Category : water heater

What Size Water Heater is Right for My Home?

Water Heaters Installed by Oliver

Your home’s hot water system plays a vital role in both the comfort and health of your family. But, how big does your water heater need to be? Determining the right size depends on a number of different factors. First, you need to think about how many people are in your home and how often they use hot water. Second, consider your appliances and how you use them. Some fabrics require hot water to be used exclusively in a washing machine, and some dishwashers utilize hot water throughout the washing cycle.

Additionally, space and placement are considerations when choosing the right water heater. Some homes require a full-size unit that can be located in a garage or closet, but others may need a more compact heating solution. No matter how your home is configured, the plumbing specialists at Oliver can help you find the right water heater for your family’s needs.

Oliver Hot Water FaucetEstimating in Gallons

To help you figure out your usage, we’ve provided some averages based on the number of gallons used per day in a typical household:

  • One or Two People – Up to 36 gallons per day
  • Two to Four People – Up to 46 gallons per day
  • Three to Five People – Up to 56 gallons per day
  • More Than Five People – Add 10 gallons per day per person

Do You Need to Repair or Replace Your Water Heater?

Water heaters typically last for approximately 10 years before needing to be replaced. In some cases, a repair may be a more cost-efficient option if your unit is fairly new but is experiencing problems. In other situations, replacing a unit may a better choice. If you’re experiencing issues with your hot water heater, you’ll be happy to know that Oliver’s trained experts are available 24 hours a day to provide quality repair and replacement services. We’ll offer you a range of options within your budget so that you can make the best choice for your home and your needs.

Contact Oliver to Learn More Today

Oliver is proud to provide hot water heater solutions from top name brands at affordable prices in the Delaware Valley. Our plumbing experts can inspect and evaluate your current system and recommend a new unit that will ensure you and your family are able to enjoy hot water whenever you need it. To learn more about our water heater installation services, contact our team today.


Water Heater Maintenance Facts You May Not Know

water heater maintenance

Your water heater is an important part of your home. Unfortunately, we often don’t realize it until one day, something goes wrong and we’re out of hot water. At Oliver, we suggest a water heater maintenance plan that can help keep your system running smoothly. We’ll evaluate your water heater on a regular basis to make sure it’s still in health and if not, we’ll fix it or replace it.

Here, we share some water heater maintenance facts you may not know:

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Is Your Hot Water Heater Leaking?

water heater leaking

Have you noticed water around your water heater? Even if it’s a small trickle, your water heater may be leaking. At Oliver, we suggest addressing the issue quickly before it gets any worse. Contact our plumbing experts – we can determine exactly what’s going on and what needs to be done to stop your water heater leaking.

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Water Heaters: Tank vs. Tankless

water heater service

These days, a water heater is an essential appliance in your home. Without one, you can’t take hot showers, wash your clothes in hot water, or use your dishwasher. Whether you’re buying a new hot water heater or looking for a replacement, here are some things to know:

How They Work

When deciding on a water heater, you’re going to want to know how each type operates. In a tank water heater, anywhere from 30 gallons to 80 gallons of water is stored in a large tank and is continuously heated. This means the water is ready to go whenever you turn your faucet or shower on. When you turn on the hot water using a tankless water heater, however, the water you need will travel into the unit on-demand and be heated by a heating element before it’s distributed.

Cost

As you can probably imagine, tankless water heaters cost about three times more than tank water heaters. This is because these units usually require larger gas lines and vent lines than tank units. Also, when it comes to replacements, a new tank water heater can usually use the same lines as the old one, whereas a tankless water heater may need new lines. Tankless water heaters tend to last a few years longer, however.

Energy Efficiency

Generally, tankless water heaters are more efficient than tank water heaters, however, the way you heat your home (whether it’s via gas or electricity) can play a part. According to energy.gov, “gas-fired tankless water heaters tend to have higher flow rates than electric ones [and] can waste energy if they have a constantly burning pilot light.” This means that they can be less efficient than a gas-fired tank water heater, since the pilot light constantly heats the water and the energy is wasted.

Power Outages

If you’re in an area that experiences frequent power outages, you may want to stay away from tankless water heaters. Because they don’t store hot water, you won’t be able to activate their heating element if you don’t have power. With a tank water heater, however, you’ll have a supply of hot water (though limited).

If you’re still not sure which water heater is right for you, call our water heater service experts. We’ll explain more about each kind and find out which fits your lifestyle.


3 Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Your water heater is one of the most important parts of your home – it’s used for everything from showering to doing laundry to washing dishes and more, which is why it’s important to maintain it. Learning how to do simple maintenance on your water heater can extend its lifespan and keep it running smoothly all year long. Here, our water heater experts share some tips:

Checking the Pressure Valve

Whether you have an electric water heater or a gas-powered water heater, you’ll find a safety devices called a temperature and pressure relief valve. It’s important to make sure this valve is operating correctly because if it’s not, it can mean an explosion.

First, turn off the power to the water heater and shut off the cold-water inlet. Next position a bucket of water underneath the valve and pull up the lever. (You should hear a rush of air and see some water vapor.) If water continues to flow out of the valve, drain the tank partway, unscrew the old valve, and replace it with a new one.

Replacing the Anode Rod

A water heater’s anode rod protects the exposed steel of the water heater when the tank is filled through a method called electrolysis. Because the rod protects from rust, it can become coated with calcium carbonate and should be replaced.

Start by connecting a garden hose to the tank’s drain valve and open the pressure relief valve and the drain valve. Let a few gallons of water drain out and close the drain valve. Next, look for the hex head of your anode rod on top of the heater or under the top plate. Once you locate it, fit a 1 1/16-inch socket onto the head and unscrew the rod. Examine it – if it’s less than 1/2 inch thick or covered in calcium carbonate, buy a new one, wrap its threads with Teflon tape, and replace the rod.

Flushing the Tank

As your water heater gets older, sediment will begin to settle in the tank and not only reduce the heater’s efficiency, but clog the lines. This is why you should flush your tank on a regular basis.

First, start by turning off the power to your water heater and shut off the cold-water inlet. Connect a garden hose to the tank’s drain valve and make sure the other end of the hose is in an area that won’t be negatively affected by hot water. Open the pressure relief valve, then open the drain valve. Let the tank drain completely and close the relief valve and drain valve. Turn the cold-water inlet back on and open up all hot water spigots in your home to refill.

If you’re uncomfortable working on your water heater, don’t hesitate to call our water heater experts! We can have your heater maintenanced in no time!


On Choosing a Hot Water Heater…

At Oliver, we know no one likes to take cold showers or wash their dishes with cold water. If you’re in the market for a new water heater, we can help you find the best one to fit your lifestyle.

Here are some things to consider:

Fuel Types

Before you decide on a water heater, you’ll have to figure out which type of fuel you’re going to use to operate it. The two most common fuel types are electric and gas, and while both can heat water, there are some differences:

Electric

Electric water heaters are available in both storage type and tankless type. They can use one or two heating elements to heat your water and are usually less expensive to install than gas water heaters.

Natural Gas

Unlike electric water heaters, gas water heaters use a burner to heat your water which heats the water much quicker than electric types. These are also available in both storage type and tankless type.

Size

Water heaters come in all different sizes, and which you choose depends on how much space you have to install it and how much hot water you’ll need. When you make an appointment with one of our water heater installation experts, we can help you decide which size water heater size is your best option.

Styles

There are three main styles of water heaters:

Storage

Storage water heaters are the most traditional style of water heater. Once the water is heated, it is stored in an insulated tank and you’ll have access to it whenever you need it. These tanks are available in both electric and gas types.

Tankless

Instead of storing hot water in a tank, tankless water heaters heat water on demand as it passes through a series of coils. This style of heater is smaller than a traditional tank heater, however, it can only  deliver a flow rate of approximately 3.5 gallons of water per minute (many homes require a much higher flow rate). This style is also available in both electric and gas.

Indirect

An indirect water heater also requires a storage tank, however, the tank houses a heat exchanger that is attached to you home’s main furnace or boiler. The exchanger then heats water from the furnace or boiler.

Energy Efficiency

The energy efficiency of a hot water heater depends on many factors including fuel type, style, how often you use it, and how much water you’re heating at one time. However, in general: geothermal water heaters are the most energy efficient, followed by gas water heaters and then electric.

At Oliver, all of our hot water heaters have at least a 6-year warranty on the tank and parts. We also have high-efficiency models available. For more information, click here or contact one of our water heater installation experts.


7 Things You May Not Know About Water Heaters

Small Vanity

Small Bathroom

Every day, many homeowners take their hot water heaters for granted. In fact, we often forget about them until we run out of hot water (especially if it’s during a shower). Our hot water heater installation team thought they would share some fun facts about water heaters you may not already know:

1. Energy Usage

Around 1/4 of the energy usage in your home comes from using your water heater to heat water for laundry, showers, washing dishes, and more. On average, an American household uses between 80 and 120 gallons of hot water every day.

2. The First Model

The idea of a water heater first emerged in London in 1868, when a painter figured out how to heat cold water by placing gas burners at the bottom of the water pipes. This inspired a Norwegian mechanical engineer, Edwin Ruud, to create the first tank-type water heater and bring the idea to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

3. Exploding Water Heaters

The myth of the exploding hot water heater is rare, but true. While it’s possible for a water heater to explode, there are simple ways to prevent it. These include regulating the temperature and psi as well as checking for rust and smells of leaking gas.

4. Water Heater Lifespan

A typical tank water heater will last anywhere from 10-13 years, while a tankless water heater will last around 18-20 years.

5. Other Names

  • North America: “tankless hot water heaters” or “on-demand hot water heaters”
  • The U.K.: “multipoint geyers”
  • Australia and New Zealand: “instantaneous hot water units”
  • Argentina: “calfones”

6. A Greener Option

Geothermal solutions can be a way for you to forgo the traditional hot water heater and go green. Geothermal energy uses the heat of the earth to heat your water.

7. Water Usage

On average, a person taking a shower will use 6-8 gallons of water, a person taking a bath will 15-20 gallons of water, a person doing a load of laundry will use 20-30 gallons of water, a person doing the dishes will use around 2 gallons of water per minute, and a dishwasher will use around 6-10 gallons per load.


What Do Those HVAC Ratings Mean?

HVAC ratings

Have you ever been shopping for a new HVAC system and noticed acronyms like “EER,” “SEER,” “AFUE,” or “HSPF” in the unit details? If you don’t know what they mean, you should – all of these acronyms are rating systems that are used to score HVAC units on their efficiency. Here are more details from our HVAC contractors:

EER

EER ratings, or “energy efficient ratio” ratings, were introduced in 1975 by the Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute (ACRI) and are applied to room air conditioners. To get the rating, experts calculate the cooling output of the unit (in BTU’s per hour) divided by the amount of electricity it uses. The higher the number rating, the more efficient the HVAC unit.

SEER

SEER ratings stem from EER ratings, however, they’re “seasonal” (hence the “S”). SEER ratings were introduced in 1978 after the ACRI realized that there are different seasonal conditions throughout the country. SEER ratings are applied to central HVAC units, but are calculated the same way EER ratings are. Again, the higher the number rating, the more efficient the HVAC unit.

AFUE

If you’re shopping for a gas-fired or oil-fired furnace, water heater, or boiler, you’ll see an AFUE (“average fuel utilization efficiency”) rating. This rating is calculated in percentages using the division of BTU output by how much energy the unit uses. The higher the percentage, the more efficient the unit is.

HSPF

When it comes to air-source heat pumps, look for the “heating seasonal performance factor” rating, or HSPF rating. Like the other ratings, a heat pump’s efficiency is measured by the ratio of BTU’s output per hour to the amount of electricity used. Higher numbers equals higher efficiency. In fact, heat pumps with very high efficiency (usually rated an 8 or higher) may even be considered for an energy tax credit.

If you have any other questions about HVAC ratings or about which type of unit is best for your home or business, give our HVAC contractors a call today.

*Photo credit: missionac.com