Category Archives: Water Heaters

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.

water_heaters_parts_diagram1

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.

water-system-expansion

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.

expansion-tank

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

expansion-tank-2

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.

 

 

Troubleshooting Power Vent Water Heaters

Venting

When troubleshooting a Power Vent water heater the venting often goes unnoticed even if there is an issue. The venting is so important to inspect on Power Vent Water Heaters because if they are sloped the wrong direction condensation will makes its way to the blower and damage it. Power vents don’t always form condensation, but there are a couple different variables that do cause them to condensate.

-Ambient temperature and humidity of installation location

-Ambient temperature and humidity of venting space

-Vent distance, slope, and correct product usage

-Vent has slope minimum of 1/8″ AWAY from the blower – Horizontal Applications

-Know the proper vent lengths for the model water heater (see table below)

These are the variables you need to pay especially close attention to when inspecting the venting. If you do notice an issue where the Power Vent is condensating a condensate kit is available to install. This is a Fernco exhaust adapter with a drain outlet that you pipe to the drain using vinyl tubing. An inexpensive part that will solve the condensate problem.

Check for vent blockage and determine if the vent could become clogged by surrounding vegetation. If so, consult with the home owner on a solution to make sure the problem does not repeat itself.

Its extremely important to make sure there is adequate air for combustion and ventilation. An insufficient supply of air will cause re-circulation of combustion products resulting in air contamination that may be hazardous to life. In Such conditions you will notice a yellow,luminous burner flame, causing carbon build up or sooting of the combustion chamber, burners and flue tubes with possible damage to the water heater.

Vents are susceptible to freezing and can be very easy to overlook. If the burner wont stay lit you should check to make sure there are no obstructions and investigate the possibility of frozen vent.

Troubleshooting codes and Vent Length Table

The link below includes a table to troubleshoot any issues you may have

The link also includes Maximum vent length including number of allowed elbows

vent-length-table-troubleshooting-codes-and-cause

Proper Combustion Air

Combustion air is very important for a water heater to run correctly. All different variables should be considered. When an exhaust fan is installed in the same room with a water heater, sufficient openings for air must be provided in the walls. Undersized openings will cause air to be drawn into the room through the venting and causing circulation of combustion products. A very common solution to this problem is the installation of a louvered door.

The formula to correctly determine proper openings

All air coming from inside the building: an opening must have a minimum free area of 1 inch² (6.5 cm²) per 1000 BTU (0.29 kw) per hour of the total input rating of all gas utilization equipment in the confined space, but not less than 100 inches² (645 cm²). One opening must be within 12 inches (31 cm) of the top and one with 12 inches (31 cm) of the bottom of the enclosure.

All Air coming from Outdoors: The confined space must be provided with two permanent openings, one commencing within 12 inches (31 cm) of the top and one commencing within 12 inches (31 cm) from the bottom of the enclosure. The openings must communicate directly, or by ducts, with the outdoors or spaces (crawl or attic) that freely communicate with the outdoors.

  1. When directly communicating with the outdoors, each opening must have a minimum free area of 1 inch² (6.5 cm²) per 4000 BTU (1.2 kw) per hour of total input rating of all equipment in the enclosure.
  2. When communicating with the outdoors through vertical ducts, each opening must have a minimum free area of 1 inch² (6.5 cm²) per 4000 BTU (1.2 kw) per hour of total input rating of all equipment in the enclosure.
  3. When communicating with the outdoors through the horizontal ducts , each opening must have a minimum free area of 1 inch² (6.5 cm²)  per 2000 BTU (0.6 kw) per hour of total input rating of all equipment in the enclosure.
  4. When ducts are used, they must be of the same cross-sectional area as the free area of the openings to which the connect. The minimum dimensions of rectangular air ducts must be not less than 3 inches (7.5cm)

Specially Engineered Installations

The requirements noted under the CONFINED SPACES above must not necessarily govern when special engineering, approved by the authority having jurisdiction, provides an adequate supply of air for combustion, ventilation, and dilution of flue gases.

Sequence of Operation

The sequence of operation is important to know so you can properly diagnose the problem.

Control Sequence of Operation

Start up sequence

Upon powering up, the control checks for the presence of the resistive plug, if the resistance is in the expected range the control will begin normal operation after 5 to 8 seconds.

Normal Heating Sequence

  1. The thermostat senses a need for heat.
  2. The control checks the pressure switch condition.
  3. If the pressure switch is open, the control sends power to the blower motor.
  4. The blower starts moving combustion air through the combustion system.
  5. The pressure switches closes.
  6. The control senses the closed pressure switch and starts the ignition process by providing a spark at the pilot electrode and allowing gas to flow to the pilot.
  7. When the pilot is lit the gas control senses the pilot flame and opens the main gas valve.
  8. The main burner is lit.
  9. The main burner and blower continue to operate until the thermostat is satisfied.
  10. When the thermostat is satisfied the main and pilot gas valves close.
  11. The blower operates for a short post purge period before shutting down.
  12. The water heater remains in the stand-by mode until the next call for heat.
  13. Make sure Power Vent is plugged into a grounded outlet.
  14. Make sure you have correct continuinty

Maintenance

  1. Annually check the operation of the thermostat
  2. The flow of combustion and ventilation air MUST NOT be restricted. Clear the combustion air openings of any dirt, dust, or other restrictions. WARNING! The ventilation air system may be HOT.
  3. At all times keep the water heater area clear and free from combustible materials, gasoline and other flammable vapors and liquids.
  4. Bi-annually conduct a visual check of the main and pilot burner flames to determine that they are burning properly. see Burner Flame Check. If sooting or other burner anomalies are evident, shut down the water heater by turning off the gas per the instructions listed in this manual or as listed on the water heater.
  5. Annually remove the inner door and main burner assembly to clean orifices and related parts of any dirt or other foreign material. Inspect the burner ports for obstructions or debris and clean with a wire brush as needed. Wire brush and/or vacuum clean the combustion chamber as needed to remove scale deposits and debris. NOTE: It is imperative for proper operation of the water that the inner door replaced in the original location.
  6. At least once a year, check the combination temperature and pressure relief valve to insure that the valve has not become encrusted with lime. Lift the lever at the top of the valve several times until the valve seats properly without leaking.
  7. Monthly drain off a gallon of water to remove silt and sediment.
  8. If the combination temperature and pressure relief valve on the appliance discharges periodically, this may be due to thermal expansion in a closed water supply system. Contact the Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating and Air to help correct this problem. Do not plug the combination temperature and pressure relief valve outlet.
  9. A combination sacrificial anode rod/hot water outlet nipple has been installed to extend tank life. The anode rod should be inspected annual and replaced when necessary to prolong tank life. Water conditions in your area will influence the time interval for inspection and replacement of the anode rod. The use of a water softener may increase the speed of anode consumption. More frequent inspection of the anode is needed when using softened (or phosphate treated) water.
  10. The blower has sealed motor bearings and does not require adding oil.

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.

direct vent

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).

high efficiency water heater.png

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

Navien® Tankless Water Heaters

If you have questions or want to schedule a water heater repair or installation, call ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR, INC. today at 970-667-0300. We provide 24/7 emergency services in the Northern CO areas including Loveland, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Longmont, Johnstown, Milliken, Greeley and Estes park.

Navien®

The Leader in Condensing Tankless Technology

In 2006, Navien, Inc. was established to open new markets in the United States and Canada for parent company KD Navien. Navien has since become one of the fastest growing companies in the home comfort sector in North America, providing condensing tankless gas water heaters and condensing combi boilers. Navien’s products possess state-of-the-art technology, high efficiency and reliable quality, making it the leader in the marketplace for tankless technology.

Navien has achieved international recognition for its sophisticated engineering and robust designs. Backed by more than thirty years of experience with advanced water heating technology, Navien will continue its mission to provide high quality products that are beneficial to both customers and the environment. 

Navien Water Heaters

Energy Factor & Heat Exchanger

The average Energy Factor is 0.82, however, Navien water heaters have an extremely high Energy Factor that ranges between 0.95 to 0.97. This is the result of the condensing technology that uses the flue heat to increase the temperature of cold incoming water in one of the two stainless steel heat exchangers. The NPE series is the most efficient tankless water heater in the industry, with ultra condensing technology that delivers cooled exhaust gas and high performance up to 0.98 EF.

Due to the high quality of heat exchangers, Navien provides a 15-year warranty. The heat exchanger is made of stainless steel and is the place where the main burner is heating water. The stainless steel allows the longevity of the unit, economical and reliable work, and also resists corrosion better than copper to provide longer life.

Venting

All Navien water heaters are designed as the indoor – direct and non-direct vents and outdoor models that use 1/2″ gas connections and 2″ PVC venting. This can help to cut the installation time in half. As the heat is “stolen” from the flue gasses, its temperature gets lower so it exits the vent pipe with lower temperature than the conventional tankless units making the venting system economical and easier to install. The indoor-type water heater utilizes the concentric and two pipe system, installed horizontally or vertically, with the length up to 100 feet.

Burner 

There is an eco-friendly gas burner designed to allow a dramatic reduction in CO2 and NOx gases mainly due to the optimal premixing of the air and gas.

Water Flow  

Navien water heaters from the “A” series are designed with the ComfortFlow technology so no minimum water flow is needed for the units activation. These models are equipped with the recirculation pump and 0.5 gallon buffer, so the temperature fluctuation is reduced and comfort is increased.

Model Selection

Navien designs two types of water heaters including gas and combi-boilers. The gas tankless water heaters are available as the NPE series. These are used for heating portable water only. The gas combi-boilers are also designed for home space heating.

Navien NPE-Standard Series

Some advantages to consider:

  • More output for the money. With high efficiency condensing technology, NPE-S units deliver more BTUs where it counts, resulting in greater flow rates than comparable units.
  • Lower installation costs for you. You can typically install a NPE-S in half the time of other tankless units — usually within 4 hours, with more flexibility and lower material costs.
  • Lower operating costs for the homeowner. Industry leading 0.99 EF can save you more on the yearly operating costs.

 

 

NPE-180S NPE-210S NPE-240S
  • Max Input : 150,000 BTU/H
  • Indoor/Outdoor Installation
  • Residential/Commercial
  • ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’
  • Filed convertible gas system
  • Ultra condensing efficiency .99EF
  • Dual stainless steel heat exchangers
  • Low NOx emissions (≤ 20ppm)
  • SCH 40, 2” venting up to 60’
  • Cascading capable
  • Max Input : 180,000 BTU/H
  • Indoor/Outdoor Installation
  • Residential/Commercial
  • ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’
  • Filed convertible gas system
  • Ultra condensing efficiency .99EF
  • Dual stainless steel heat exchangers
  • Low NOx emissions (≤ 20ppm)
  • SCH 40, 2” venting up to 60’
  • Cascading capable
  • Max Input : 199,900 BTU/H
  • Indoor/Outdoor Installation
  • Residential/Commercial
  • ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’
  • Filed convertible gas system
  • Ultra condensing efficiency .99EF
  • Dual stainless steel heat exchangers
  • Low NOx emissions (≤ 20ppm)
  • SCH 40, 2” venting up to 60’
  • Cascading capable

Warranty

Type Labor Parts Heat Exchanger
Residential 1 year 5 years 15 years
Commercial or Combi* 1 year 3 years 8 years

Navien NPE-Advanced Series

Models NPE-180A, NPE-210A and NPE-240A from Korean manufacturer, Navien are ultra-efficient water heaters, made for on-demand heating of potable water in residential and light commercial applications, and also for space heating.

A Navien Condensing water heater decreases no less than 964 lbs of CO2 per year compared to a conventional tank-type water heater and 324 lbs compared to a conventional tankless-type water heater.

NPE-180A NPE-210A NPE-240A
  • Max Input : 150,000 BTU/H
  • Indoor/Outdoor Installation
  • Residential/Commercial
  • ComfortFlow™ Technology
  • ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’
  • Filed convertible gas system
  • Ultra condensing efficiency
  • Dual stainless steel heat exchangers
  • Low NOx emissions (≤ 20ppm)
  • SCH 40, 2” venting up to 60’
  • Cascading capable
  • Max Input : 180,000 BTU/H
  • Indoor/Outdoor Installation
  • Residential/Commercial
  • ComfortFlow™ Technology
  • ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’
  • Filed convertible gas system
  • Ultra condensing efficiency
  • Dual stainless steel heat exchangers
  • Low NOx emissions (≤ 20ppm)
  • SCH 40, 2” venting up to 60’
  • Cascading capable
  • Max Input : 199,900 BTU/H
  • Indoor/Outdoor Installation
  • Residential/Commercial
  • ComfortFlow™ Technology
  • ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’
  • Filed convertible gas system
  • Ultra condensing efficiency
  • Dual stainless steel heat exchangers
  • Low NOx emissions (≤ 20ppm)
  • SCH 40, 2” venting up to 60’
  • Cascading capable

Warranty

Type Labor Parts Heat Exchanger
Residential 1 year 5 years 15 years
Commercial or Combi* 1 year 3 years 8 years

Navien NHB Condensing Boilers

As the leader in condensing technology, Navien has already reinvented the water heating industry with the award-winning NPE tankless water heaters and the NCB combi-boilers. The new NHB boiler series is the next in line of innovations from Navien. All NHB boilers have Navien’s advanced burner system, an industry-leading AFUE of 95% and turn down ratios up to 15:1. Now available in four sizes NHB‑55, NHB‑80, NHB‑110 and NHB‑150.

NHB-55 NHB-80 NHB-110 NHB-150
  • Max Input : 55,000 BTU/H
  • Indoor Installation only
  • Residential/Commercial
  • ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’
  • Super condensing efficiency
  • Dual stainless steel heat exchangers
  • SCH 40, 2” PVC venting up to 60’
  • TDR up to 7:1
  • Integrated Controls
  • Max Input : 80,000 BTU/H
  • Indoor Installation only
  • Residential/Commercial
  • ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’
  • Super condensing efficiency
  • Dual stainless steel heat exchangers
  • SCH 40, 2” PVC venting up to 60’
  • TDR up to 10:1
  • Integrated Controls
  • Max Input : 110,000 BTU/H
  • Indoor Installation only
  • Residential/Commercial
  • ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’
  • Super condensing efficiency
  • Dual stainless steel heat exchangers
  • SCH 40, 2” PVC venting up to 60’
  • TDR up to 11:1
  • Integrated Controls
·        Max Input : 150,000 BTU/H

·        Indoor Installation only

·        Residential/Commercial

·        ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’

·        Super condensing efficiency

·        Dual stainless steel heat exchangers

·        SCH 40, 2” PVC venting up to 60’

·        TDR up to 15:1

  • Integrated Controls

Warranty

Type Labor Parts Heat Exchanger
Residential 1 year 5 years 15 years
Commercial or Combi* 1 year 3 years 10 years

Navien NCB Condensing Gas Combination Boiler 

Navien NCB is the first high-efficiency tankless condensing combination boiler with the capacity to supply both heat and domestic hot water for larger homes–enough hydronic heat for a whole house, plus hot water to run two showers and a dishwasher all at the same time.

The Navien NCB saves installation time and reduces call backs. In addition, the NCB takes up 80% less space than a traditional floor standing boiler and tank water heater. You can now have more room, save energy and enjoy all the hot water you need, whenever you want it.

NCB-180 NCB-210 NCB-240
  • Max Input : 150,000 BTU/H
  • Indoor Installation only
  • Residential only
  • ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’
  • Automatic water filling system
  • Super condensing efficiency
  • Dual stainless steel heat exchangers
  • SCH 40, 2” PVC venting up to 60’
  • Integrated Controls
  • Max Input : 180,000 BTU/H
  • Indoor Installation only
  • Residential only
  • ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’
  • Automatic water filling system
  • Super condensing efficiency
  • Dual stainless steel heat exchangers
  • SCH 40, 2” PVC venting up to 60’
  • Integrated Controls
  • Max Input : 199,900 BTU/H
  • Indoor Installation only
  • Residential only
  • ½” gas pipe capable up to 24’
  • Automatic water filling system
  • Super condensing efficiency
  • Dual stainless steel heat exchangers
  • SCH 40, 2” PVC venting up to 60’
  • Integrated Controls

Warranty

Type Labor Parts Heat Exchanger
Residential Single Family Use Only

1 year

5 years

10 years

Why Tankless?

Tankless water heaters take up very little space, can be mounted on any exterior wall, and offer nearly endless hot water. Since Navien Condensing tankless water heaters only provide hot water when you need it and can provide an endless supply of hot water, you never have to worry about running out of hot water no matter how many hot water draws you have in a row.

A tankless water heater can be powered by electricity, natural gas, or propane. Depending on your location and what resources are available to you, you want to try and go with the more economical choice and determine what is most likely going to save you more money in the long run.

Types of Water Heaters

Types of Water Heaters 

Before purchasing a water heater it is always a good idea to know the different types and what will work best in your home.

  • Conventional storage water heaters offer a ready reservoir of hot water
  • Tankless or demand-type water heaters heat water directly without the use of the storage tank.
  • Heat pump water heaters move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly for providing hot water
  • Solar water heaters use the sun’s heat to provide hot water
  • Tankless coil and indirect water heaters  use a home’s space heating system to heat water
Conventional Storage Water Heaters 

Conventional storage water heaters are the most popular water heating system and offers a ready reservoir of hot water ranging from 20 to 80 gallons. It operates by releasing hot water from the top of the tank when you turn on the hot water tap. Cold water enters the bottom of the tank, replacing the hot water to ensure the that the tank is always full. Storage water heater fuel sources include natural gas, propane, fuel oil and electricity.

Energy can be wasted even when a hot water tap isn’t running since water is constantly being heated in the tank. This is called standby heat loss. Some of these water heater storage models have a heavily insulated tank, which significantly reduces standby heat losses and lower annual operating costs. Look for models with tanks that have a thermal resistance, or R-Value, of R-12 or R-25.

Proper insulation depends on many factors including fuel type, climate, local building code requirements and safety issues, especially concerning the combustion of gas- and oil-fired water heaters. It’s recommended to have a qualified plumbing and heating contractor install your storage water heater.

Before buying a new water heater, consider the following:

  • Size and first hour rating
  • Fuel type and availability
  • Energy efficiency and costs

The lowest-priced storage water heater may be the most expensive to operate and maintain over a lifetime, while an oversized unit, although alluring, may carry a higher purchase price and increased energy costs due to higher standby energy losses.

Tankless Water Heaters 

Tankless water heaters are also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters, which provide hot water only as needed. These do not produce the standby energy losses associated with conventional storage water heaters and can save you money. Although gas-fired tankless water heaters tend to have higher flow rates than electric ones, they can waste energy if they have a constantly burning pilot light. This can sometimes offset the elimination of standby energy losses when compared to a storage water heater. In a gas-fired storage water heater, the pilot light heats the water in the tank so the energy isn’t wasted.

The cost of operating a pilot light in a tankless water heater varies from model to model. If you purchase a water heater that uses a standing pilot light, you can always turn it off when it is not in use to save energy. Also consider models that have a intermittent ignition device (IID) instead of a standing pilot light. This device resembles the spark ignition device on some gas kitchen ranges and ovens.

Tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water and you don’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water. however, the water heater’s output limits the flow rate.

Typically, tankless water heaters provide hot water at a rate of 2-5 gallons per minute.  Gas-fired tankless water heaters produce higher flow rates than electric ones. However, even the largest gas-fired model cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous, multiple uses in large households. For example, taking a shower and running the dishwasher at the same time can stretch a water heater to its limit. You can install two or more tankless water heaters connected in parallel for simultaneous demands of hot water to overcome this problem. You can also install separate tankless water heaters for appliances that use a lot of hot water in your home.

Other applications for demand water heaters include the following:

  • Booster for appliances , such as a clothes washer or dishwasher
  • Booster for a solar water heating system
  • Remote bathrooms or hot tubs

The initial cost of a tankless water heater is greater than that of a conventional storage water heater , but tankless water heaters will typically last longer and have lower operating and energy costs, which could offset its higher purchase price. Most tankless water heaters will have a life expectancy of more than 20 years and have easily replaceable parts that extend their life by many more years. In contrast, storage water heaters last 10-15 years.

Before buying a tankless water heater, consider the following:

  • Size
  • Fuel type and availability
  • Energy efficiency
  • Costs
Heat Pump Water Heaters

Heat Pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Therefore can be two or three times more efficient than conventional electric resistant water heaters. heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse in order to move the heat.

While a refrigerator pulls heat from inside a box and dumps it into the surrounding room, a stand-alone air source heat pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air and dumps it into a tank to heat water, at a higher temperature.

Heat pump water heaters require installation in locations that remain in the 40°-90°F range year-round and provide at least 1,000 cubic feet of air space around the water heater. Cool exhaust air can be exhausted to the room or outdoors. Heat pump water heaters will not operate efficiently in a cold space because they tend to cool the space they are in. You can also install an air source heat pump system that combines heating, cooling and water heating. These combination systems pull their heat indoors from the outdoor air in the winter and from indoor air in the summer. Because they remove heat from the air, any type of air-source heat pump system works more efficiently in a warm climate.

Before buying a heat pump water heater, consider the following:

  • Size and first hour rating
  • Fuel type and availability
  • Energy efficiency
  • Overall costs

Heat pump water heaters generally have higher initial costs than conventional storage water heaters. However, they have lower operating costs, which can offset their higher purchase and installation prices.

Solar Water Heaters

* (ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR, INC does not repair or install solar water heating systems)

Solar water heaters are also called solar domestic hot water systems. This can be a cost effective way to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use – sunshine – is free.

There are two types of active solar water heating systems – direct and indirect circulation systems. Direct circulation has pumps that circulate household water through the collectors and into the home. They work well in climates where it rarely freezes. Indirect circulation has pumps that circulate a non-freezing heat-transfer fluid through the collectors and heat exchanger. This heats the water that then flows into the home. This is more common in climates prone to freezing temperatures.

There are two types of passive solar water heating systems. Integral collector-storage passive systems work best in warmer climates. And then there’s a thermosyphon system which water flows through the system when warm water rises as cooler water sinks and also this type of system generally costs more.

Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank and have an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater. In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank.

Solar water heating systems almost always require a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand. Conventional storage water heaters usually provide backup and may already be part of the solar system package. A backup system may also be part of the solar collector, such as rooftop tanks with thermosyphon systems. Since an integral-collector storage system already stores hot water in addition to collecting solar heat, it may be packaged with a tankless or demand-type water heater for backup.

Before buying a solar water heating system, consider the following:

  • Estimate the cost and energy efficiency of a solar water heating system
  • Evaluate your site’s solar resource
  • Determine the correct system size
  • Investigate local codes, covenants and regulations
  • Understand the various components needed
    • Heat exchangers
    • Heat-transfer fluids
Tankless Coil & Indirect Water Heaters 

Tankless coil and indirect water heaters use a home’s space heating system to heat water. They’re part of what’s called integrated or combination water and space heating systems.

A tankless coil water heater provides hot water on demand without a tank. When a hot water faucet is turned on, water is heated as it flows through a heating coil or heat exchanger installed in a main furnace or boiler. Tankless coil water heaters are most efficient during cold months when the heating system is used regularly but can be an inefficient choice for many homes, especially for those in warmer climates.

Indirect water heaters are a more efficient choice for most homes, even though they require a storage tank. An indirect water heater uses the main furnace or boiler to heat a fluid that’s circulated through a heat exchanger in the storage tank. The energy stored by the water tank allows the furnace to turn on and off less often., which saves energy. If an indirect water heater is used with a high-efficiency boiler and well-insulated tank, can be the least expensive means of providing hot water, particularly if the heat source boiler is set to “cold start.”

ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR, INC. can help you to find the right water heater for your home. If you need to schedule an installation call us today at 970-667-0300. We provide 24-hour emergency service in the Northern Colorado Area.

Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters

If you have questions, live within the Northern Colorado area and need to schedule a water heater repair or installation, Call ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR today at 970-667-0300. We provide 24/7 emergency services in Loveland, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Longmont, Johnstown, Milliken, Greeley and Estes park.

_ _

Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters

Innovative technology that provides an endless supply of hot water whenever and wherever it’s needed, even for simultaneous uses at multiple fixtures including:

  • Showers
  • Baths
  • Sinks
  • Clothes washers
  • Dishwashers

Rinnai’s tankless water heaters are designed for efficiency with technology that features compact copper heat exchangers to provide maximum efficiency and easily meets ENERGY STAR qualifications and uses up to 40% less energy than a traditional tank. This product also has a longer lifespan, of about 20 years or more, compared to a conventional storage tank water heater and has recyclable parts, meaning less waste in landfills, and produces less CO2 and NOxthan conventional tank water heaters

These tankless water heaters are able to save energy by operating only at times when hot water is needed rather than having a storage tank to heat and reheat water. This helps to save on energy and your utility bills.  There is no use of an electronic ignition device with a standing pilot light that is continuously using energy. The tankless technology achieves maximum energy efficiency and helps to conserve natural resources.

Rinnai tankless water heaters also come in multiple sizes to customize your efficiency and can be installed on any wall or even in compact spaces, including non-traditional spaces including crawl spaces, basements and attics. You can use these in any size of home including in mobile or manufactured homes. Rinnai tankless water heaters come in small sizes, at 18.5″ x26″ x 10″ or smaller.

If you have a larger home and have a higher demand, Rinnai supports a feature, EZConnect, that allows you to link two units with a simple cord. For even larger applications, your installer can place multiple units in parallel.

operating_costsRinnai

How does a Rinnai Tankless Water Heater Work?

When turning on the hot water tap, cold water enters through the water heater from the inlet pipe at the bottom of the unit. The PC board is then signaled to activate the flame igniter or ignition. A combustion fan is turned on to allow oxygen into the burner to ignite the flame as the gas control valve opens at a low frequency. Once an adequate flame is present, the igniter stops sparking and begins the next sequence of operation all in a matter of seconds.

Water is heated as it passes through the coils of the pipes of the home to the water fixture where the hot water is needed at that time. For condensing models, the water is preheated as it passes through a secondary stainless steel heat exchanger, capturing any extra heat before it escapes into the vent system.

The gas valve and the blower automatically adjust the incoming gas and oxygen to meet the water heating demands and adjusts as needed to ensure the temperature set point is maintained. The water heater can use a smaller flame and less gas if the demand for hot water is small. If the demand is greater, the flame is able to expand across the width of the entire burner to heat more hot water. The user can choose their desired temperature with the digital controller for ultimate comfort and safety.

When the hot water tap is turned off , Cold water then stops entering the water heater and the flame diminishes. The combustion fan continues to operate at a low speed for a short period of time which allows the exhaust of any leftover combustion gasses.

How will Rinnai’s Tankless Water Heaters be affected by the new DOE standards?

Rinnai’s Tankless Water Heaters are steps ahead in delivering the ultimate energy efficient performance and already meet the minimum DOE energy factor standards of .82, so the changes will have no direct impact. With the size and design of Rinnai’s products, tankless water heaters may be installed in a wider variety of locations, including places where the new, larger conventional storage water heaters will no long fit.

For water heaters with storage tanks 30 to 50 gallons in size, the increase in the minimum standards will trigger an increase in the insulation needed, resulting in a larger tank diameter. In some cases, 2 inches or more, which will make equipment replacement more problematic because the same size of tank may not fit in the same location. Tanks above 55 gallons will now need to be high efficiency condensing units requiring an electrical outlet to power the unit, different venting, and also a means to drain the condensation. These changes add up to an increased overall cost of storage tank water heaters, including an increase in manufacturing cost coupled with potentially higher installation costs.

Gas Storage Water Heaters
Volume Current Federal Minimum Federal Minimum from 2015
114L (30gal) .61 .63
151L (40gal) .59 .62
190L (50gal) .58 .60
246L (65gal) .55 .75
284L (75gal) .53 .74

Breaking Down the Energy Factor

Breaking Down the Energy Factor

 

Water heaters come with labels and information for consumers to use when purchasing a new one. These labels provide facts on how energy efficient the unit is with an energy factor label and Energy Guide. Be sure to understand which type and size of water heater that is required and will be most beneficial in your home and use the labels on the water heaters to compare the purchase price and cost to use each unit. If you have questions or live within the Northern Colorado area and need to schedule a repair or installation, Call ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR today at 970-667-0300. We provide 24/7 emergency services in Loveland, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Longmont, Johnstown, Milliken, Greeley and Estes park.

 

What is Thermal Efficiency?

In thermodynamics, the thermal efficiency () is a dimensionless performance measure of a device that uses thermal energy, such as an internal combustions engine. Some examples would include

  • a refrigerator,
  • a furnace,
  • a boiler or
  • a water heater.

Efficiency indicates how well an energy conversion or transfer process is accomplished.

For a device that converts energy from another form into thermal energy, the thermal efficiency is

where the  quantities are heat-equivalent values. For instance, a boiler that produces 210 kW, or 700,000 BTU/h output for each 300 kW, or 1,000,000 BTU/h heat equivalent input, its thermal efficiency is

This means that 30% of the energy is lost to the environment.

An electric resistance heater has a thermal efficiency close to 100%. when Comparing heating units, such as a high efficiency electric resistance heater to a natural gas-fueled furnace with an 80% efficiency, an economic analysis is needed to determine the most cost-effective choice.

What is Energy Efficiency?

The thermal efficiency is sometimes called the energy efficiency, which is the goal to reduce the amount of energy required to provide services and products. In the U.S., in everyday usage, the SEER is the more common measure of energy efficiency for cooling devices, as well as for heat pumps when in their heating mode. For energy-conversion heating devices, their peak steady-state thermal efficiency is often stated, for example, “the efficiency rating for this furnace is 90%”. There is a more detailed measure of seasonal energy effectiveness called the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE. For example, a 90% AFUE rating for a gas furnace means it outputs 90 BTUs of useful heating for every 100 BTUs of natural gas input. A higher AFUE means higher efficiency. Energy efficiency of a water heater is measured by its energy factor.

Water Heater Energy Factor

The energy factor (EF) indicates a water heater’s overall energy efficiency based on the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel consumed over a typical day. This includes the following

  • Recovery efficiency – how efficiently the heat from the energy source is transferred to the water
  • Standby losses – the percentage of heat loss per hour from the stored water compared to the heat content of the water this is most common in conventional storage water heaters
  • Cycling losses – the loss of heat as the water circulates through a water heater tank, and/or inlet and outlet pipes

The energy factor is what’s shown on the Energy Guide label which shows the unit’s overall operating costs, taking into account the burner and the heat exchanger efficiencies, as well as heat losses from the water tank. Most home appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers and clothes washers, display the prominent yellow-and-black Energy Guide which can be a valuable tool when purchasing theses types of products. The Energy Guide compares the average yearly operating costs of different water heaters, using the same criteria for all models tested. It lets you see which one would probably cost the less to run, which can also safe you money in the long run. Keep in mind that these figures are only estimates as the disclaimer at the bottom of the sticker explains; “Your cost will depend on your utility rates and use.”

how-to-read-an-energy-guide-label-600px

The higher the energy factor number, the higher the energy efficiency of the water heater. Electric water heaters have an average energy factor between .75 and .95, while gas water heaters range between .50 and .70.

Does this mean that electric water heaters are more energy efficient?

Electric models make better use of energy, while gas water heaters lose some of their energy up the vent. Although electric models may be more energy efficient, electric energy usually costs three times more than gas, so if you have a choice, it is still cheaper to use natural gas.

Electricity is created and delivered, which uses energy. One must take into account the entire picture and when doing so, you will find that in most places, gas is more efficient since it usually uses less energy to mine and deliver natural gas than to acquire some other energy source, convert it into electricity and deliver it. You should also take into consideration the energy used building and maintaining the infrastructure to produce and deliver the energy.

If you are going to buy an electric water heater, it’s recommended that you look for one with an Energy Factor equal to .93 or greater. This represents a 5 to 10 percent savings compared to a standard efficiency electric water heater. This higher efficiency is achieved by better tank insulation to reduce standby losses, and a device to block cooler water from adjacent water pipes from sinking into the tank where it needs to be reheated. The savings pay for the slightly higher costs of these heaters within a year or two.

A standard efficiency 40 gallon natural gas water heater typically has an Energy factor of about .55 due to inefficiencies of combustion, a central flue carrying heat away with combustion exhaust, and a continuous gas pilot light, as well as standby losses through insulation and thermo-siphoning. A gas water heater with an Energy factor of .62 or greater represents a 10% savings compared to a standard efficiency gas water heater.

In addition to reducing standby losses with added insulation and anti-thermo–siphon device, or heat traps, these improved efficiencies can be achieved for very little added cost by using electronic ignition instead of a pilot light, having automatic draft dampers, and reducing losses out of the flue by recovering more of the heat first.

 

WARNING:

Never attempt to repair or replace the unit unless you know exactly what you are doing. Remember, you are dealing with dangers including scalding hot water, natural gas flames, heavy lifting and risk of electrocution. If you have any questions concerning your water heater, call ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR today at 970-667-0300. We have experienced technicians and offer top quality service at an affordable price.