Hot Water Heaters 101

Choosing a compatible water heater for your living space is best done through a consultation with a professional technician to help you make an informed decision. Based on the information you gather, you can decide whether to buy a tank or tankless water heater.

The Role of Waters Heaters in Your Home

Whether you need to take a warm bath or shower, cook, wash clothes or do housework, water heaters play a major role in daily modern life. Surprisingly, water heaters have changed little in the past five decades since they were introduced to the market. Now manufactured with some specific refinements, modern heaters are greatly improved, having longer life spans, higher efficiency, and more safety features that minimize the risk of injury and property damage. Water heaters work by converting energy to heat, and then transferring that heat to water. Water heaters are connected to a cold water supply pipe and have at least one pipe for outgoing hot water which is then routed to taps and appliances throughout your house.

The Standard Water Heater

Although electric, propane, and solar-powered models of water heaters exist on the market, the most common water heater used in the United States is one fueled by natural gas. It consists of a steel tank with a heating element at the base and a flue extending down the middle of the tank to release the carbon monoxide that forms as a by-product of burning natural gas. This type of water heating tank also has some type of thermostat control on the tank's body that allows you to shut off the gas and control the pilot light. These thermostats are equipped with a temperature-controlled probe sensor that automatically shuts off the gas if it detects that the pilot light has gone out or fails to light. The inner lining of the tank is coated with vitreous glass to protect it from corrosion.

Despite of this protective coating, a small amount of the water heater's steel is exposed which still makes it vulnerable to rust. As a measure to protect the steel lining from rusting, manufacturers will install anode rods in the tanks, made of either magnesium or aluminum. By means of the electrolysis process, corrosion is diverted from forming inside the water heater and instead forms on the anode rods. however, the tank will rust if the anode rod is completely corroded unless the anode rod is replaced.

Energy Saving Water Heaters

The second highest source of energy usage in the home comes from the water heater. Unlike equipment that meets the minimum federal standard, certified ENERGY STAR water heaters can use 50 percent less energy. They are an easy choice for energy savings, performance, and reliability which can save you significant money on your utility bills. If you need to replace your current water heater, or are planning for an upgrade, consider a model that has earned the ENERGY STAR label.

Most homes have conventional water heaters that hold 55 gallons of water or less. If a standard water heater is going to be replaced with a more energy-efficient model, it may be an inch or two larger than the old one and can likely be placed in the same location.

Benefits of Using a Tank Water Heater

A traditional tank water heater has numerous benefits over a tankless model. First, they are much more affordable during initial installation. If connections are already in place, a tank water heater is very easy to install. Another tank benefit is that it provides you instant hot water for up to an hour throughout your home.

The Benefits of Using a Tankless Water Heater

Contrary to the cost of a tank unit, tankless water heaters initially costs a bit more at installation, but are more efficient long term. In actuality, the higher cost spent to install a tankless water heater pays for itself. You don’t have to fill a tank with water and heat it continuously because you only pay for the hot water you actually use. In some case, you can reduce your energy bills from using hot water by as much as 35 percent. Tankless water heaters are designed to last many years before needing replacement and require very little maintenance.

Making a Decision

Make sure you take all factors into consideration when the time comes to select a water heater for your home. Set a budget for your out-of-pocket installation cost and weigh this against your energy savings long term. Determine how much hot water you actually use every day and consider this factor with how much you're willing to pay on a monthly basis. Both water heater options offer several attractive benefits, but if you find that your monthly budget will end up costing you more than your long term expenses, your decision will be narrowed down based on these factors.

If you have a big demand for hot water in your home, and are using it to perform multiple tasks throughout your home at the same time, a larger tank water heater may be the best option. It's important to note, that purchasing a tankless water heater to fit this type of household environment may be incompatible to meet higher performance needs. An alternative option may involve installing more than one tankless water heater throughout your home to handle different levels of usage. However, following this course of action comes with more upfront expense with installation.

How the NAECA Impacts You

Since April 16th, 2015, the performance standards for appliances, including water heaters, has gotten stricter. According to the mandates set by the National Appliance and Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), virtually all residential gas, oil, electric and tankless gas water heaters are required to carry Energy Factor (EF) ratings that are higher than older models. If you decide to upgrade your water heater to comply with these new guidelines, or need help figuring out what type of water heater will work best within your budget, contact us for more information.

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Hot Water Heater Buying Guide

Selecting a new Hot Water Heater isn't something that most people do frequently. Therefore, it is a good idea to refresh your memory on the important features to focus on while shopping for a new Hot Water Heater. Looking at the various types of Hot Water Heaters, fuel sources, spacing requirements and accessories should provide an informative overview to help you make the right decision for your needs.

Types of Hot Water Heaters

Before purchasing a new Hot Water Heater, you'll want to consider the number of family members or how many people will be requiring hot water for showers on a daily basis. Be sure to consider that the more people in the household also increases the need for additional hot water for more loads of laundry and running the dishwasher more frequently.

Also, keep in mind that there are a variety of types of Hot Water Heaters that use various fuel sources, but you may be limited by which fuel sources are available where you live.

Storage Tank

The storage tank design has been around for years, and it is normally reasonably priced and available in a variety of stores and home centers. These may be purchased to run on natural gas, liquid propane or electricity.

In this unit, hot water is generated or heated in the storage tank. People purchase these models based on the number of gallons that the tank can hold and heat, which determines the size you'll want to purchase to provide adequate amounts of hot water when needed.

Always check the recovery rate on each unit you're considering. The recovery rate is the rate at which the unit can reheat water in one hour. Higher hot water demands require higher recovery rates.

Point-of-Use (POU)

The POU is much smaller than most standard units, and it is primarily designed for providing water to garages, workshops or any area where additional hot water may be needed.

Typical sizes range from 2.5 to 20 gallons. POU units are not designed for supplying water to entire households, but they provide hot water to the sink or showers where they are installed such as a secondary bathroom. The majority of units are electric.


Unlike storage tank devices, the on-demand or tankless water device does not store or hold hot water. Instead, water will be heated through coils inside the unit. Although it is typically more energy efficient compared to tank heaters, it does have a slow or limited hot water flow rate of about 3.5 gallons per minute.

The on-demand heater models can be purchased to run on natural gas, liquid propane and electric.


Water is heated using a burner, but units do require sufficient circulating air around them, which means more space for installation. Typically, these run higher than electric Hot Water Heaters to purchase, but they are normally more energy efficient. Size ranges available for purchase include 30 to as much as 100 gallons.

Solar Heaters

The initial outlay for the cost of a solar Hot Water Heater might be expensive, and you may take some years to recoup costs after your investment. There are at least five or more designs available from which to choose. It's recommended to consult with professionals when considering solar for your particular home design.

Generally, water is circulated through solar collectors on the roof of a home and it's heated from the sun. A pump may be used to direct the water into a storage tank where it flows into a conventional Hot Water Heater to supply hot water to the home.

Hybrid Hot Water Heaters

The newer hybrid heaters use heat pumps to extract heat directly from the air surrounding the heater and work in conjunction with traditional electric storage heaters. Hybrids are larger than regular electric heaters and more expensive initially than other units. Size ranges include 50 gallons up to 80.

These save nearly 60 percent on energy costs, but they require more space for installation and are frequently noisier than standard storage tank heaters.

Fuel Sources


Electric units heat water via heating elements that are replaceable. These devices are comparatively less expensive than many other fuel sources to run. They're very efficient and come in 20 to 100 gallons.

Propane or Gas

Storage tanks and tankless devices can be purchased that are designed to run on liquid propane or natural gas from your supplier.

Space Requirements

Standard sized Hot Water Heaters fit in most home fine, but there are times where there are space concerns and a lowboy or tall heater fits the available installation space better.

Short or Lowboys

These are much wider and shorter than standard heaters. However, they usually heat the same quantity of water. The lower height makes them perfect for cabinets or crawl spaces.


Taller heaters may hold 100 gallons, but they are much taller than other designs at 76 inches. These are ideal for garages or basements where height is not such a concern.


Most Hot Water Heaters are designed to stand-alone and don't require additional accessories to function. However, in some instances, you might find them handy. Common accessories on the market include Hot Water Heater stands, pans, blankets, alarms, timers and expansion tanks.

Energy Guide Labels

Federal law requires that new appliances carry an energy guide label for consumers that display energy consumption information. When comparing and shopping for Hot Water Heaters, you should check the information displayed on the large yellow and black energy guide label.

The labels typically provide information about the operating costs and annual energy requirements. The information is provided by averages, so your household may vary slightly depending upon usage.

When shopping for a new Hot Water Heater, take the time to compare brands, fuel source options, storage gallons and water recovery rates. You may also have to factor in installation charges if you require the services of a professional. Consider the cost of each model and what the average monthly or yearly costs are to run the unit. Also, think about how long you plan to stay in the house or apartment to recover your investment.

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Finding the Best Emergency Denver Plumbers

Plumbing contractors are well-known for getting in the trenches to battle over their prices. Unfortunately, this isn’t what the customer wants. When there’s a plumbing emergency in your home, you’re worried about the quality of their work, not their price. While the plumber may feel like the price is their most valuable point, you just want your plumbing system fixed immediately.

Pay For Something Worth Having

In most cases, a plumber that charges the highest rate is the one that provides the best quality service. “You get what you pay for,” applies when it comes to emergency plumbing services. If you want a rock-solid repair that is guaranteed to withstand the tests of time, you need to find an emergency plumber that knows what they’re doing. Their emergency plumbing rate will reflect that confidence.

Your Plumber Should Always Be Prepared

Most highly credible emergency plumbers have an operator available 24-hour a day to help you get the quality service you need, when you need it most. They also have fully-stocked trucks and state-of-the-art equipment that’s ready to handle any plumbing emergency you throw their way. You don’t have to wait around for parts or tools. Reputable plumbers have their ducks in a row before they come to your home or office.

It’s Better To Pay More

Emergency plumbers that provide you with high-quality services have systems in place to ensure your emergency repair service runs as smoothly as possible. It may seem like it’s frivolous to pay a high price for emergency repair services, but it’s not. The better plumbing companies have to charge more for their services, because they have the resources you need in place to ensure you get the repair you need.

Quality Matters Every Time

It’s not hard to argue that the performance you get from the plumbing company is more important than the price you pay. If you pay $50 for a repair that only lasts through the night, you’re not likely to call the same cheap plumber back. However, if you spend $300 on a plumbing repair that lasts for ten years, the chance of you calling the more expensive plumber back is pretty high. You need to know that you’re getting a long-lasting repair, and that your money was put to get use. A more expensive plumber will deliver on that every time you call them for help.

Don’t Hire A Subpar Plumber

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to receive shoddy work from a subpar plumber to avoid having to pay heft unexpected fees. Unfortunately, those same people always wind up calling the more expensive plumber to fix the other company’s mistakes. Instead of paying for your repair one time, you wind up having to pay for the same repair multiple times. This can be avoided by simply investing in the more experienced, expensive plumber first.

Your Plumber Is Experienced

When you’re working with a plumber who charges more for their services, you don’t have to worry about them running into issues they can’t handle. Your plumber can charge more money because there’s nothing they can’t handle. They’ve had the proper schooling, training, and on-the-job experience. There’s never any second guessing when you hire a more high-end plumber. It doesn’t matter if you live in a mobile home or a sprawling mansion, that plumber will not exactly what you need.

The Repairs Last Longer

It can’t be stressed enough that an emergency plumber with higher prices than normal is going to provide you with a repair that outlasts all of their competitors work. This is one of the reasons they can charge you such high rates. You won’t be seeing them next week, month, or year to handle the same repair. Their repairs are long-lasting, and for this reason, they’re worth much more money.

Check Their Credentials

While it’s a good idea to look for more expensive plumbers when you have an emergency, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t research the company. You still need to know that they have credentials, are reputable, and have plenty of experience. This will help you narrow down your perfect candidate. When you find a plumber who is committed to helping people, experienced, and educated, you’re guaranteed to get long-lasting repairs at every turn. It’s not hard for any plumber to mark up their prices. What you need to look for is a plumber with a professional vehicle, proper plumbing equipment, and plenty of referrals available. A reputable plumber will have no issue proving these things to you. They’re likely to do it with a smile on their face.

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