Category Archives: Water Heater Warranties

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.

 

 

Tank Water Heaters – Bradford White

There are many different choices out there on the type of tank water heater to have installed in your home. And we will explain to you why we choose Bradford White over many of the other brands.

When your spouse doesn’t have hot water do you want to wait over the weekend while waiting for parts to come in for your other brand water heaters? Bradford whites parts are readily available for same day repair. There should be no reason you go that weekend or even a night without hot water when you chose to install a Bradford White product.

While many other companies have moved manufacturing facilities out of the country, Bradford White stays invested in American Jobs and Growth. As demand grows they continue to grow their manufacturing facility in Middleville, Michigan.

Types of Water Heaters

There are many different types of water heaters to choose from. If you already have a specific type installed it is recommended you go with the same type.

Direct Vent

Direct Vent water heaters utilize a co-axial (pipe inside a pipe) vent pipe that takes air in from the outside (outer vent) and vents combustion gases directly back to the outside (outer vent). It is perfect choice for situation with insufficient combustion air. Direct vent water heaters water is heated by the heat of fuel combustion. A Direct vent system typically results in lower heating costs, because the exhaust gases are vented vertically, with no extra power required as in the case with the power vent water heater. No electricity required. Used in both LP and Natural Gas applications.

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Atmospheric Vent

This is the most common gas water heater. Its called “atmospheric vent” because warm air rises, the hot gases created by combustion are pulled by natural convection up a vertical metal flue through the roof to the outside. The air around the base of the water heater is pulled into the burner chamber for combustion by the same convection flow. Its a very simple system that does not require electric power or moving parts. Which is why you see these used in most applications.

There is also a Damper Atmospheric Vent model that feature an automatic flue damper that helps reduce stand by heat loss. The flue damper, combined with additional insulation and heat traps, These units have one of the highest Energy Factor (EF) ratings for atmospheric vent models.

atmospheric vent

Power Vent

Power Vent models are power vented for positive exhaust. They offer greater installation flexibility with the ability to vent through the wall or roof, with either 2″ or 3″ PVC, ABS or CPVC pipe. Power vent water heaters use a blower or fan to exhaust gases by pushing them through the vent pipes that are horizontal. In some situations, this may be the only type of water heater that makes sense, because a chimney or vertical vent is not necessary. Some locations don’t have access to a chimney or vertical vent so your options are limited. These are nice because a Power Vent can be vented by simply running inexpensive pipe horizontally.

However the drawback to this type of water heater is the total cost considering the blower/fan portion of the vent requires electricity to operate as well as the cost of the blower and running a power line to the unit. Noise is also a disadvantage from the blower fan running. But when installed properly the noise can be minimized or nearly eliminated.

power vent

Power Direct Vent

Power Direct Vent models are the solution to installation that lack sufficient air for combustion and require installation flexibility. All models of power direct vent water heaters can vent vertically or horizontally and are also approved for direct-vent, closed combustion applications. Solid core PVC is used for the exhaust vent and Cellular core PVC is used for the combustion air in. This application does require electricity to power the direct vent.

High Efficiency

 High Efficiency (HE) water heaters  extract heat out of the exhaust gases to heat the water, just like your standard Atmospheric Vent water heaters. But they include a secondary heat exchanger that maximizes the heat transfer process to extract as much heat energy as possibly out of the combustion process.

Sealed Combustion water heaters maintain the “seal” by using designated intake and exhaust pipes to connect them directly to the outside. They are controlled so when hot water is needed the blower kicks in and draws air directly from the outside into the combustion chamber, with the fuel, and the exhaust gets power vented directly out of the building with the same blower that drew it in but through another designated pipe rather then through a chimney.

Condensing is the next key process to achieve higher efficiency. A second heat transfer process is achieved by lengthening the exit path the exhaust travels using a secondary heat exchanger, frequently featuring a coiled design for maximum surface area, though some models use a reversed travel path (down, up, down again) And as this heat transfer occurs, the exhaust gases cool to the temperature where water vapor condenses out of the exhaust’s air stream back into liquid water (just like water from the air condenses on the outside of a cold drink), releasing the latent heat of vaporization which is used to further heat the water in the system. (The resulting liquid condensate leaves the system via a designated condensate drain.) The exhaust gases end up cool enough that PVC can be used for the venting, but those gases also lose stamina as they travel, which is why all HE units are power vented (fan assisted).

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Warranty

When dealing with warranty issues you commonly have to deal with customer service. Normally that would be a headache. But with Bradford White you know you are getting better quality customer service than any other manufacturer and will make sure you are happy with your product.

Warranties are among some of the biggest concern to the customer, with good reason. Which is why we stand behind Bradford White. When your tank fails and is under warranty there is a process that we must go through to get your tank paid for. We must pay for the new tank being installed and wait for reimbursement from the manufacturer. If we did not  originally install the product there is a chance that you may have to pay for the water heater and get reimbursed from manufacturer. Bradford White water heaters have fewer problems than any other brands. And when there is an issue they will go out of their way to make it right for the installer and the consumer.

Big Box Stores

Typically when choosing a water heater a customer will go to a Big Box Store and pick one out themselves. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but with water heaters you are not getting the quality of product that we can get from our distributor and often times you are spending more money for that water heater. This is being said from years of installing both products and seeing parts fail more frequently on models from big box stores. The parts for these water heaters are not as readily available for a quick and smooth repair. In many cases when going with a Big Box Store for your water heater install you will be dealing with their warranty department which can typically be a 7 day wait. With Bradford White water heaters, you know you are getting a quality product at a reasonable price. If any parts do fail on your Bradford White at any point it will be possible to have a same day repair. Compared to having to wait 2-5 days for parts to come in on your other models. With our customers best interest in mind we strongly suggest to stray away from Big Box Stores brands.

Energy Star

There are a few things to have in mind when considering installing an energy star water heater. They advertise a rebate associated with having a certain EF Rating of .67 (Energy Factor Rating). This rebate comes to around  $70 in Larimer County and may be even less depending on your County. Getting a water heater with this EF rating will cost you more money upon install. Usually 300-500 dollars more.You will on average save 7% annually. When considering this install you should also consider future repairs and how long you may have to wait for these parts. This should be a huge deciding factor because often times you may have to wait 2-5 days for your parts to come in and will have to suffer without hot water.

Overall we feel Bradford White is a better install option for our customers.

atmospheric vent diagram