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New Regulations Affecting New Water Heaters

Most people don’t think about their water heaters until there’s a problem or they run out of hot water. If that happens to you today, you should be aware of new federal regulations that require water heaters to be more energy efficient. While this may be good for your wallet, it could make choosing new water heaters a bit confusing.

New water heaters must meet new energy regulations effective this past April 16th

New Water Heaters Must Be More Energy Efficient Now

As of this past April 16th, water heaters must comply with new Department of Energy efficiency standards. The water heaters used in most homes won’t seem that different and will get a modest boost in efficiency, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. But larger units — those 55 gallons or more — will need to shift to new technologies to achieve the efficiency gains. Doing so can cut utility bills by 25 to 50 percent depending on the technology used.

While this may seem like a bit of governmental gobbledygook, it’s good news for homeowners because water heating amounts to nearly 20 percent of a home’s energy costs. The new standards apply to gas (50 percent of U.S. households), electric (41 percent), and oil residential tank water heaters. Most tankless water heaters already meet efficiency standards.

The typical home has a water heater that holds 55 gallons of water or less. For such units, the new standards will increase efficiency by an average of 4 percent. According to the ACEEE, water heaters that comply with the new standards are already on the market.

Water heaters that hold 55 gallons or more will see bigger efficiency gains. But this is where it may get a little confusing since to attain those gains the larger water heaters will need to use technologies that are less familiar to consumers including electric heat pump and gas condensing technology. Also known as hybrid waters, heat pump water heaters transfer heat from the surrounding air to the water. The ACEEE says that condensing water heaters are designed to reclaim escaping heat by cooling exhaust gases below 140 degrees F, where water vapor in the exhaust condenses into water.

So what does this mean for homeowners? Simply put, if you’re replacing a water heater that holds less than 55 gallons, the new one may be an inch or two larger and can likely be placed where the old one was unless it was in a very tight spot such as a closet. But if you’re replacing a larger water heater, you’ll have to do your homework as the new units may need more space. Before making a purchase, consult a plumber or contractor.

Brown & Reaves Services, Inc. no longer installs or services water heaters, as we concentrate 100% of our resources and work staff to keeping your home cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. If you find your Myrtle Beach area home running low on cool air this summer, give us a call. 843-497-9867. And make sure you check out our Facebook page for more energy saving tips.

Hot Water Heater Energy Saving Tips

Did you know, when it comes to green living, your hot water heater is a loser? That tank of metal hiding in your garage, attic, or under your stairwell, has one purpose in mind – making sure you’re as comfortable as you want to be.

The challenge starts when the liquid sits and then cools down. The unit is designed to click on to warm it up which produces a constant cycle. This process, however, gets expensive.

In some situations, a hot water heater can be responsible for up to 50 percent of your total electric bill.

Your hot water heater may be using 50 percent or more of the total energy consumption in your home.

Five tips for running your hot water heater more efficiently:

1) Wrap It Up. Your hot water heater can be kept cozy and warm by wrapping it with a fiberglass insulated blanket. This is especially vital if it’s stored in an unheated area, such as a garage or attic. This can cut your losses up to 40%. They’re inexpensive to purchase and to install. When wrapping, be sure not to block the thermostat or air inlets.

2) Invest in Low-flow Fixtures. Every hot water heater will run more efficiently if used less often. The average family uses about 700 gallons of high temperature water each week. Investing in low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators can reduce consumption by as much as 60%.

Use the economy drying setting on your dishwasher and don’t use the pre-wash feature. Dishwashers today are designed to tackle dirty dishes with a vengeance. Rinse dishes before stacking.

3) Check the Temperature. The factory default on a hot water heater is usually set high. To avoid bacteria build up, set the temperature at 120 degrees.

Some units don’t have a numbered temperature gauge so simply put it between the low and medium settings. To check, after a few days, put a cooking thermometer into your tap flow and keep adjusting the setting until the thermometer reaches 120 degrees.

4) Drain Sediment. Your water contains minerals such as iron and other things, which naturally build up in your hot water heater over time. It’s crucial to keep the pipes and drains free of this debris for efficiency.

Check your manufacturer’s manual to find the quickest and most effective method to clean your tank. This should be done one or two times a year.

5) Insulate Exposed Pipes. Wrapping insulation around pipes reduces what is known as standby losses. This happens when a tank constantly increases water temperature and energy is wasted. Wrapping will keep the liquid 2 to 4 degrees warmer. That way it will be warmer quicker when you turn on the tap and that saves energy.

When you turn on the tap or the shower, it’s a great feeling to know you’ll have just what you need and want without much thought as to how your hot water heater delivers it to you. By investing your time and a little effort and money into your hot water heater, you can ensure you and your family will have all the comfort you’ll need or want for a long, long time.

If you’ve tried all these tips and still feel that you need to replace your hot water heater, Myrtle Beach and Conway area residents should make sure to choose a modern, energy-efficient model. Brown & Reaves Services, Inc., can install a new hot water heater for you. Give us a call for a free estimate — 843-497-9867 — or fill out our short inquiry form and we’ll get back to you with a quote, usually within 24 hours.

How to Choose a New Hot Water Heater

Most people don’t just wake up one day and decide, “Today is the day I’m going to get a new hot water heater.” This decision is usually made when you turn on the hot water faucet and only get cold water, or you see water seeping from the water heater you have now.

Tips for choosing a new hot water heaterHopefully you just incur the “lack of hot water” problem, and not one that could potentially mean water damage as a result of a leaking water heater. But whichever problem you have, take a moment to consider the choices you’re going to have to face when deciding which type of water heater to purchase. It may seem like a cut-and-dry decision, but believe it or not, there are many different varieties available, and knowing what to look for can help you make the best choice for your home and circumstances.

Choosing The Right Hot Water Heater

You’ll want to find out if your current unit can be repaired without having to replace it. To get the most for your money, set a price limit of $50 or under per year for each year left on the warranty. If it’s going to be over that amount, you’re better off getting a new one. Let’s review the things to take into consideration when shopping for a new hot water heater.

An obvious consideration is whether you need a gas or electric hot water heater. Within both types, there are multiple sub-types, including tankless, solar, hybrid and the traditional storage tank hot water heater.

A hybrid model can save you a lot of money in the long run if you’re switching from electric to hybrid, but not if you already have a gas heater, because gas is much less expensive than electricity. If you currently have a traditional storage tank model, you may want to consider going with a tankless system because this can also save money. However, if you plan on sticking to a storage tank type, remember the old saying “you get what you pay for” because with these traditional units, the more expensive hot water heaters are generally worth the extra price. Consider a solar powered heater for the greatest amount of cost savings, particularly if your home is situated in a very sunny region or your tank will be able to get direct sun exposure.

After you settle on the type of hot water heater you want, you’ll also have to think about the capacity you will need. The number of people living in your home and their personal habits will greatly impact the size of the hot water heater most appropriate for you. For example, two people who take very long showers may use more water than four people who take short ones. Consult with your plumber about the size of the unit and be sure to talk about not only the number of people in the house, but also how much water they generally use.

The other considerations you’ll want to take into account include what type of warranty is offered, what safety features are included on the unit, and whether or not the hot water heater has a digital display that will allow you to set it on different modes, such as “vacation mode.” This can save money during the times you will be away from home.

It may seem like a lot to digest, but by putting the proper consideration into selecting a hot water heater that’s right for your living situation, you can save yourself time and money in the long run.

Contact Brown and Reaves Services, Inc. We’ll be happy to help you decide which hot water heater is best for you. 843-497-9867. Or contact us here.

Find Brown and Reaves Services on Facebook for daily tips on saving money on all things connected with your home.

Water Heater Issues and Repairs

A water heater is a necessary household appliance that supplies all of your hot water needs, from cooking to bathing. However there are common issues shared amongst many when it comes to this wonderful device. Sometimes there is a leak, not enough or no hot water. Most Myrtle Beach homeowners and renters have encountered these issues at least once. Listed here are the causes of some of these common problems and how you can take proactive measures against expensive repair or replacement.

Water Heater Leaks

Leaking water heater and ways you might possibly remedy it.This is one of the most common issues that customers will call a plumbing contractor about. You usually notice a leak when there is a puddle around the bottom of the water heater or there may be a trail leading back to the tank. When a leak occurs, this is usually due to a crack in the internal tank and replacement is necessary. Over a period of time water minerals can react with steel, which will corrode the heating tanks. Once this occurs, it is necessary for replacement and you should contact your local plumbing contractor.

Sometimes you may not have to replace the entire unit, but call a plumbing contractor for your water heater repair if the leak originates from the top. This type of leak can occur if a plumbing part has malfunctioned.

No Hot Water or Not Enough Hot Water

Another very common water heater repair issue is no hot water. If you have a gas heater and there is no hot water this can usually be attributed to the pilot light going out. You can light the pilot light yourself, however if you have never done so or are not quite sure as to how you should go about it, do not hesitate to call a plumbing contractor. However if you find that you have no hot water with an electric tank it would be a good idea to check your breaker to see if the breaker has tripped.

In the case of not having enough hot water and you have ensured that the tank is not leaking, you can flush the tank so that mineral deposits are not reducing its efficiency. Generally as your heater ages sediment build-up will occur, decreasing the amount of hot water that the heater can produce. This is when flushing the tank is necessary for a quick water heater repair. Go here for a “How To Video” on draining your water heater.

You may also have one of two elements burned out, causing the tank not to provide you with enough hot water. Replacing an element is a very common repair call we get.

These are just a few common issues many people have experienced with both electric and gas water heaters. If you have an issue that is outside of some of these listed above, you should immediately contact us to assess the problem. Sometimes all you need is a quick water heater repair job, but it is wise to get the opinion of an expert to see if replacement may be necessary.

In addition to heating and cooling repairs, Brown and Reaves Services can also service your water heater needs. Call us today. 843-497-9867. Like us on Facebook and grab your 20% Off Coupon on our next service call.

Leaking Water Heater: Ways to Remedy It

Do you have a leaking water heater? It may be fixable yourself.

Leaking water heater and ways you might possibly remedy it.If you see water around the bottom of your hot water heater, you really need to fix it right away before it becomes a major problem. Obviously upon seeing the leaking water heater, you should start to look for the spot where the water is originating from, how bad the leak is and whether it’s repairable.

When Not to Try to Repair a Leaking Water Heater

Lets assume the leaking water heater is leaking from the base of the tank. 99 percent of the time when you see a water leaking from the base it should be replaced. Why? Simply because its typically a result of deterioration and rust. A hot water heater is just a storage tank that holds water, after years of holding water the tank can start to rust and deteriorate which leads to leaks and in many cases appliance failure. There’s really no alternative way to fix tank corrosion and if it’s at the point of leaking, you will be facing replacement of your leaking water heater.

If you are noticing the pipes entering into and out of your leaking water heater are dripping, it might just be your lucky day. In most situations this leak can be fixed just by using a wrench and tightening up the connections. If your fittings seem to be tight, or tightening appeared to have virtually no effect, don’t worry, you can easily still deal with this.

First Steps When Repairing a Leaking Water Heater

The very first thing you need to do is turn-off the power to the water heater and also turn off the water supply. As soon as everything is turned off, use the relief valve to release any pressure built-up within the water heater. Now you may undo the connection that is leaking and cover those pipe threads with a little plumbers tape, which is sold at any home improvement center. Make certain the threads are totally covered and you just need to go around them a couple of times with the tape. Now simply put the pipe back together and tighten it up. Turn the water and power on again and find out if the leak continues.

The relief valve is also a common spot to find water leaking. If the water is coming from the actual spout on the valve this may not be an issue. The relief valve is meant to allow water and excess pressure to release from the tank and sometimes this does occur. However, make sure you check out the temperature settings to make sure the tank isn’t turned up too high and make certain the water heater is working properly by turning on your faucets inside your home and checking the water temperature. Occasionally, relief valves need to be replaced, but this doesn’t happen often.

Relief valves do go bad occasionally and if this is actually the case, you ought to be able to purchase one at your local home improvement center.

If all else fails, or if you feel trying to track down the source of a leaking water heater is beyond your handyman (or woman) abilities, call Brown and Reaves Services at (843) 497-9867. We’ll be happy to troubleshoot your leaking water heater and either fix it, or replace it, whichever is necessary. And don’t forget to LIKE US on Facebook and grab your 20% off discount coupon on your next service call.

How to Drain Your Water Heater

When you drain your water heater periodically, you will prolong the life of your water heater by flushing the sludge from the bottom of the tank.  There are some important steps you need to follow when you drain your water heater, and we’ve put together a short video to walk you through the steps you need to follow, should you decide to drain your water heater yourself.

If you’re afraid of do-it-yourself projects like this, call us today (843-497-9867). We’ll be happy to schedule a time to come to your home and partially drain your tank for you.

Here is another article on How to Drain Your Water Heater.

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