FAQ Water Heaters
In January 2004, the US Department of Energy (DOE) decided not to establish "Energy Star" criteria for the domestic water heating product category. Although this decision will be reviewed in the Fall of 2006, the DOE has acknowledged that water heaters manufactured after 2003 are produced in compliance with the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA).
The DOE recognized that the potential incremental energy savings offered by the best performing conventional gas and electric products would not be significant enough to justify the awarding of an ENERGY STAR designation. Residential water heaters were required to conform to the DOE’s NAECA standard in January 2004. Specific details and a letter from the DOE can be found at the following link:
Overall energy efficiency is always a top priority with our customers.
The water heater Energy Factor (EF) is a measure of the overall efficiency of the water heater. This is determined by comparing the energy in the heated water used daily to the total daily energy consumption of the water heater. The EF can be used to compare the energy efficiency of water heaters. Water heaters with higher EFs will have lower annual operating costs than comparable models with lower EFs. A higher EF signifies a more efficient the model. Water heaters with high EF ratings may cost more initially but save energy and money in the long run. Eventually, they will pay for themselves through a lifetime of energy savings.
The diptube is another name for the cold water inlet. If you are facing the front of the water heater (where the labels are), the cold water inlet, or diptube, is on the right hand side.
For most water heaters, the anode rod is attached to the hot water outlet of the water heater. If you are facing the front of the water heater (where the labels are), the hot water outlet is on the left hand side. The anode rod is often referred to as a “sacrificial rod”.
Most water is rarely “pure”. It can contain oxygen, magnesium, fluoride, chlorine and suspended particles. These components, in the concentrations in your water, are usually not bad for you. However, they do contribute to the taste and smell of the water. They also impart a slight conductivity to the water. Through an electrical process called electrolysis, this conductivity will eventually (over a long period of time) cause most metal to rust or corrode. When the water is heated, this electrical process can be accelerated.
Most water heaters are made of a steel tank with a porcelain enamel (glass) lining. However, due to production and assembly methods, it is not always possible to completely cover the inside of the tank. Therefore it’s important to provide metal that can be consumed by the electrical process. This is where the sacrificial anode rod comes in. By acting as a lightning rod for the corrosion process, the anode rod draws the harmful electrolytic process away from the water heater tank and focuses the corrosion on the anode rod.
You might have sediment buildup in your tank. As water heaters age, they tend to accumulate sediment and lime deposits. If the heaters are not cleaned periodically, the sediment may rise to a level that will act as a barrier between the burner and the water, making it harder to heat. An article published in a national ASPE plumbing journal states: for every half inch of sediment on the bottom of a gas fired water heater, it requires 70% more fuel to heat the water.
The combined presence of hydrogen, sulfur, and bacteria cause foul smelling water. The magnesium anode rod installed in the tank protects the tank surface but generates enough hydrogen to create an odor when it interacts with sulfur in the water or bacteria in the tank. Replacing the magnesium anode rod with an aluminum anode may minimize the problem. The most efficient method of eliminating the hydrogen sulfide odor is to control the bacteria. As a rule, chlorination of public water supplies kills the bacteria, but some private well systems may need to be purified by the use of chlorine injectors or ultraviolet light. This will destroy the bacteria.
The Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has determined that any gas appliance exposed to flooding should be replaced. In a press release, GAMA advised against do-it-yourself repairs:
“With heavy rains bringing the possibility of severe flooding, it is important to remember that all flood-damaged plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical appliances and related systems should be replaced, rather than repaired... (GAMA) stresses that the repair of flooded appliances and related systems (including damaged venting and electrical connections) is not a job for the do-it-yourselfer, no matter how skilled. This is particularly true of control valves, according to the GAMA official. These components are manufactured to extremely close tolerances. Once submerged in floodwaters, they must be replaced. Field repairs should never be attempted by the homeowner.”
(taken from www.gamanet.org)
Potential damage to controls on oil, gas and electric water heaters present an increased risk factor to the homeowner. This damage may be visible, but can also be hidden behind a cover or jacket. Exposure to flooding conditions can cause corrosion of controls and components, a build-up of dirt/debris or a short circuit situation. Even though appliances exposed to flooding may appear to be operational, the gradual buildup of dirt and corrosion over time can render safety devices inoperative.
GAMA, or the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association, has been around since 1935 as a national trade association of manufacturers of residential, commercial and industrial appliances and equipment, components and related products. GAMA's scope includes oil-fired and electric equipment as well as gas-fired equipment. For more information about GAMA, please visit their website www.gamanet.org.
A water heater should be placed in an area that will prevent damage to floors, ceilings, and furniture if the heater leaks. When this is not possible, a drain pan must be installed under the water heater. Since a typical drain pan doesn't hold that much water, it must have a pipe to a drain or other outlet for the water. When installed properly, a drain pan and pipe will keep any leakage under control and protect your belongings from water damage.
Periodic checks on the anode rod to ensuring that all connections are secure. Recommendations for maintenance are in your Installation and Operation manual. However, there are a few things that you can do:
- Ensure that there are no sources of flammable vapors in the same area as your water heater (this includes gasoline, heating oils, lighter fluid, propane, etc.)
- Keep the top of the water heater clean. If you notice water dripping on the water heater from any piping, contact a plumbing professional to have the leak repaired.
- Keep the space around your water heater clean and free of dirt, boxes, paint cans, aerosol cans, household cleaners and trash. It is important to keep the heater accessible for proper operation and easy maintenance.
We know you have a lot of choices in choosing a plumbing, heating and cooling service company. Here are some major reasons for choosing Service Network:
On-time service-We will be there when we say we will.
You won't have to wait around all day-We schedule appointments in a 2 hour window.
We will call you to let you know when we're 30 minutes away-This allows you the freedom to go on with your life. You've got better things to do than wait around for a service company.
We accept all major credit cards and checks-You can keep earning those credit card rewards.
Our technicians are licensed, bonded and insured-Giving you peace of mind in knowing you're dealing with professionals.
We speak your language-No technical mumbo-jumbo. We'll explain your problem in terms you can understand. And, we'll give you options so you can make the best choice for you.
We'll fix it right the first time!-You didn't want or have time for the problem in the first place. That's why we go to great detail to make sure we get it fixed right the first time.
So Give Us A Try and You'll Be Glad You Did!
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