How to Choose the Best Water Heater for Your Home

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Water heaters are not a one-size-fits-all kind of appliance. Installing one that is too small won’t provide your home and family with enough hot water, and one that’s too big may waste energy and result in higher monthly energy bills. Additionally, you need to consider what type of water heater you’d like and what kind of energy it will use. If you need help choosing and installing a water heater for your home in Alpharetta, GA, call Cool Air Mechanical today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Types of Water Heaters

There are a few types of water heaters for you to choose from:

  • Conventional water heaters – the most popular and well-known type of water heater, conventional water heaters have a storage tank in which the heated water is held for usage. The average lifespan of a conventional water heater is 10-15 years.
  • Tankless water heaters – tankless water heaters, also known as heat-on-demand, do not use a storage tank to provide your home with water. Instead, when you open your hot water tap on a faucet, your cold water is run through a heat exchanger that quickly heats the water and pushes it through your faucet. Tankless systems have an average lifespan of 20+ years.
  • Heat pump water heaters – just as heat pumps for your home transfer heat from one location to another to both heat and cool, so, too, do heat pump water heaters – they just transfer the heat into a storage tank to heat your water. Heat pumps home heating and cooling systems can also heat water, or you can have a stand-alone heat pump water heater. Heat pump water heaters are very energy efficient and have a lifespan of 10-15 years.

Fuel Types

There are 4 main fuel types by which to heat your water:

  • Gas
  • Oil
  • Propane
  • Electricity

Deciding which fuel type to use for your water heater will depend largely on what’s available in your home and your personal preferences.

Sizing

Properly sizing your water heater requires a small calculation.  First, you have to determine your home’s first hour rating, known as FHR. This is the amount of water used during the busiest water-using time of day, such as a weekday morning. To do this, allot 12 gallons of water per person; then add up the number of bedrooms and add 1. Take the number of bedrooms plus 1 and multiply it by the 12 gallons; this gives you your home’s FHR value.

Taking the time to choose the right water heater is critical. Let the trained technicians at Cool Air Mechanical help you install a water heater for your home in Alpharetta, GA.

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When Is an Electric Water Heater a Good Option for My Home?

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

When you need a new water heater in Marietta, it may be difficult to decide on your own which type of unit is right for your home. Today, there are many new types of units available on the market. Storage tank water heaters remain the most popular type due to the lower cost, but tankless water heaters are rising in popularity. In general, however, if you’ve never run into problems with your traditional storage tank water heater, you may decide to replace it with a similar system. But when you need a storage tank water heater for a new home, or if you’re looking at different options, there are two general types of unit, electric and gas-powered, which may lead you to wonder which type is right for you.

Electric water heaters work using the same heat rising principle as gas-powered heaters. A pipe that leads to the bottom of the tank lets cold water in. Here, a burner heats the water from underneath the unit in a gas-powered water heater. With an electric unit, a heating element inside the tank heats the water instead. Hot water naturally rises above the denser cold water and flows into your home through a pipe positioned at the top of the tank.

Both types of units are about equally effective at providing hot water. But for the most part, people choose electric water heaters when they don’t have access to natural gas service. While gas heaters may be more costly than electric, the cost of operation tends to be much higher with electric water heater units because the cost of electricity is higher than the cost of gas in most areas. However, an electric water heater may best for those who need a smaller unit to heat water for a smaller apartment. In fact, you can even upgrade your system with an insulated water heater blanket to prevent heat loss and lower your bills.

The decision ultimately has to do with the size of your home and your family, your energy concerns, particular needs for installation and monthly cost, and what type of system you are replacing. A professional technician will discuss the cost of installation as well as which types of units may be most efficient in your home. Cost will vary depending on what size tank you need and any upgrades you choose, so you should always check with your technician first. For professional water heater installation in Marietta, call the experts today at Cool Air Mechanical.

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Does Rust on My Water Heater Mean It Needs to Be Replaced?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

A water heater puts metal in contact with water, and that’s a recipe for rust (as long as there is also oxygen). Rust is one of the principle enemies of water heaters, a conditioning you want to avoid at all costs. Fortunately, water heaters have precautions that will keep rust away for most of their lifespans.

But if rust does start to form on your water heater, or it appears in the hot water coming from your taps, is it an automatic farewell to the system? Do you need to immediately schedule a replacement?

Not necessarily. But you do need to schedule service immediately from a Duluth, GA water heater specialist to find out what’s wrong, if it can be repaired, and what your installation options are if it can’t. Call Cool Air Mechanical and talk to our water heating technicians as soon as you detect rust anywhere on your home’s water heater. We have technicians standing by, 24/7, for your convenience.

Rust and Your Water Heater

The component that keeps a water heater from rusting is the anode rod, sometimes called the sacrificial anode rod because it draws corrosion to itself so that it won’t enter the water heater tank, effectively “sacrificing” itself to prevent rust. But once the anode rod completely rusts through, it will no longer protect the water tank. This is why it’s crucial to schedule regular maintenance for the water heater; the technician will know when the anode rod needs to be replaced.

If your heater is relatively young (less than halfway to its expected lifespan), then the first appearance of rust is probably because of an anode rod that needs replacement. If you act quickly enough, a repair technician can often save the system from further damage.

Rust and corrosion can also start because of excess sediment inside the tank, so make sure that you have the tanked flushed on a regular basis (usually during maintenance) to avoid this from occurring.

If you have an older water heater that is at, near, or beyond its manufacturer’s estimated lifespan, then the appearance of rust, especially along the bottom of the water heater, is a good indication that it is time for a replacement. Call a specialist for an informed opinion, and then let the specialist help you select a new unit and arrange for skilled installation.

Cool Air Mechanical offers full services for your water heater in Duluth, GA. We handle installations, maintenance, and any type of repair you may need so that you don’t lose your steady supply of hot water.

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Why Your Water Heater No Longer Produces Hot Water

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Your water heater is the unsung hero of the household, dutifully providing hot water for cooking or bathing year in and year out. When it can’t do that job anymore, you need to summon a qualified technician to treat the problem quickly. If you’re in the Atlanta, GA area and you have a troublesome water heater, you won’t have a problem finding reliable water heater repair services that can take care of it. Here’s a quick breakdown of possible reasons why your water heater no longer produces hot water.

  • Malfunctioning thermostat. A thermostat that can’t correctly read the temperature in the water heater won’t be able to activate the burners. You need to get the faulty component in the thermostat repaired, or else replace the entire thermostat.
  • Broken dip tube. The dip tube brings fresh water into your water heater, running the length of the tank to deposit the new water at the bottom. Burners under the tank heat it up, allowing it to rise to the top of the tank and be carried into your home. When the dip tube is broken or malfunctioning, it will release water into the top of the tank, intermingling with the hot water and cooling it off. You need a trained plumber to replace the faulty tube with a new one.
  • Clogged fuel line. If you have a gas-fed water heater, the problem may be that the gas isn’t reaching the heater itself. Clogged lines are not uncommon, and can be cleared up fairly quickly by a professional.
  • Safety shut-offs. In some cases, the water heater has a safety feature that automatically shuts off the burners in the event of trouble. This can take place if the pilot light goes out, if there’s a leak in the gas lines, if the burners are malfunctioning, or any of a dozen other issues. It’s beneficial because it can prevent an explosion or further damage to your unit, but the underlying problem must be corrected if you want the water heater to work again.

If you’re wondering why your water heater no longer produces hot water, then call on Cool Air Mechanical for the answers. We handle all kinds of issues related to water heaters and offer quality HVAC services in Atlanta, GA. We pride ourselves on fixing the problem the first time, every time. Give us a call today and let us show you what we can do!

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Stone Mountain Water Heater Guide: How a Storage Water Heater Works

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

For decades, millions of Americans have used storage water heaters to heat and store hot water for future use, including many people in Stone Mountain. These tanks are very simple and in many cases have become much more energy efficient, but you probably are wondering how they actually work.

The Basics

A storage water heater is exactly as it sounds. A large volume of water is funneled into a storage tank of between 20 and 80 gallons and heated for future use. When you turn on a hot water tap, water from the top of the tank is removed through the hot water outlet and cold water enters the tank through the cold water inlet – replacing the displaced volume and heated by the gas burner beneath the tank.

Water heaters can be electric, gas, propane or oil depending on what is available in your area. When the water temperature falls (as hot water is pulled from the tank), the thermostat opens and the gas burner ignites, heating the water until it reaches the preset temperature of the thermostat and it closes.

The Tank

When a tank is turned on, it is constantly heating the water supply. As a result, standby heat loss occurs. However, modern tanks are being built with exceptionally high insulation ratings (up to R-25) to minimize the loss of such heat. Additional heat loss occurs in gas and oil water heaters that must vent fumes and gasses through an internal flue. Fan assisted gas tanks and sealed combustion tanks reduce this type of energy loss in gas water heaters.

 Determining the Best Water Heater for You

If you want a new water heater for your home, make sure you do your research and learn what types of water heaters will minimize heat and energy loss without reducing your comfort level. Modern tank water heaters are surprisingly efficient, but only certain ones. Cool Air Mechanical can help you determine which option is best for you.

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Hiram Water Heater Guide: What You Need to Know About Water Heater Leaks

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

A leak in your Hiram home’s water heater can be a big or small problem depending on where the leak is, how severe it is and whether it requires repair or replacement. Here are some things you should know about water heater leaks that will help you determine who to call and how to act.

Where Is the Leak?

Step one is to determine where the water is coming from. Look for leaks around the fittings and valves attached to the device. If one of them is loose or if you see water dripping from a connection, it can probably be fixed relatively easily. However, if the leak is coming from the body of the water heater, you may have a ruptured tank which is a sure sign of a bad water heater that needs to be replaced.

Draining Your Tank

Once you identify the leak, turn off the water supply to the tank and prepare to drain it the rest of the way. You should also disconnect the power from the device. If the water heater is gas, I recommend you call a professional who is certified to work on gas appliances. For electric water heaters, you may still want a professional, but the next step here is to simply turn off the breaker to stop electricity from flowing to the device.

Drain the tank next, using the bucket to capture the water as it is released. If you have a floor drain and can angle the tank over the drain, go ahead and do that now. Once the tank is empty, it is time to tighten your fittings.

Fixing the Problem

Assuming this is a fittings or valve problem, loosen any fittings that appeared to have leaked, repair the plumbing thread and retape the pipes, finally tightening the fittings back into place. The pressure valve may need to be replaced as well – do this now if it is necessary.

Before reapplying the electricity to the water heater, reattach the water supply and turn it on to check for leaks. If it holds water, you are lucky and your water heater’s tank isn’t leaking. Reattach everything and turn it back on.

If you notice the leak continues, you should call Cool Air Mechanical as it is likely the glass inside your tank has cracked or is leaking. Most of the time, this cannot be repaired and means you need a new water heater installed.

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Lithia Springs Water Heater Maintenance: How to Extend the Life of a Water Heater

Friday, January 27th, 2012

To avoid having to pay for replacing your Lithia Springs home’s water heater, your best course of action is to take care of the water heater you have. Many homeowners forget about this simple part of household maintenance, probably because water heaters are so often out of sight that we take them for granted. For a simple start on water heater maintenance, try this three-step annual routine:

  1. Lower the temperature on your water heater to somewhere between 115 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is more than adequate for all household functions, and it will keep the water heater from overheating. Locate the knob on your unit (refer to the manual or manufacturer website if you have trouble) to dial it down. You’ll never notice the difference in temperature, but your water heater will have to work less and your energy bills will be lower.
  2. Test the temperature and pressure valve by lifting the valve lever part of the way up, then allowing it to snap back into place. This should be followed by a gurgling sound as water is briefly released from the tank into the drain tube. If not, the valve may need to be replaced.
  3. Flush the tank on a smaller scale. Rather than doing a full flush of the water heater, you can do a smaller one in much less time. To do this, just put a bucket under the drain valve and release the valve. When the bucket is full, close the valve back up and drain the bucket outside or into a sink. This will help get rid of sediment, but takes much less time than draining the whole tank.

It is also recommended that you get a professional inspection of your water heater on a regular basis, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This three step plan is a good interim measure, however, and it only takes a few minutes each year.

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How to Lower Energy Costs for Your Atlanta Home: Water Heater Tips

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

If you want to lower the energy costs for your Atlanta home, the water heater might not be the first place you’d think to save energy. However, when you add up the savings from a few easy steps that can improve your water heater’s efficiency, it can make a significant difference in your utility bills.

Here are some of the ways you can reduce the use of hot water in the home and increase your energy savings.

Saving Energy by Using Less Hot Water

Even if you own an energy-efficient, tankless water heater, and you try to conserve water as much as possible, hot water usage can always be reduced in other areas. Installing low flow faucets and fixtures can provide up to 60% in water savings because they reduce the flow rate (gallons per minute) for each fixture. Tankless water heaters are also more efficient when they are used with any application with a lower flow rate.

Replacing older appliances that require a lot of hot water with more energy-efficient models is worth the money and effort because of the energy savings you will get in the end. Make sure you fix any leaks on older hot water faucet or fixtures. A leak that costs a dollar or two extra per month doesn’t seem like much, but it will add up over time.

Lower the Temperature on Your Hot Water Heater

For every 10°F that you lower the water temperature on your hot water heater, you save between 3% to 5% in energy costs. The manufactured setting for most water heaters is 140°F, but most homes only require a maximum temperature of 120°F. Check your owner’s manual before you lower the temperature on your water heater to find out what the recommended settings are and how to change them.

Insulate Your Water Heater Tank and Water Pipes

Whether you have a gas or electric hot water heater, you can find fairly inexpensive and easy-to-install insulators or “jackets” for your water heater tank. Every tank has an R-value that determines how much heat it loses, so unless it is a high value, your water heater tank needs insulation. Call a professional or check your owner’s manual for the R-value of your hot water heater, but the general rule is that if the tank is warm when you touch it, you need more insulation.

You can reduce emissions and your energy costs simply by paying more attention to how much hot water you are using in your Atlanta home. For more tips and expert advice, call Cool Air Mechanical to speak with one of our technicians.

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