken part. There is no need to replace the entire system. With the traditional water heater, you would need to replace the entire system if something breaks.

The tankless water heater is also designed to run more efficiently; it only operates when hot water is needed. Traditional tanks use energy whenever it needs to fill the tank with hot water, even if hot water is not needed. Research shows a tankless water heater reduces energy consumption by up to 40% when compared to a traditional water heater tank. So overtime, the tankless will pay for itself and end up saving you money on your utility bill.

New Tankless Water Heater

There are many factors to consider when deciding if the tankless water heater is going to be an investment worth making. Weigh the pros against the cons and the startup costs vs long term savings. Shop around and ask your local home improvement specialist to go over any specific questions you may have.

Resources:
http://home.howstuffworks.com/tankless-water-heater4.htm
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/appliances/heating-cooling-and-air/water-heaters/tankless-water-heaters/overview/tankless-water-heaters-ov.htm
http://energy.gov/energysaver/tankless-or-demand-type-water-heaters

Electric Water Heaters, What are they & How do they work?

Water Heater Electirc

Electric Water Heaters

Electric Water Heaters heat and store a quantity of water that you can use at any time. An electric water heater consists of:

  • Elements – Electric water heaters have two heating elements, an upper and lower element that regulate water temperature. Although some designs only consist of only one element.
  • Thermostats – Reads the temperature of the water and can turn elements on or off. Each thermostat has their own corresponding element.
  • TP Valve – Releases water when temperature exceeds 170 to 180 degrees to avoid damage to your water heater.
  • Dip tube – Cold water enters the bottom of the tank through the dip tube, located on the cold side.
  • Anode Rod – Steel water heaters have these to prevent rusting. Periodic maintenance of an anode rod can extend the life of your water heater.
  • Drain Valve –Used to drain the Tank, it either comes in brass or plastic, comes with a ¾ thread, and fits a garden hose.
  • Pipe Nipple – Connectors threaded on both sides that allow plumbing to be hooked up to a water heater.
  • Reset – Located on the upper thermostat, will trip when temperature exceeds 170-180.

 

How do electric water heaters work?

Electric water heaters have two heating elements that use electric resistance to heat the water to the proper temperature. Each element is controlled by either the upper and lower thermostat that you use to set the temperature of the tank. A residential water heater can be manually set to temperatures from 90 to 150, while commercial heaters can be set from 120-180. If temperatures of 170 to 180 are reached the tp valve will release water from the tank, temperatures above 180 will damage your tank.

Electric Water Heater

The upper thermostat is the main controller, which turns on the upper thermostat until 2/3 of the tank reaches the appropriate temperature setting. When the top of the tank is heated, new cold water enters the bottom of the tank through the dip tube pipe. The lower element will continue to run until the tank is the set temperature. During standby, between hot water uses the lower element maintains tank temperature by turning on for one to four minutes every hour. Newer models with more insulation or tanks in warmer areas turn on less frequently.
Installation

  • Electric water heaters can be installed inside any unventilated area, as they do not burn hydrocarbon fuel and don’t require an oxygen supply or vent.
  • When installing your water heater never expose your heater to water or rain.
  • Although electric heaters cost more they can last forever if properly maintained.
  • Can be connected to solar power.
  • Electric water heaters work on any voltage.
  • Insulation prevents heat loss in electric heaters.
  • Some electric water heaters come without a tank.

 

Electric Water Heater Safety

  • A wet water heater is very dangerous and should be worked on cautiously to avoid injury.
  • Do not touch a leaking or flooded heater without first turning the power off as the steel tank can act as a conduit for electricity.
  • I would recommend a non-contact voltage tester when performing maintenance on an electric water heater.
  • Elements will burn out if the water tank is empty.

Electric Tank Water Heater

Gas Water Heaters – Appliances

Gas Water Heaters

Water Heater Gas

There are countless devices that bring modern convenience to our homes. Many residents take these devices for granted, which in turn means that they do not try to understand the relatively simple physics behind them.

The problem with this “hands off” approach to understanding these devices is that it restricts you in how much you can do to fix your appliances. Gas water heaters are one such appliance that can generally be fixed with a few tweaks.

If the time ever comes to have major repairs done to your gas water heater, then knowing how it works will benefit you by validating the need for certain repairs.

Understanding the Tank of Gas Water Heaters

The standard gas water heater utilizes a tank construction. This allows the tank to fill with water while heating the water to a certain temperature, which in turn keeps it hot for people to use.

The reason it’s important to understand how this tank works revolves around the points of failure that can be involved with the tank.

Gas Water Heater Part

Most tanks are constructed from steel, which will inevitably rust when it comes in contact with water. These tanks typically have a glass lining to help prevent corrosion, but it is the magnesium anode that protects the typical gas water heater the most.

This anode acts as a sacrificial rod designed to corrode before the steel does. This means that gas water heaters using this design will eventually fail, which in turn means that there is a limited life expectancy on even the best heaters.
Exploring How Gas Water Heaters Keep Water Warm

The next point to understand involves how gas water heaters alter the temperature of water.

At the bottom of the tank, there is a gas burner that is similar to the burners that most people have atop their gas stoves. This burn produces a flame that heats the water.

As gasses are produced, they escape through the vent on top of the water heater. This keeps the tank from rupturing, which in turn prevents potentially severe accidents.

The regulation system and control valve control how much gas flows to the burner, which in turn controls how hot the water gets. If either of these elements become damaged, then the water heater typically fails to work as it should.
What About Tankless Water Heaters?

Tankless gas water heaters are less common, but they are worth mentioning. They are similar in construction to tank water heaters, but they have a smaller reservoir for heating water.

They also tend to compensate for the smaller reservoirs by heating the water to a higher temperature. This allows the water to be used as needed, which in turn means that less energy may be required in certain situations.

Other Points to Understand About Gas Water Heaters

While you should now understand the basic principles design gas water heaters, there are still some points of information that should be covered.

Gas Water Heater

  • The pilot light is what allows the gas burner to maintain the ability to heat. The pilot requires a small amount of gas to continue working.
  • When gas water heaters run partially out of water, they will try to rapidly refill using the connected water line. This results in the temperature of the water lowering. Some gas water heaters may compensate for this by burning more fuel to produce more heat in a shorter period.
  • Leaking gas water heaters can be extremely dangerous for a number of reasons. Water heaters have a certain amount of pressurized and heated water within them. If a leak occurs, the heater should be turned off until the problem can be fixed to prevent injury and damage.