Tag Archives: water heater

During Cold Spells, Don’t Forget to Bundle Up Your Water Heater

During Cold Spells, Don't Forget to Bundle Up Your Water HeaterThe costs of water heating ranges from 14 to 20 percent of the average household’s energy budget. That’s plenty of incentive to keep your water heater in good working order — especially during cooler weather. Use these tips to keep a tight lid on your hot water bill this winter, help your system run better and to enjoy uninterrupted hot water service.

Signs of Wear

Take a look at the storage tank. Do you see any rust spots or water stains? These are signs of leaky gaskets. Ask your service provider to inspect the unit.

Another sign that your water heater needs professional maintenance is fluctuating hot water temperatures. Common causes for this are a failing heating element, sediment buildup inside the tank, a broken dip tube or faulty thermostat.

Temperature Check

If your water heater is heating up water greater than 120 degrees, you’re wasting energy. Use a thermometer to check hot water temperature at a faucet. Turn back the temperature dial a notch and wait a few hours before checking water temperature again.

Insulation

Inefficient water heaters lose more heat energy through the sides, top and bottom of the tank. This is called standby heat loss, and makes your system work harder — use more energy — to keep stored water at a consistent temperature. Insulation jackets and sleeves for the storage tank help reduce standby heat loss, reduce wear, and save you money.

You should also insulate the pipes at the storage tank, under sinks and at your clothes washer. Insulating pipe sleeves increase water temperature, reduce waiting time and save you money, too.

Drain the Tank

If you don’t flush out your storage tank once a year, you are flushing money down the drain. Mineral and sediment buildup inside the tank reduce heating efficiency and shorten the lifespan of your water heater. Your service provider should flush the tank during preventive service. However, you should drain a gallon of water at the temperature pressure and relief valve every couple of months.

For professional water heater assistance, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve served Portland-area residents since 1976!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Water Heater Sizing: Does Your Home Need More Than One?

Water Heater Sizing: Does Your Home Need More Than One?If you have a long wait between turning on your faucet or showerhead and getting hot water, you may think that there’s nothing you can do about it. It just takes as long as it takes, right?

The truth is, there is a solution that many homeowners aren’t aware of – installing multiple tankless water heaters near the points of demand is the solution.

What is a Point of Demand?

Any point where you need hot water to come out is called a point of demand. This includes your kitchen sink, washing machine, showers, and bathroom sinks.

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

First, let’s think about a traditional water heater. With this type of water heater, water fills up a large tank. The water is heated up, then kept at the same hot temperature while it waits to be used. When you turn on a hot water tap, the water flows from the tank to your point of demand.

This system has pros and cons:

  • Pro: Stores a lot of hot water
  • Con: Uses energy to keep the water hot all the time
  • Con: Can be susceptible to rusting out and flooding your home

A tankless water heater is a much smaller unit that’s installed on a wall along the path of the pipe. When you turn on the hot water tap, water flows through the pipes and also through the tankless heater. Inside the tankless heater, the water is warmed up before it finishes its journey to your faucet.

Because tankless heaters are not as large as traditional models, it’s possible to place one near each main point of demand in your home. This allows hot water to get to your tap faster, reducing the wasted water that runs down your drain while you wait for it to heat up.

Additional Pros and Cons:

  • Pro: Requires less energy because they are not keeping water hot at all times
  • Pro: Avoids the “rusted out” problem of traditional models
  • Con: Higher initial investment

Need more information about how multiple water heaters can help in your Portland-area home? Contact Roth Heating & Cooling today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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How to Understand Energy Star Guidelines

Lowering Bills with Lower Water Heater Temperature

How to Understand Energy Star GuidelinesFinding ways to save energy is on the minds of many homeowners these days. One area of your home that you may need to take a second look for savings is your water heater. After all, energy consumed for water heating in the average home is second only to the HVAC system. Use these tips and information for how and why you should lower your water heater temperature.

Lower Energy Bills and More

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), water heating accounts for approximately 18 percent of the energy consumed in the average home. By turning back your water heater’s factory temperature of approximately 140 degrees, or higher, to 120 degrees, you may expect to save 10 to 12 percent of water heating costs.

Additionally, water temperatures in excess of 140 degrees can cause scalding in a matter of seconds — especially in the very young, elderly, and physically or mentally impaired populations.

A lower water heater temperature reduces or slows corrosion and wear on your water heater and pipes, too. The higher the temperature, the faster that mineral deposits accumulate, which reduces efficiency and additionally increases energy bills.

Lower Your Water Heater Temperature

It may take a few tries and a few hours to adjust your water heater temperature just right. Here’s how to do it:

  • Use a thermometer to measure the temperature of hot water at the tap most distant from the water heater.
  • For gas models, turn back the thermostat dial located on the gas valve to the “low” setting.
  • For electric models, remove the bottom and top panels that cover the thermostats (some models have only one thermostat located on the bottom). Turn back the thermostat dial a few notches.
  • Give your water heater four hours for the temperature to fall.
  • Using your thermometer, measure hot water temperature again at the most distant tap.
  • Repeat as necessary until the temperature is at 120 degrees.

If you haven’t scheduled water heater maintenance in more than one year, contact Roth Heating & Cooling for an appointment, and we’ll take care of adjusting your water heater temperature for you!
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “TBIT/Pixabay”

Discolored Hot Water: Here’s What it Means

Discolored Hot Water: Here’s What it MeansTurning on a faucet in your home and seeing a flow of discolored hot water can be worrisome. There are several possible reasons why water discoloration occurs, and knowing how to identify the cause can help you decide whether you need to call a professional plumber.

  • Disturbances in the municipal supply — You can experience occasional water discoloration when fine sediment in the mains gets stirred up by hydrant use, routine maintenance, breaks or construction/repairs. Disturbed sediment normally settles within a few hours, and you’ll know this is the culprit if the flow from the faucet clears up on its own. To get rid of any remaining sediment, open all your faucets and let them run for several minutes.
  • Mineral sediment in the water heater — When water is heated, naturally-occurring minerals like calcium and magnesium form into scale particles that collect in your water heater tank over time. A severe sediment buildup not only discolors the hot water arriving at the faucets, it can block the gas burner or electric elements, reduce heating efficiency and eventually ruin the appliance. You can prevent these problems by draining and flushing the tank annually.
  • Decaying galvanized pipes — If you’re seeing orange or rust-colored water at both the hot and cold faucets and your home’s water pipes are galvanized steel, corrosion is the most likely cause. Galvanized pipes are protected on the outside by a zinc coating, so they deteriorate from the inside out. Before leaks start to occur, have your home’s water lines inspected by a licensed plumber to determine if they need replacement.
  • Water heater deterioration — If your cold water supply is clear, but the hot water flow has a brown or rusty tinge, the problem may originate in your water heater. If the appliance is more than 10 years old and you see evidence of rust on the exterior of the tank, there’s likely significant corrosion inside as well, and the unit should be replaced before it fails.

If you have a problem with discolored hot water in your Portland home and need expert advice, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Here’s How to Know if You Need a New Water Heater

Here’s How to Know if You Need a New Water HeaterA reliable supply of hot water in your home is a necessity, so don’t wait until your water heater fails and you’re facing an emergency replacement. How can you tell if you need to invest in a new water heater? Pay attention to the following signs, then get the advice of a professional plumber.

Appliance Age

The average lifespan of a water heater is between six and 10 years. Exactly how long your heater lasts depends on whether its gas-fired or electric, its workload, whether it’s well-maintained and if you have hard water. If your heater is getting older, you can avoid the headaches of serious age-related problems by replacing it now.

Rust Development

If your water heater has started to deteriorate, you may see rust developing around the tank seams, the temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve, the water supply lines, or the drain valve. If the hot water coming from your faucets has an orange or rust-colored tinge, the inside of the tank is starting to corrode.

Water Leaks

Even minor water leaks are a serious cause for concern, especially if they occur around the bottom of the tank. Replacing a leaking water heater promptly can let you avoid the mess of a sudden flood and the expense of water damage repairs.

Tank Noise

As water is heated, certain minerals it contains form into solid sediment that settles to the bottom of the water heater and causes popping and rumbling sounds inside the tank. Accumulating sediment gradually decreases your water heater’s energy efficiency, and will eventually cause it to fail.

Water Temperature Issues

Neglecting to flush your water heater to remove sediment allows it to build up and insulate the elements or burner. This makes it more difficult for the appliance to heat water to the temperature setting on the thermostat. If your hot water faucets are producing only a lukewarm flow, you have a serious sediment problem.

If you’re unsure whether it’s time to have a new water heater installed in your Portland home, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling for expert advice.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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What’s the Best Location to Put Your Tankless Water Heater?

What’s the Best Location to Put Your Tankless Water Heater?Where you put your tankless water heater affects how convenient and efficient it is to use. Finding the ideal location helps ensure you’ll have plenty of hot water even during the chilliest Portland winters.

Installing a Whole-House System

If you’re replacing a conventional storage tank water heater, the new tankless water heating system can usually be installed where the old system was. This is optimal because the gas and water pipes are already in place. In some cases, however, larger gas lines will have to be installed to meet the water heater’s demand.

The venting needs of a tankless system also affect its placement. If the system will be vented through the wall, the vent must be at least 3 feet from any operable window. If the system will be vented through the roof, you’ll need to make sure it’s possible to install a vent that’s long enough. For example, it may not be possible to place a large water heater in the basement of a two-story home and vent it through the roof.

Installing Point-of-Use Water Heaters

For a tankless system intended to supply only a few applications, the system is usually best placed as close as possible to the appliance or faucets it will supply. Keeping the water heater close ensures you’ll get hot water quickly and reduces the amount of heat lost from the water as it travels through the lines. That said, your home’s plumbing configuration and the location of the electrical panel also influence where you can install a tankless water heater.

For safety reasons, don’t place the water heater under pipes or air conditioning lines that could drip. Likewise, don’t put the water heater above an electrical box, which could catch fire if the water heater drips.

Get familiar with your local building codes as they pertain to water heaters. Systems installed on a second floor or in a finished attic may be subject to additional regulations.

For more tips on installing a new tankless water heater, get in touch with us at Roth Heating & Cooling in the Portland area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Mile Atanasov/Shutterstock”

Looking to Save Money This Fall? Turn Down Your Water Heater Temperature

Looking to Save Money This Fall? Turn Down Your Water Heater TemperatureSaving energy saves money. It also reduces your Portland home’s carbon footprint, which helps the environment and preserves resources. If you haven’t considered that your water heater temperature can affect energy bills, you may want to reconsider. Read on for easy energy-saving tips for water heating.

Benefits of Lower Temperature

Water heater temperature from manufacturers is generally set to 140 degrees. The reason is to kill or neutralize germs and bacteria. Though, water temperature this hot can cause scalding, increase energy costs, and lend to corrosion of the water heater and pipes.

A hot water temperature of 120 to 122 degrees has been found effective at controlling germs and bacteria, and you can save as much as 10 percent on water-heating costs. Since water heating accounts for up to 20 percent of total household energy usage, you can keep more money in your wallet and prevent scalding with lower temperatures.

Turn Back the Thermostat Dial

Turning down the water heater temperature is a simple task. The thermostat for gas water heaters is on the gas valve. Turn it back toward the “low” indicator, wait a few hours, and test water temperature at the most distant faucet.

For electric water heaters, you’ll need to remove one or two panels on the bottom and top of the tank. Turn off the circuit breaker before you do this. Set both thermostat dials to the same setting. Wait a few hours and test the temperature with a thermometer at a faucet.

More Water Heater Savings

Water heaters offer more ways to save energy and keep more energy dollars in your pocket. Consider these tips:

  • Schedule water heater maintenance each year.
  • Use foam sleeves to insulate the inlet and outlet pipes to the water heater.
  • Continue on and insulate all hot water pipes in your home.
  • Drain one gallon of water from the drain bib every other month to reduce sediment and improve efficiency.
  • If you have an older system, wrap it with insulation designed for your model to reduce standby heat loss.

If you have questions about lowering water heater temperature, contact Roth Heating & Cooling today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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5 Ways to Maintain Your Water Heater to Keep It Running Longer

5 Ways to Maintain Your Water Heater to Keep It Running LongerThe water heater is one appliance that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves until problems develop. If you’re like most homeowners, you may not realize that maintaining your water heater is critical to keep it running reliably. Ensure your water heater has a long life with these tips.

Maintenance Tips

  • Check the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. Be sure to check the specific instructions found in your owner’s manual before performing any maintenance on the appliance.
  • Test the temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve regularly. The T&P valve is a vital safety feature designed to open and release hot water if the temperature or pressure inside the tank reaches unsafe levels. To keep it functional, test it every six months.
  • Flush the tank twice a year. Minerals in water form turn into sediment deposits during the normal heating process. Over time, they’ll build up on the gas burner or electric elements and decrease efficiency. They can also clog the drain and water lines and shorten the water heater’s life span. To avert these issues, flush out the tank twice a year.
  • Make safety a priority. If you prefer to tackle water heater maintenance yourself instead of hiring an experienced professional, take proper safety precautions like wearing goggles, gloves and protective clothing to prevent scalds and burns.
  • Note the installation date. The expected life span of a water heater is approximately 10 to 13 years. Keeping the appliance’s age in mind can help you plan ahead for the best replacement option so you’re not left in a lurch by an unexpected failure.

Along with routine maintenance, you can take additional steps to keep your hot water costs in check.

  • Lower the thermostat setting to 120 degrees and insulate accessible hot water pipes.
  • If the tank feels warm to the touch, add an insulated jacket.
  • Get plumbing leaks fixed promptly and have low-flow shower heads and faucets installed.
  • When purchasing a new dishwasher or clothes washer, opt for the most efficient model possible.

For more advice about maintaining your water heater, contact the Portland home comfort experts at Roth Heating & Cooling.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Common Issues Water Heaters Present to Portland Area Homeowners

Common Issues Water Heaters Present to Portland Area HomeownersYou may not even notice the hard-working water heater humming along in your basement or utility closet until troublesome issues arise. Identifying water heater problems quickly and calling in a plumbing professional to make needed repairs is the best way to avoid any headaches or inconvenience. Here’s how to diagnose the most common water heater issues.

No Hot Water

If you suddenly have no hot water, check whether the heater’s pilot light has gone out. If you’re comfortable doing so, you can attempt to re-light it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have an electric model, the element may have failed. A pro can pinpoint the exact cause and get it fixed quickly.

Loud Popping Sounds

Unusual noises from inside a water heater tank are typically caused by scale and sediment buildup in the heat exchanger or on the electric elements. It’s wise to have the water heater drained to remove accumulated sediment as soon as possible. If it’s not addressed, scale buildup can eventually ruin the tank.

Drop in Water Temperature

A noticeable drop in water temperature can signal trouble with the thermostat, a deteriorated dip tube or sediment buildup. Increasing the heater’s thermostat setting may work as a short-term fix. For a long-term solution, have the unit examined by an experienced technician.

Water Leakage

If water is seeping out the tank, it’s vital to find the source. Check around the pressure relief valve, drain valve, electric elements and gas control valve. A leaky pipe on top of the tank or a corroded welded seam are other possible culprits. Once you have the source identified, a pro can repair the issue or advise whether replacing the heater is necessary to prevent a plumbing emergency.

Low Hot Water Pressure

Several water heater issues can cause low hot water pressure, including a malfunctioning shut off valve or sediment clogging the tank, water lines or dip tube. A licensed plumber can determine the cause and get the issue resolved.

For expert help solving water heater problems in your Portland home, contact the pros at Roth Heating & Cooling.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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How the Changes in Water Heater Efficiency Standards Affect You

How the Changes in Water Heater Efficiency Standards Affect YouWater heater efficiency standards have been upgraded in 2015. New specifications issued by the Department of Energy (DOE) increase the required efficiency of gas, oil and electric storage tank water heaters as well as tankless water heaters. Over the next 30 years, these changes are projected to produce an $8 billion in energy savings and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 150 metric tons.

Water heater efficiency standards are reflected by the energy factor (EF), a decimal number expressing the ratio between the volume of hot water produced and the units of energy required to heat it. The higher the numeral, the more efficient the unit. EF is prominently displayed on the yellow EnergyGuide sticker affixed to new water heaters.

As of April 16, 2015, these new EF minimums become official:

  • Gas-fired storage tank heaters smaller than 55-gallon capacity must have an EF of at least 0.675. For units greater than 55 gallons, the new standard is 0.80.
  • Electric storage tank heaters with 55-gallon capacity or less are required to have a minimum EF of 0.960, while units larger than 55 gallons must be at least 2.057.
  • Oil-fired storage tank models smaller than 50 gallons have a new minimum of 0.68.
  • For tankless water heaters, the new gas-fired minimum EF is 0.82 and the EF for electric models is now 0.93.

Consequences for the Consumer

  • The purchase price of new water heaters is expected to rise, at least initially.
  • New considerations may affect installation. Units with higher EFs are slightly larger than the older standard efficiency units, mainly due to the increased amount of tank insulation. While this is only a difference of a few inches in both height and diameter, a small water heater closet may require alterations to accommodate a new unit.
  • Options for homeowners who require tank capacities exceeding 55 gallons will now be limited to high-efficiency gas-fired condensing water heaters or heat pump water heaters.

If you have more questions about water heater efficiency standards, the professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling have the answers.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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