Category Archives: Warranty

Electric Water Heaters Efficiency and Recovery vs Gas – Hard water effects

There is usually a lot of confusion about the differences between Electric and Gas water heaters. Electric water heaters cost less upfront for the unit and install than gas, but depending on your local utility costs, electric water heaters are typically more expensive in the long run. Gas water heaters generally make up for that cost difference in your utility bills, sometimes even within one year.

Gas water heaters use the heat from burning a fuel (usually natural gas) to heat water, while an electric water heater uses electric resistance coils.

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When comparing gas vs electric water heater operating cost, its said that gas is almost always cheaper than electric. Gas water heaters typically cost about $30 a month to run, while electric water heaters run closer to $42 a month, depending on utility rates, of course. This analysis of gas vs electric water heater water heater operating costs is based partially on the fact that natural gas is typically less expensive than electricity. Assume that you already have access to natural gas in your home. Having to put in a natural gas line would add expense and mean that it would take much longer to realize any potential hot water heater savings.

Thermal Expansion

Thermal expansion is important to know about when you have a closed plumbing system in your house. A closed plumbing system is when you have a check valve installed in line, that restricts the water from back flowing into the cold side of the system. A check valve at the at the water meter or a PRV (Pressure Reducing Valve) that will make your home a “closed system”.

Thermal Expansion of water in a closed plumbing system can create a number of annoying and potentially dangerous problems. These include; the build up of unusually high pressure in a system (even when a pressure reducing valve is installed), pressure surges, and the continuous dripping of your temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P). In Addition, dripping faucets, leaking toilet fill valves are also symptomatic of thermal expansion.

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More serious problems can also occur due to thermal. When dangerous pressures are built up in a water heater, internal parts may fail such as the internal flues, fittings or water connections. If a flue way collapses it can lead to the potential release of toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide into living spaces. Thermal expansion can also lead to a ruptured or distorted  hot water heating tank and may void the manufacturers warranty.

Plumbing codes require you to address this safety issue. No matter what your thermal expansion problem may be, whether for new construction or for retrofitting or remodeling an existing there are plenty of affordable options to fix these issues.

When water is heated it expands. For example, water heated from 90 degrees F to a thermostat setting of 140 degrees F in a 40 gallon water heater. It will expand by almost one-half gallon. This is because when water is heated, its density decreases and its volume expands. Since water is not compressible the extra volume created by expansion must go someplace. During no-flow period in a system, pressure reducing valves, backflow preventers, and other one way check valves are closed. Thus eliminating a path for the expanded water to flow back to the system supply. Hence, system pressure increase. This is where thermal expansion tanks and valves come into play.

Thermal Expansion Tanks and Valves

When the water is heated in a closed system it expands. Water is not compressible, therefore, the additional water volume has to go someplace. When an expansion tank is installed the excess water enters the pre-pressurized tank (set at normal house pressure). As the temperature and pressure reaches its maximum, the diaphragm flexes against an air cushion (air is compressible) to allow for increased water expansion. When the system is opened again or the water cools, the water leaves the tank and returns to the system.

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As the water temperature increases, the expanded water is received by the tank.

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As the water and pressure reaches its maximum, the diaphragm flexes against the air cushion to allow for increased water expansion.

Thermal Expansion Valves 

Thermal Expansion Relief Valves are used in the same circumstance as expansion tanks, but instead of expanding within expansion tank, the expansion will escape within the valve and go out through a drain port routed to your nearest floor drain. These are commonly used when there is not enough room for an expansion tank, when these fail you will see a steady flow of water going through the drain tube rather than a normal couple drips. If this problem goes unnoticed for long periods of time you will begin to waste a tremendous amount of water. So make sure you have this routed to a visible floor drain!

Anode Rods

Most water heater tanks are steel with a thin glass lining to protect the metal from corrosion. Since the lining eventually cracks due to the minerals, rust and sediment in the water. Water heaters need a second line of defense. A long metal “anode rod” that attracts all the corrosive elements in the water. These anode rods are made from magnesium, aluminum or aluminum/zinc alloy. Anode rods usually are completely corroded after 5 years, but if you have hard water and are aware of that, the rod may last as little as 2 years. This is something that can be replaced periodically and can sometimes double the life of your water heater. This little bit of maintenance can really save you money in the long run. People are often unaware that you are able to replace these rods and extend the life of your water heater!

Sediment and Hard Water

Is sediment buildup harmful? The amount of sediment that builds up in your water heater will depend heavily on where you are located. If your city water supply is filtered and you water is naturally soft with little mineral content, then you may have very little sediment, but that little amount of sediment will separate from your water once heated. Build up in the bottom of the water heater tank. In other areas you may have a large build up of sediment.

A small amount of sediment at the bottom of your water heater is not serious, and can be removed by flushing your water heater annually. This can really extend the life of your water heater because the minerals in the sediment attack the tank and cause leaks over time. A deep layer of sediment displaces water and reduces the amount of hot water available for your use. This sediment can also affect the efficiency of your water heater because the burner is then having to transfer the heat through the sediment and can overheat the bottom of the tank. Overheating can weaken the steel and damage the lining of the tank. With Electric water heaters, if the sediment covers the bottom heating element, the element can overheat and burn out. If it gets into got water circulating systems it can cause problems with the pump, valves and fixtures they are serving.

Sediment can cause noises like popping and other strange sounds as water between the tank bottom and layer of sediment turns to steam bubbles. This is a warning sign that your water heater may be on the verge of going out and you should be maintaining your system in a different way in the future. A simple flush could add years onto your water heater, this removes some of that harmful sediment that causes issues within your water heater.

Hard water will have a similar effect as sediment except picture white calcium build up instead of sediment. This can build up much faster in certain situations and will cause very similar issues. If you know your water is extremely hard then you should consider  filters, or water softeners. These can make a huge difference for all your fixtures, appliances, look of your water, and most of all the taste. These are all extremely important variables to consider that will save you money in the end. If you address these issues correctly you could increase the life span of your water heater by as many as 5 years in serious cases.water-heater-corrosion

Gas Water Heaters

Cost Less To Operate

Lasts Average Of 13 Years

Takes Less Time To Reheat Water

Works During Power Outage

Less Efficient. More Heat Loss.

Electric Water Heaters

Costs More To Operate

Lasts Average Of 12 Years

Takes More Time To Reheat Water

Won’t Work During Power Outage

More Efficient. No Heat Loss.

 

 

Wolverine Faucets and Product Reliability – Hard Water Effects on Fixtures -Tired of Replacing Faucets?

Wolverine Brass was founded in 1896 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They are devoted to quality products and ensuring that not only the customer is happy with their products. Wolverine not only cares about the customer but also the plumbers installing their products, they want them to be confident and stand behind what they sell.

Not only are Wolverine faucets and cartridges reliable but their drain assemblies are also high quality. They have a 17 gauge pop-up assembly, with a brass pop-up plunger and cast brass tee. This are normally in chrome with other manufactures. The chrome corrodes much quicker and is also more susceptible to leaking, breaking or chipping off.

100 Year Warranty

The ceramic disc cartridge technology was invented by their plant engineers in 1971. Their cartridge carries a 100 year, drip free warranty. They are all manufactured in Conway, South Carolina plant and every faucet is hand inspected and water tested to insure no leaks. All faucets are triple chrome-plated and use only K-copper water lines and silver soldered joints. There is also a 100 year guarantee on the finish as well! The faucets arrive wrapped and complete, no need to order handles, handle inserts or additional parts.

This is one of the best warranties in the industry and that covers everything from the finish to the cartridge! Making this one of the favorite faucets for not only our customers but also for our plumbers!

Cartridges

Often times when looking at a lavatory faucet there may be multiple different cartridges that you will need to have in stock to fix a faucet. With wolverine one cartridge fits all with single handle faucets. And one cartridge fits all with two handle faucets. This allows standardization and eliminates large and expensive inventories of parts; no cups, springs, screws, etc. This makes for an easy and inexpensive repair for the customer and plumber alike! Overall the integrity of the fixtures and cartridges are much better then most competitive brands!

Hard Water Effects On Fixtures & Pipes

Hard water is water which has a high mineral content. Two of the minerals that are particularly problematic are calcium and magnesium. These minerals find their way out of the water and bind themselves together. This becomes a scale or mineral deposit. Scale sticks to the interior of pipes, household appliances and other surfaces throughout the home. Once this scale becomes attached to something its very difficult to remove it. This is what leads to clogs and other problems within the pipes and appliances. The hardness of the water contaminated with mineral deposits is rated on a scale of 1 to 10.

While these mineral deposits cause problems in the plumbing and other places in the home, they are not a health hazard. The problem is when the calcium and magnesium makes their way out of the water they can cause havoc for all sorts of appliances from which water passes through. They also stick to basins, faucets, shower heads, tubs and tiles in the bathroom and even to your pots and pans. Once the scale deposits itself on a surface, getting it off can be a challenge.

Imagine what the scale could be doing to the cartridge and innards of your faucet! With Wolverine Brass Faucets the 100 year warranty speaks for itself! The cartridges are made to be much more durable for any water quality, and if your water quality does cause any problems, Wolverine will stand behind their product and replace what is necessary to make your faucet not only look its best but work its best! These are just some of the reasons why we recommend Wolverine Brass faucets and shower valves to all of our customers!