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At James Wall Plumbing, we analyze your water heater service needs and make recommendations based on your individual requirements. If you need service, repair or installation of an entire water heating system from the water source to the heating equipment, we’re ready to assist!
We will help you to select the right water heater for your home and your family’s needs, whether it be a traditional tank water heater or the latest innovation in tankless or solar-powered water heaters.
Having hot water available at the turn of a tap is a comfort we rely on in our daily lives, so having a reliable hot water heater is so important. While some older homes may still use boilers to provide hot water, the most common residential water heaters today are generally dedicated systems that may either have a tank or the increasingly popular tankless style.
Like any system you rely on in your home, it’s important to select the right hot water heater for your specific home and needs. Some factors to take into consideration when choosing a new hot water heater are the volume of hot water required, energy efficiency, and speed of regenerating more hot water when you have been using it for laundry, showers, dishwashers and other everyday tasks.
There are a range of models available and the experts at James Wall Plumbing can help you understand the differences and benefits of each so that you can make an informed choice.
Usually located in your basement, traditional hot water heaters consist of a tank in which water is heated and stored so that it is always available when you need it. Depending on the size of your home and how many people live there, you can choose from a range of sizes to ensure a consistent supply. Having said that, you want to make sure you don’t choose something too large for your needs or you will find yourself paying to heat more water than you need through your home energy bills.
Hot water heater tanks can be powered by electricity, natural gas, propane or oil, as well as by solar or geothermal power:
Electric hot water heaters have heating elements that receive the electrical current to heat the water in the tank. It is common to have one element at the bottom of the tank and another midway to the top.
The tank also has thermostats, usually two, that gauge the temperature of the water. When the temperature falls below a pre-determined level, the power source is triggered and the elements heat up, again ensuring a ready supply of hot water for you and your family. As you use hot water, cool water enters the tank from the top, and the corresponding drop in temperature triggers the mid-tank element to begin heating this fresh water supply.
You can adjust the thermostat according to your preferences, however it is recommended that it be set slightly lower, around 120 degrees Celcius. This helps to protect people from scalding while saving on energy usage and costs.
Using natural gas or propane to power your water tank can provide cost savings over electrical power while still providing excellent service. A gas burner is situated at the bottom of the tank, and a control or valve determines how much gas (aka power) is supplied to the burner. Cold water is fed into the bottom of the tank where it is heated by the burner. As it heats, it rises up to a hot water pipe that releases hot water when the tap is turned on. Natural gases produce exhaust which must be vented out of your home.
Rather than heating and storing hot water, tankless water heaters only heat water as it is needed, which is most often a more energy efficient approach as it doesn’t need to continually run to keep the water from cooling off in the tank. In order to ensure you have on-demand hot water, it uses a process that heats the water almost instantaneously. The heating units are generally located close to where they are needed, which means you may actually use less water. Since you don’t need to transport the hot water from your basement to your plumbing fixtures (sinks and tubs), you can save on water usage as well since you don’t have to wait for cold water to run down the drain as the hot pushes it through the pipes ahead of it.
If you have the option of installing solar panels on the exterior of your home or on your property, you can also look at solar-powered water heaters. The water is heated directly by the sun on panels or troughs before transporting it to a storage tank. The process of moving cool water onto the panels can be turned off at night or at other times when the sun is not visible or strong enough to power it. You may need to take into account your local climate when considering this type of power supply for your hot water heater.
With hot water tanks, once you have turned on your hot water tap, you have filled your hot water pipes with hot water and there it will stay when you are done. Over time it will cool off, meaning you will have to wait for new hot water to be transported to your tap the next time you need it. A hot water circulating pump can provide more on-demand hot water by ensuring the water in your pipes is always kept hot.
You may find that you are eligible for tax credits if you choose to replace your existing hot water heater with a more efficient model. Learn more at Natural Resources Canada.
Talk to the plumbing experts at James Wall Plumbing to get help selecting the right water heater for your home and your family’s needs.