Category: Water heater

2 Water Heater Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

helpful water heater tips for Cincinnati homeowners

Your water heater is an essential item in your home. It is responsible for heating your tap water at the sink as well as providing hot water for bathing. If you’ve ever had to take a cold shower, the value of a water heater cannot be exaggerated! Here at Herrmann Services, our plumbers repair, service, and replace water heaters all the time. There are a few tips that we’d like to share with homeowners that will help ensure your safety, save you money, and increase the lifespan of your water heater. So here, without further ado, in no particular order, are the water heater tips for homeowners. 

If you need your Cincinnati water heater repaired or are looking to install a completely new unit. Head over to our Water heater page!

Check Your Water Heater Temperature

One of the biggest mistakes we see is that the water heater is set at a higher temperature than is safe. The default setting for most manufacturers is 140°F. If you’ve never adjusted the temperature on your water heater, this is probably where it is set. This is especially important in homes with small children who have a tendency to turn the water on and stick their hands under the faucet without testing the temperature first. Scalding water can cause serious harm. We recommend 120°F at the fixture or lower to keep kids safe. Setting your temperature lower will save you money as well. 

Get a Water Heater Tune-Up 

Most homeowners don’t realize that a water heater tune-up will not only help with your water heater’s efficiency, it will also extend the life of the unit. Over time, sediment builds up in your water heater. This sediment settles on the bottom, where, incidentally, the burner sits. The sediment insulates this burner and makes it harder for it to heat the water in the tank. During a maintenance check, He/she will also to flush the sediment out of your tank. 

Whether you have gas or electric water heater, minerals in your water will build up in your tank causing corrosion. Tanks are equipped with an anode rod specifically for preventing rust. The rods are made of steel and usually coated with magnesium or aluminum. Your plumber will replace the rod when necessary as well as check for faulty or leaking temperature and pressure valves and replace them. A tune-up also includes cleaning the burner on a gas water heater. Having the burner cleaned annually will extend the life of the water heater. 

Please feel free to pass these tips along to family, friends, and neighbors.

We hope your water heater continues to run flawlessly, but if your Cincinnati water heater ever needs help, has a leak, or is due for an upgrade to a tankless water heater, give us a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online. We will be happy to help!

Tankless Water Heater FAQs

endless hot water supply for your new Cincinnati water heaterIf you’re thinking of switching from a traditional tank-style water heater to a tankless water heater, you’ve probably got some questions. The team here at Herrmann Services has answers. We put together this list of frequently asked questions to hopefully address your biggest concerns. If you still have questions after reading this, just give us a call and one of our plumbing experts will be glad to answer them all.

How does a tankless water heater work?

When a hot water faucet is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the tankless water heater. A gas burner heats the water, which then travels to the faucet. As a result, tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water.

What are the advantages of a tankless water heater?

The biggest advantage is the endless hot water supply. Because a tankless water heater heats water on demand, as long as you have a cold water supply, it can change it into hot water continuously. This allows you to have more freedom because you don’t have to plan your activities around your existing water heater’s limitations.

Another advantage is that it saves space. Because a tankless water heater is about the size of a carry-on suitcase, it doesn’t take up room in your basement. It is mounted on a wall saving floor space.

Energy savings – According to Energy.gov, for homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, tankless water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional tank water heaters. ENERGY STAR® estimates that a typical family can save $100 or more per year with an ENERGY STAR qualified tankless water heater.

Longevity – on average, a tankless water heater lasts 20-25 years. A traditional tank water heater 10-15 years.

Does a tankless water heater supply instant hot water from the tap?

No. Whether you have a tank or a tankless style, you still have to wait for the water that is in the pipes from the previous use to run through before you feel the hot water after it. The only way to get instant hot water is to install a circulation pump

Do tankless water heaters require maintenance?

Yes. But they are very low maintenance. They require an annual or a bi-annual flush to remove calcium from hard water. If you have a water softening system, you may not require any maintenance.

With a regular water heater, it is recommended that you drain it and flush sediment buildup from the tank at least once a year. Sediment in your tank can affect hot water quality and also reduce efficiency because the layer of buildup insulates the burner from the water.

How many years does a hot water heater last vs.a tankless style?

As a general rule, a tank style water heater will last, on average, 10-15 years. Tankless water heaters will last 20-25 years. This is mainly due to the fact that they have easily replaceable parts that extend their life by many more years.

Are there downsides to a tankless water heater?

There are few downsides to a tankless water heater. The biggest one is that it is more expensive than a traditional tank-style water heater. The average cost with installation: Tank – $1,200 (40 to 50-gallon tank), Tankless – $5,000.

The only other downside is that when you lose power, you also lose the ability to make hot water. With a tank, you will at least have some hot water for a little while until it cools down. However, we can install a battery backup for a computer to provide enough electricity for short term use.

#1 Tankless Water Heater Installations in Cincinnati

Whether you choose to repair your conventional water heater or install a brand new tankless water heater, look to the experts here at Herrmann Services to get the job done right. Click here to read the pros and cons of conventional water heaters.

If you’re interested in learning more about tankless water heaters or would like to have one installed, give us a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

Water Heater 101: Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Water Heater TipsWater heaters are wonderful. They provide hot water right to our faucets whenever we need it. There are a few things you can do to make sure your water heater is safe, energy efficient, and lasts. The team at Herrmann Services has put together this list of helpful water heater tips and tricks to help you and your family live better, safer, and more affordably.   

Insulate Your Water Heater

Since your water heater stores hot water 24/7, much of the heat can escape through the walls unless they are insulated. This loss is called standby loss because it is heat lost while the heater is standing by for use. Insulating your water heater can reduce standby heat loss by 25%-50% which translates to savings of 4%-9% on your bill. These blankets, made of special insulation, are also sometimes called water heater jackets or sweaters and can be found at home improvement stores.

To see if your tank is a good candidate for a jacket, just touch it. It should not feel warm. If it does then the tank is not well insulated and a good candidate for this easy project. Check its label to see if it has an R-value of at least 24. If not, you should insulate your tank.

Look for a blanket with an R-5 to R-10 rating. Insulating blankets are easy to install and inexpensive – roughly $20. When dressing your tank for saving energy, be careful not to block the thermostat on an electric water heater or the air inlet and exhaust on a gas unit.

Insulate the Pipes

Insulated hot water pipes can raise the effective hot water temperature at your shower head or faucet by 2°F to 4°F over the same water heater setting if the pipes were not insulated. You don’t need to insulate all the hot water piping, only the first 5 to 10 feet from the water heater. Insulating the hot water pipe means you won’t have to wait as long for it to heat up, which will save energy, water, and money.

Set It for a Safe Temperature

If the temperature on your water heater is set too high, the water can scald someone. This is especially important if you have small children in your home who may accidentally turn on just the hot water tap. On residential tanks, the settings are normally warm, hot, very hot or something similar to that. There is much variation on what these settings mean, but the safe temperature is 120 degrees at the tap. If your water heater doesn’t have exact settings, you can test the temperature with a meat or candy thermometer to see what it is when it comes out of the faucet.

Water Heater Maintenance

Your water heater requires very little maintenance. However, silt or sediment will build up a the bottom of the tank over time. This sediment makes your water heater less efficient because it settles on the bottom where the heating element is and insulates the water from the heat. Your water heater should be drained once a year to keep sediment from accumulating. If you have an annual tune-up, your plumber should drain it then as well as check for proper wiring and venting, and check the anode rod which prevents corrosion inside the tank. It may need to be replaced if it has dwindled to less than a half inch thick or is covered with calcium deposits.

Safety Tips You Should Follow

Know how to turn off the water and gas or power supply. This is important in the event of an emergency, if your water heater is leaking, or you smell gas. There should be a gas valve or a disconnect switch within a few feet of the water heater. It’s also a good idea to know where your main gas shut-off valve is if your water heater is gas. If not, find out which breaker controls the water heater if it is electric.

Clear the area around your water heater. There are several reasons why it’s a good idea to give your water heater some space.

    • A gas water heater needs a good supply of oxygen to burn the gas. If a water heater can’t get enough oxygen, it can affect the efficiency of the unit. This can cause damage to the burner chamber and other water heater parts as well. It can even cause carbon monoxide leaks.
    • If the unit starts to leak, everything around it will get wet. You may not even notice if the area around it is hidden from view.
  • Storing items too close to the water heater can be a fire hazard.

Signs of Trouble to Look For

    • If you noticed any black residue, soot or charred metal, this is a sign you may be having combustion issues. You should have the unit serviced by a professional.
    • If you ever smell gas, turn off the gas supply and contact a professional.
  • For electric water heaters, look for any signs of leaking such as rust streaks or residue. This can be found around the upper and lower panels  on the tank. 

If you need help with your water heater, or need a new water heater installed, call the team at Herrmann Services at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.