Today’s Water Heaters Aren’t What They Used to Be
Water Heater Problems? Need to Buy A water Heater?
If you are like many home owners in Los Angeles and Orange County Area, replacing your water heater is probably one item you’d like to put off buying as long as possible. In truth, most of us take our water heaters for granted until there is a problem -generally, when it begins to leak or stops producing enough hot water for the needs of your household.
When a problem does occur, it’s time to call a licensed plumber in Los Angeles. After inspection, a professional can tell you whether they are able to fix it or if it’s time to replace the unit.
If you haven’t purchased a new water-heater in a while, you may suffer a little sticker shock. Due to new government regulations that went into effect in April of 2015, manufacturers are required by law to make water heaters that are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. And while you may pay more now, the new standards for efficiency should save you money on your heating costs over the long haul.
The Right Water Heater – The Choice is Yours!
Since water-heaters are designed to last for years, you may be a bit surprised to learn there are many more options available to you these days. With the advent of new technology, newer styles and types of heaters have come onto the market.
New water heaters offer the following choices:
- Tank-less water heaters that heat only the water you draw
- Hybrid electric/heat-pump models
- Solar water-heaters
- Condensing Gas heaters
Even with with a heater from this list, most of us won’t recognize an appreciable difference in energy efficiency or a noticeable reduction in the cost of operating your new heater. In most homes, heating water for bathing and cooking accounts for about 20% of your total monthly electric bill.
Larger, 55 gallon units, will require some modifications in order to achieve an efficiency rate of more than the 4% which is standard for the newer heaters.
Should I Fix my Water Heater or Buy a New One?
If you are experiencing trouble with your present water-heater, the decision to fix it or replace it is dependent on a few factors. Generally speaking there is a Rule of Thumb by which you can base your decision.
Warranties do not include the cost of having your unit repaired so if your average cost to fix it is $50 per year or less for the remainder of the warranty, you may wish to keep your old heater. However, should that cost exceed $50, you may be better off buying a new one.
What Size Water-heater is Best?
The capacity of your water heater (the amount of water the tank can hold) will be determined by how much hot water you use daily. If you live alone, a heater with a smaller capacity will do you just fine. If your household is family-sized, with people showering, cooking and running the dishwasher at the same time, then you need a larger capacity unit.
Can I Install the Water-heater Myself?
In the United States, it’s about a 50/50 split on installation. Around half the people install the heaters themselves while the other half rely on a licensed plumber or electrician to do the job.
We recommend caution when installing a water heater yourself. Improper installation can lead to a series of possible problems. If you do not install the water heater correctly, you can damage the unit before it ever gets a chance to work. You also run the risk of voiding the warranty if you install the unit incorrectly. And you can also get electrocuted when wiring it up – you don’t just plug them in.
What are Some of the Newer Type of Water Heaters?
Standard, storage-type water heaters are the ones consumers know best. They are cylindrical in shape and water is introduced through a cold water pipe. The internal coils heat the water and regulate temperature.
Tank-less models are efficient in that they heat the water only when it is needed, passing it over a series of heat conducting electric coils. These are small units, often the size of a suitcase. However, they are expensive to buy and install and have potential issues with the heat exchanger clogging or failing.
Some gas-fired tankless water heaters claim to cut energy costs by up to half over regular storage heaters. But please be warned that these are are more expensive, with a bigger up-front investment, so you should do some comparative shopping first.
Hybrid electric heaters have a heat-pump and use about 60% less energy overall to run. But they aren’t perfect. You’ll need at least 7 feet of space above the unit because that’s where the heat pump sits, they are noisy and can steal heated air during the winter months.
Solar Water-heaters are good if you live in a hot and sunny environment. A roof-mounted collection unit gathers heat from the sun and transfers it to the water heater to heat the water. Some drawbacks are that if you live in cooler or cloudier climates, your energy savings will suffer. Then there is the cost of purchase and installation of solar equipment. Even with government rebates, you can spend thousands on the purchase and installation. And you may not recover those costs for decades.
Common sense dictates you get the unit that suits your needs and offers the best or longest warranty.
Brands of Water-heaters You can Relay On:
Below are some of the top brands of heaters.
Bradford White is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of residential and commercial water heaters. The company offers its products exclusively through authorized Bradford White representatives and wholesale distributors for sale to qualified installers. Mr. Speedy Plumbing & Rooter, Inc., is a licensed distributor and installer of Bradford White water heaters.
General Electric make both gas and electric water-heaters that come in a variety of sizes with varying warranties depending on the chosen model. GE also recently introduced a new Geospring heat pump electric model. Home Depot is the exclusive distributor of GE water heaters. If it’s of any relevance, GE recently sold its consumer appliances division to China.
Available at Sears, Kenmore makes both gas and electric models with various size-capacities.
Their models include Power Miser and Hydrosense and are available at Sears.
Manufacturers of both gas and electric models, Rheem makes residential water heaters in tank, tankless, and point-of-use configurations as well as units that work with solar power.
Rheem water heaters produces water heaters in multiple sizes and with varying warranties. They also come with claims of energy-efficiency that vary with each size. You can purchase Rheem tankless water heaters at Home Depot stores.
Whirlpool manufactures and markets both gas and electric water heaters. Whirlpool offers tank water heaters in multiple sizes with standard and power vent configurations. You can purchase Whirlpool water heaters at most Lowe’s stores.