Tag Archives: Water Heaters

Hybrid Water Heaters and Point of Use Water Heaters

As promised, today we will be discussing hybrid water heaters and point of use (POU) water heaters.  In recent years, hybrid water heaters and POU water heaters have been seeing a rise in popularity. We all know the two most popular types of residential water heaters are either gas or electric tank storage heaters and tankless water heaters. Both do well to serve their purpose, but they are not the only options. POU and hybrid water heaters shouldn’t be ruled out when making a decision about the water heating system in your home. This is especially true if you have high demand water usage and energy efficiency is important to you. Both offer many options and offer more function than traditional water heaters.

Hybrid Water Heaters

Hybrid water heaters come in different configurations with heat pumps, tanks, tankless, electric, gas, and solar. With evolving technology, new designs with a focus on efficiency and high volume water supply are being introduced. Some of the more popular and reliable brands are Rheem, Rinnai, General Electric, and AO Smith.

Tank-Tankless Hybrids

 Hybrid Water Heaters - Tank-Tankless

Standard tankless water heaters can have issues keeping up with multiple fixture demand. A storage tank heater is  good with multiple fixture demand but not with long periods of usage. Tank-tankless hybrid water heaters provides the convenience of large volumes of hot water when you need it and makes the process much more efficient. The ability to have instant hot water is  coupled with the hybrid’s ingenuity. This design Integrates a storage tank with a tankless water heater. Instead of supplying hot water directly to the fixtures, the tankless unit supplies constant hot water to the storage tank. Constantly replenishing the tank allows for longer periods of use. Complete recovery of a 40 Gallon storage tank water heater is approximately 1 hr for gas and 2 hrs for electric models. Tank-tankless hybrid water heaters recover a full tank in only a few minutes.

Installation is an easy conversion from storage tank models. There is minimal pipe work required as they are about the same size, and the hot and cold water connections are the same as standard tank units. Initial cost is higher than a standard water heater but the efficiency and convenience of endless hot water is well worth the investment.

Heat Pump-Tank Hybrid Water Heaters

Hybrid Water Heater - Heat Pump-Tank

Heat pump-tank hybrid water heaters are very similar is design and style of a standard storage tank water heater. The innovation with this design is incorporating heat pump technology. Utilizing heat in the air  to assist in heating the stored water translates to efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. Heat pump-tank hybrid water heaters are more than 50% more energy efficient than conventional electric water heaters. They also heat water more quickly. Most heat pump-tank hybrid water heaters ship in full hybrid mode.  This setting will primarily use the heat pump and only engage the internal elements when required.  Most models have built in timers and a control panel where you can select different operating modes. This helps to balance your household hot water needs and efficiency desires.

The general size and water connections are the same as a conventional water heater. The installation is straightforward but does require the installation of a condensation drain line. They are ideal replacements for homes in a warmer climate with basements, garages, or utility rooms. They operate best in locations with warm ambient air temperatures. As with the tank-tankless hybrid, the initial costs are higher, but that cost can  be offset by the savings on your energy bill.

Point of Use Water Heaters

Point of Use Water Heater

Point of use (POU) water heaters are similar in design to tankless units but are smaller and designed for single fixtures. POU water heaters installation options include lavatory sinks, showers,  laundry rooms,  and kitchen sinks. They are installed very near the fixture. As water travels through your plumbing it drops in temperature. POU units are very helpful when your fixture is quite a distance away from your centralized heater.  Another option is to place a POU water heater at every, well, point of use. This is ideal if you use less than 30 gallons of water a day. You heat only what you use so there is less energy used keeping large amounts of water heated.

POU water heaters generally run from the $125.00 – $250.00 range and most of them can be plugged into a standard 120 V three prong plug. Installation costs for each unit are reasonable.  So, in certain situations the purchase and install for each fixture can be comparable to other whole house water heating appliances.

What Type of Water Heater Should You Buy?

In order to determine whether a hybrid water heater, POU water heater, tankless, or just a standard gas or electric tank water heater is best for you, it important to know how much water you use in one day. How many showers are being taken? How many loads of clothes are being washed? The maximum amount of hot water you may use at once is also an important figure to factor in. To properly size an new water heater, count how many fixtures you have and determine how many fixtures may be used at the same time and for what purpose.

The best course of action is always to contact a reliable plumber to consider all these factors. .They can help determine whether a hybrid water heater, POU water heater, tankless, or a standard tank water heater is best for you. Remember, although the initial cost of hybrid water heaters, tankless, and POU units may be higher, the costs can be recovered over time through savings on your energy bill. Also, many of the high efficiency units are eligible for local energy company rebates and tax credits that can significantly offset the cost of purchase and installation.

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Water Heaters – Residential Guide

A Guide to Residential Water Heaters

Today we will be talking about the two most common types of residential water heaters. Conventional storage tank water heaters that most of us have in our homes, and  tankless water heaters that have become more popular in the past few years.  Both of these types are whole home water heaters that can supply hot water to all fixtures in your home simultaneously.

Water heaters can account for well over 15% of residential energy costs. Choosing the right style and energy source for your household needs is an important decision. The efficiency of water heaters varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, model, and fuel sources.

Storage Tank Water Heaters

The most common type of water heater is the storage tank style that we are all familiar with. They store large amounts of heated water for use when needed.  A small initial investment is needed and they have economical operational costs over time. Energy sources for storage tank water heaters include electric, natural gas, or  propane. (Note: natural gas and propane water heaters require additional venting for safety). Since water heaters can be installed in a closet, garage, basement, or even an attic, there are multiple styles and capacities to choose from to fit your usage and placement needs.  Residential storage tanks range in capacity from 20 to 80 gallons.

For households with:

Water Heaters - Residential Gas

***Vented Natural Gas Water Heater***

1 or 2 people, a 20-30 gallon tank is recommended.

2 – 4 people, 40 gallon tank is recommended.

3-5 people, 50 gallon tank is recommended.

5 or more, 60 gallons or more is recommended.

Short or “low boy” tank styles have a larger circumference and shorter height. They are ideal for placement under cabinetry, on shelving in a utility room, or in an attic.

Medium tank styles are smaller in circumference than the short style and taller in height.  These are the most common tank style and are ideal for larger spaces like garages, utility rooms, and basements.

Tall tank styles are taller and thinner than the medium style. This style is for installation in tight spaces like a closet, small utility room, or to save space in a smaller garage.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless Natural Gas Water Heater

Tankless water heaters are becoming more popular, especially for condominiums and smaller household with only one or two people. Tankless water heating systems heat water on demand using a natural gas or propane burner (Note: natural gas and propane water heaters require additional venting for safety), or an electric element as it passes through the water heater. They require a larger up-front investment that can be recovered over time by eliminating the energy costs related to keeping a large tank of water at a consistent temperature. Tankless units can save up to 30% of your monthly energy costs related to heating water for your home.

Tankless water heaters are compact units that can easily be mounted on the outside wall, in a garage, or utility closet. Some tankless water heaters come equipped with waterproof remote controls. These allow adjusting the temperature as needed. You might want 120°F when running dishwasher, 104°F for kids bath time, then back up to 110°F to fill the tub for a relaxing soak.

To properly size the tankless hot water heater you will require, you will need to calculate the maximum amount of hot water your home may use at one time. This is known as the flow rate. Flow rate is determined by how many fixtures you expect to be using at the same time, the type of fixtures (kitchen faucet, shower faucet, dishwasher, etc.), and size of supply piping. Contact a licensed plumbing company to assist you in determining the correct flow rate required to properly size the tankless water heater in your home. Remember to always be a smart plumbing consumer. Research the plumbing company before you hire them by checking out their reviews on their website, their BBB ranking and their reviews on Google +.

Other Water Heating Options

There are other water heater options for your home. Hybrid systems employ elements of the storage tank design with the addition of a heat pump to increase hot water production and efficiency. Another type are point of use systems. These systems are smaller, individual water heaters that are installed near the specific locations hot water is required. Point of use units are usually used to supplement a tank or tankless system. Keep an eye out for a follow up post where we will delve further into the hybrid water heaters and point of use water heaters.

Who’s Got Plumbing??? We all do!! So Subscribe via email in the right hand column and receive automatic notifications of new informative plumbing articles. Have a great day.

Find a Good Plumber – 8 Simple Steps

Tips on Picking a Good Plumber

How to Find a Good Plumber - 8 Simple Steps

As a 24 hour plumbing company we take a LOT of calls from customers who are cautious and a little distrusting when they call looking for a good plumber. Service providers who visit your home require a higher level of trust and comfort than the dry cleaner or computer store that you visit on their territory. Many times customers will insist on a getting a price for plumbing services over the phone. Because they want the reassurance of price comparing when shopping for services, customers will call multiple plumbers. This is a valid method for shopping for many items and is a practice I have used many times myself. However, plumbing problems can be very complex and nearly impossible to accurately price over the phone.

A good plumber will want to examine the problem and arrive at a true diagnosis. They can then give an accurate written estimate for the plumbing repair service. Therefore, any price you get on the phone is a vague estimate, not a firm price. Additionally, if you use this technique for plumbing services you are putting yourself at the mercy of unscrupulous companies. They will low ball you on the phone just to get their “foot in the door”, and raise the price once they are in your home or business. The best way to be a smarter plumbing consumer is to do some research in finding a good plumber before you need one. This will help to avoid making a  panicked call to to get your plumbing issue fixed by the first plumber that can get to your home or business.

8 Simple Steps to Finding a Good Plumber:

  1. Visit a few local plumbing company websites and look for informative content.
  2. Research the company owner. Is it a faceless chain or local family owned business?
  3. Be sure they are a licensed, bonded, and insured plumbing company.
  4. Insure they provide binding, written estimates explaining the plumbing repairs.
  5. Insure they guarantee their work and the warranties are written on the estimate.
  6. Read their reviews on their website, and sites like Google+ and Home Advisor.
  7. Check the Better Business Bureau website for the plumbing company’s rating.
  8. Make sure there is no trip charge, estimate charge, or fuel charge.

In conclusion, a little research can go along way in finding a good plumber. It can give you the peace of mind you are looking for when you have a plumbing issue in your home or business. Once you have the information and assurance through your research, pick the plumbing company that you are most comfortable hiring. A great place to start your research are local plumbing companies and not the big name-brand chains.

Who’s Got Plumbing??? We all do! See ya soon.