5 Types of Water Heaters

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Are you struggling with the hot water supply in your home? Every morning starts the same: you wake up, dream about taking a hot shower before a long day, and turn on the water in the shower only to discover that your old water heater can no longer provide you with as much hot water as you need. The universe is giving you signs – now is the right time to buy a new water heater, which will ensure that your whole family can enjoy hot showers whenever they want!

 

But how to select a suitable hot water tank that will meet all the requirements? There are so many questions concerning its durability, capacity, energy efficiency, and other technical parameters that make this choice very difficult. In this article, we will compare five different types of water heaters to help you select the best one.

Conventional Storage Tank Water Heater:

This is the most widespread heater type, which provides excellent results. The cost of purchasing and installing this water heater is much lower compared to the alternatives. Moreover, the tank is insulated to ensure that water inside it maintains the desired temperature without using too much energy. Sadly, this type of hot water heater will not last long because the tank will eventually start to rust from the inside. If you have hard water in your home, be ready to regularly flush the heater to reduce the corrosion speed or think about installing a water softener filter.

Tankless Water Heater

A tankless water heater turns cool water into hot immediately as it passes around a series of hot coils. In comparison with other appliances, this type is supposed to last significantly longer, about 20 years. While this heater technically provides an unlimited supply of warm water, it’s not going to meet your needs if you use water at several points in your house (for instance, if several people in the household need to take showers in different bathrooms at the same time).

Condensing Water Heater

This option is suitable for homes with natural gas connections. It holds the hot exhaust gases, which are used then to heat water. This gas water heater is eco-friendly and will help you save money on utilities. At the same time, you should be aware that it requires plenty of space for installation.

Heat Pump Water Heater

The heat pump water heater is unique because it doesn’t generate energy but uses heat from the ground and air. With this appliance, you can reduce the amount of energy needed to supply your home with hot water by more than 50%. However, it is necessary to install this device in a proper spot. Cold places such as a basement will not be suitable. In addition, heat pump heaters have a small life span of just around ten years.

Solar-Powered Water Heater

This is the best heater type for solar panels users. This heater gets its energy from the sun, which makes it the most efficient and environmentally friendly model. At the same time, it runs on electricity or natural gas on cloudy days, so you won’t be left without a hot water supply. Unfortunately, these appliances are ineffective in cold and rainy climates and they remain the most expensive heaters to purchase and install.

How to choose a water heater?

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Did you know that on average, a water heater accounts for about 20% of all the energy used by a household? This number is surpassed only by heating and cooling costs. At the same time, nobody wants to end up with a water heater that doesn’t provide enough water when necessary, forcing members of your family to take cold showers and wash dishes in cold water. This is why choosing a good quality water heater is crucial. In this article, we will guide you through all the steps you need to take when choosing a hot water heater.

Choose fuel type

There are several types of water tanks depending on the fuel they use. Each type has its own pros and cons:

Electric water heater

These tanks use replaceable electric heating elements to heat up water. Their biggest advantage is their price, which is significantly lower compared to hybrid or gas heaters. Plus, some commercially available electric tanks are highly energy efficient.

Gas water heater

These tanks use gas burners to heat water, which is why they require adequate air circulation around them at all times. Plus, you need to ensure that there are no flammable or combustible materials in the vicinity of the heater. While these tanks are more expensive than their electric counterparts, they are also more energy-efficient, which can save you money in the long run. 

Hybrid or heat pump heaters

These appliances take energy from the air and use it to heat up water. Even though these tanks are more expensive than units that utilize other energy sources, they are more energy-efficient. Plus, they generally have a larger capacity than other heaters.

Select water heater type

Hot water tank

These are the most commonly used heaters in the US. Each unit is made up of an insulated tank that collects water, heats it to a certain temperature, and keeps it at that temperature until the water is used. The downsides of these appliances are that they produce only a limited amount of hot water and take up a lot of space. 

Tankless hot water heater

As the name suggests, a tankless water heater doesn’t have a tank where water is collected. Instead, it uses several coils to continuously heat liquid as it passes through them. These appliances are more energy-efficient than conventional models and they supply an unlimited amount of hot water.

Utility heaters

Utility heaters have a relatively small capacity of 2.5 to 19 gallons. These heaters are usually used as secondary units in homes, or they can be installed in garages, stores, or outbuildings to provide small amounts of hot water. They are

Choose heater capacity

If you choose to purchase an electric or gas tank, you need to decide what capacity to get. This will depend on the number of people living in your household and on the average amount of water your family uses. A household where everyone is used to taking quick showers will probably need a smaller capacity tank than a family that’s used to using a lot of hot water. Generally, a household with 1 to 2 people needs a 30-gallon tank, 2 to 3 people need 40 gallons, a family of 3 to 4 will need a 50-gallon unit, and households with 5 and more people should opt for an 80-gallon or more tank.

Causes of excessive water waste in the house: how to eliminate it?

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Plumbing problems often have devastating effects and require costly repair of damage and the prevention of possible emergencies in the future. If you notice signs of a leak, do not try to locate the source yourself, especially if you have no experience with plumbing fixtures. The right decision in this situation is to contact professionals. United Plumbing specialists are well aware of the causes of leaks in apartments and private houses and are ready to help at any time.
Causes of water leaks in the house and methods of their elimination
Leaky pipes are not the only reason for your huge water bills. The problem can be lurking in any equipment connected to the plumbing system and installed in the bathroom, toilet, kitchen, or laundry room:

Water heaters

Factory defect is one of the common causes of a water heater malfunction. In this case, the leakage will show itself soon after installing the device: the leakage will appear in the upper part of the boiler, but there will be no visual deformation. The way out is to return the product under warranty to the seller.
If the outer shell of the water heater is deformed, the responsibility for the errors that led to the water waste lies not with the manufacturer but with you. It indicates an incorrect connection to the water supply system, namely, an inappropriate installation of a safety valve on the water supply line. This particular detail protects the tank from excessive filling, which leads to deformation of the body. The solution to the problem is to dismantle the valve and install a new one. Deformation also occurs due to the low-quality pipes during installation, which requires a complete replacement of the device.
If there is a water leak from under the lid, the reason is scale formation. It is necessary to dismantle, clean the interior and install a new TEH. Water leaking through the inspection hole indicates that the gasket is worn out and needs to be replaced. In any case, you cannot do without the help of a competent plumber.

Washer

Let’s imagine you turned on your washer and soon found a local flood in the bathroom or laundry room. The only way out is the immediate disconnection of the device from the network and applying for a call to the masters marked “urgent”. Only they will be able to determine the cause of water waste. There are several possible sources: pipes, sewer, heating system, or the washer itself.
There are several signs, causes, and remedies for a washer leak:

Leakage from connections happens due to loose hose attachment to the body. Inspect hoses and tighten nuts.
A leak in the filter area happens due to problems with fixing the drain filter. Reinstall it, and if there are defects – replace it.
Front panel leaks happen due to blockage in the detergent dispenser hopper. Remove blockage by flushing the detergent dispenser. In case of high water pressure in the water supply system, reduce the pressure using the supply hose valve.
Leakage from the hatch or puddles under the machine happens due to deformation of the hatch cuff. Repair (in case of a small defect) or replace the cuff.
Leakage from the bottom without obvious signs happens due to problems with the pipe. Replace the components; in case of loosening of the clamps, tighten the clamps.

Toilet

A frequent reason for looking for plumbers nearby is a toilet malfunction. Most of the problems with the toilet are connected with defects in the drainage mechanism and connections to the sewer and plumbing system. Signs of a serious cistern leak are periodic puddles near the toilet and an unpleasant smell in the toilet. 

If a leak occurs from under the inner gasket, then it is time to change this part since it has lost its tightness (or was installed incorrectly), but if the source is the tank mount, it is necessary to replace the rubber band between the toilet and the tank.

Leakage in the connection to the sewer is a consequence of mistakes in the connection of the branch or installation of the gasket, which may be solved by repairing or replacing the equipment.

Basement pipes

Did you find a break in the water pipes in your basement? Immediately look for specialists for the request “plumbers near me”, indicating the city/region and make a request for an emergency home visit. Any delay threatens with a serious flood and damage to property. The cause of such accidents is obvious: pipe wear, blockage in the system, damage to a pipe section (for example, due to construction work). It is easy to notice the signs. It may be the appearance of water from under the doorway, windows, walls, etc., or the noise of water, or a strong characteristic smell.
It is possible to eliminate the accident only with the efforts of a whole team of plumbers using special equipment for pumping water and dehumidifiers, as well as materials for the prompt replacement of damaged equipment, both in the water supply and sewer mains.

So, any problem with the plumbing requires urgent intervention. Late repair and elimination of water leaks may cause water overruns, mold formation, severe property damage, and flooding of neighbors. Your task is to contact qualified plumbers when the first signs are found. Ours is to take emergency measures to find the source of the leak, eliminate it and minimize the possible consequences of the accident. Call the United Plumbing specialists 24/7!

When should you clean the shower drain?

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A clogged drain is a problem that owners of shower cabins face from time to time. It is not the result of mistakes made while installing a shower drain or its incorrect operation. When you are taking water procedures, water containing small debris gets into the plumbing pipes. Dirt accumulates in the siphon and over time completely obscures the pipe, which leads to disruptions in the operation of the whole system, and it becomes not as pleasant to go to the shower as it used to be. How do you know when it’s time to seek help from professionals?

Causes and signs of blockages in the drain system
Some of the most common causes of a clogged drain are hair, grease, makeup residues, clothing threads, pet hair, and random items. Contaminants such as grease and soap particles remain on the inner walls of the pipes, seal, and attract other debris to the sticky surface. If you find that something has got into the drain, but you cannot remove it or push it further down the drain, you should immediately call the specialist.
The first 3 signs that it’s the time of shower drain cleaning:

  • The slow outflow of water. If you notice that the water began to slowly leave the shower tray (or even stopped), this indicates the formation of a local blockage. But if there are problems with the bathtub drain, or sink, or toilet bowl, it is a sign of blockages in two or more pipes.
  • Mold in the bathroom/shower room. Disturbances in the plumbing system are usually accompanied by an air humidity increase, which, in turn, creates ideal conditions for the mold in the house.
  • Unpleasant smell. When the drain system is functioning properly, there is no smell of stagnant water. Its appearance in the bathroom or shower is a sign that it is time to call a plumber.

Methods for removing clogging in the shower
Found signs of blockage? Take measures to eliminate it as early as possible. If the cause is hair, wool, or grease, it is enough to use household chemicals and a plunger. However, this only applies to a drain installed recently and has not had time to get very dirty. Otherwise, you cannot cope without plumbing services.
Sometimes the situation can be corrected only by completely disassembling the siphon. The procedure involves removing dirt and debris from the inside up to plaque on the walls. Don’t perform such drain cleaning on your own – difficulties may arise at the stage of assembling the siphon. Insufficiently tight connection of the elements will lead to barely noticeable but unpleasant leaks.
Another option for solving the problem is a plumbing cable, a tool consisting of a metal rope (spring) and a handle. During its use, it is necessary to follow certain rules to prevent siphon damage: push and pull out carefully, rotate clockwise.
So, regardless of the reason for the blockage, it is better to play it safe and call the specialist at home. United Plumbing does more than just “fight” blockages. Whether you need to perform installing a new shower drain or a preventive pipe cleaning, we are always at your service.

Pitfalls of water heater installation and repairing

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A water heater is a simple solution to the problem of hot water lack in the house. Choosing a heating device as an alternative to a centralized hot water supply, you will forget what a sudden shutdown of water and a weak pressure are. Uninterrupted water circulation in the local water supply system is only guaranteed if the water heater installation is made according to all the rules. To avoid trouble with future use of the equipment, do not try to install it yourself: it is better to contact United Plumbing professionals.
Water heater installation and service
The installation features of the unit depend on its type and principle of operation. A gas appliance is based on a burner, and an electric one – on a tubular electric heater (TEH). An uninsulated spiral, a combination of heating elements and a heat exchanger, etc., can also be used as a heating element, depending on the type of equipment: storage (closed or open boiler) or flow-through. That is why a qualified specialist should deal with the troubleshooting and complete plumbing replacement – he is familiar with different equipment types.

If you are not versed in plumbing, you will have serious difficulties at the stage of device mounting. It can be positioned horizontally or vertically, recessed into a wall, mounted high on a wall, or installed permanently on the floor. General requirement: water heaters are allowed to be installed only if there is high-quality waterproofing in the room. You cannot do without the help of the specialist, because only he can assess the real situation: to check the equipment and determine the need for the plumbing repairing or replacing.
Installation features of different water heaters

Storage water heater

Wall-mounted ones are mounted high, considering the minimum distance from the taps; floor-mounted ones are mounted on a stand using special bolts and according to the requirements for the distance from the protective cover of the device to the nearest surface. There is a difference in the installation of vertical and horizontal models: depending on the capacity and location (including the degree of wall strength), they are placed on two or more support parts, hanging strips, or metal frames

Water heater service should be carried out strictly in accordance with the instructions. Direct connection of metal pipes and water pipes is prohibited, so United Plumbing specialists use plastic and metal-plastic adapters in the process of connecting equipment to the water supply system. So, the installation of a new heater consists of several stages:

  • Marking of attachment points, forming holes on the wall, placing the tank on the appropriate fasteners.
  • First cold and then hot water supply after installation of an emergency drain, a spring-loaded valve, a shut-off tap, and a fitting for a tight shut-off.
  • Connection with power line equipment with a circuit breaker to ensure a high level of safety.

Flowing-through water heater

Replacing flowing-through plumbing is much faster because of its compact size and low weight, which simplifies the installation process. In addition, the kit often includes supporting and fastening elements, which, if necessary, can be found in any building store.

The installation also begins with making holes and reliable mounting of the device. Of course, water supply requires strict adherence to instructions. The plumber will inform you in advance about ways to extend the life of the equipment, for example, by installing a filter to remove mechanical impurities. Before connecting the device to the network, the master will calculate the load and install an RCD to provide protection against leakage.
Water heating plumbing repair

Among the main reasons for the failure of a water heater, in addition to errors in installation, there are hard water and power outages. These problems lie on the surface, so they might be solved quickly: you can prevent scale formation by buying a filter and avoiding voltage surges by connecting uninterruptible power supplies.

United Plumbing offers variants for resolving various problems in the plumbing service process:

  • Disconnecting the RCD: ensuring the correct connection to the network, replacement of the machine
  • Interruptions in heating: checking and repairing/replacing the heating element, reconnecting to the network, cleaning the heating element.
  • Leaks: removing and installing a new gasket, tightening or replacing the flange nuts.
  • Extraneous sounds, current output: replacement of pipes or control boards; repair of heating element and control unit, grounding.
  • Overheating of the water heater: checking the thermal paste and the device or its reconnecting.

United Plumbing works with different types of water heaters. We can find the cause of the breakdown in a couple of minutes and make the right decision to eliminate it: whether it be a minor repair of the unit or installation from scratch. If you notice that the equipment has stopped working properly, contact our plumbers, and you will save time and money.