6 Common Causes of a Leaking Water Heater

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6 Common Causes of a Leaking Water Heater

A hot shower is one of life’s simple pleasures and one that most of us count on without giving it any thought. So when that shower turns unpleasant due to low water pressure or no hot water we want a simple fix. The problem is quite possibly a leaky water heater. Troubleshooting the exact cause starts with understanding the various causes of water heater leaks, and the first step is examining the tank to find the source.

Here are six common causes of a leaking water heater:

1. Drain valve

One common cause — and the easiest to fix — is a loose drain valve. A drain valve can loosen over time and create a slow leak. Simply tighten it with a wrench just until it is snug. Be careful not to over tighten it and don’t force it.

2. Air pressure

Pressure can build up in the tank. This forces water to leak out of the tank in order to relieve the pressure. This occurs most commonly when the water temperature is set too high. It can also happen if the pressure from the exterior water supply is too great, or if the temperature pressure relief valve is defective.

3. Age of the water heater

Water heaters typically last 8-10 years. As they near the end of their lifespan, corrosion becomes more evident and can result in a leak. If this the case, call your HVAC technician immediately to address the problem. Waiting too long puts you at risk for flooding and the damage and headaches that come with it.

4. Condensation

Condensation can occur on the outside of the water heater when cold water enters the tank and the outside air is hot. This can sometimes be mistaken for a leak, but it is normal and common. Simply wipe down the water heater.

5. Rust

Water heaters are often made of steel, which is mostly iron. An anode rod inside prevents the iron from rusting, but over time, the rod can wear out and fail. If that happens, the rust will eventually create a leak. Prior to that, however, you may notice your hot tap water develop a rusty brown color. Call your technician right away to replace the anode tube and prevent further damage.

6. Sediment build-up

Over time, the minerals that exist naturally in hard water can settle in the bottom of the water tank and create a layer thick enough to block access to the burner that heats the water. As a result, the burner runs longer to heat the water and the excess wear and tear leads to deterioration. This can cause a leak or, worst case, cause the water tank to burst. Prevent sediment build-up by flushing the tank once a year.

Rheem Pro Partner serves Colorado and Wyoming. Contact us today for all your heating and cooling needs.

Tankless vs Tank Water Heaters — The Pros & Cons

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Tankless vs Tank Water Heaters -- The Pros & Cons

A new water heater for your home is a substantial investment and choosing the right one is a decision you will live with for years. Whether you are replacing an old water heater or choosing what to install in a new home, knowing your options is an important first step. Start by determining which type of water heater is best for your situation: tank (storage) or tankless (on demand).  Each offers benefits and trade-offs. The main considerations are cost, efficiency and longevity.

As the name implies, tank water heaters work by storing water (typically 30-50 gallons) in an insulated tank and heating it continually so it is ready when you turn on the faucet. As the water is used, fresh water refills the tank and is heated.

Tankless water heaters do not store water. Instead, when needed, high-powered burners heat the water as it passes through a heat exchanger on its way to the faucet.

Here’s how both types of water heater measure up.

A tankless water heater is significantly more expensive to purchase initially, both for the unit itself and for the installation, particularly if you are replacing a traditional water heater with a tankless system. However, a tankless system will cost less over time, both in lower energy costs and replacement costs. Tankless water heaters can last twice as long as a water heater with a tank.

Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient because instead of continuously heating a large amount of water (whether it is used or not), the tankless system only heats the water as needed. How efficient the water heater is varies based on the amount of water used. For less than 41 gallons per day tankless systems are 24-34% more efficient than tanks. That percentage drops with more water used, but efficiency still remains greater for tankless water heaters. Homes that use natural gas will save more over those that use electricity to heat water.

Other considerations:

  • Tankless water heaters take up less space than a tank heater, which may be a consideration in new construction or if you are looking to remodel.
  • With a tankless system, there is no waiting for hot water. Less water is wasted because you don’t need it to run until it heats up.
  • Tankless heaters have difficulty heating water for multiple uses at once, such as two people taking simultaneous showers or using the dishwasher and the washing machine at the same time. However, an inadequately sized water tank can also result in hot water running out after several showers or other uses.
  • Storage tank systems are simpler and repairs are less costly.
  • Talk to your Rheem Pro Partner about ways to increase the amount of hot water your tank water heater produces using mixing valves and other accessories.

Colorado and Wyoming homeowners, contact a Rheem Pro Partner to determine which water heater is right for you… Contact us today!

10 Easy Ways to Conserve Energy at Home

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10 Easy Ways to Conserve Energy at Home

Owning and operating a home can be expensive, but one way to save money is to save energy. Saving energy doesn’t have to mean huge sacrifices in comfort or quality of life. Today, many savvy Colorado and Wyoming homeowners take these simple steps to keep their homes operating efficiently and economically. By giving a little attention to your HVAC system, including your air conditioner, furnace, water heater, and heat pump, as well as addressing other common energy guzzlers, you can save, too!

Here are 10 steps you can take today:

1. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120 degrees).
Most water heaters come from the factory with a default setting of 140 degrees. Lowering the setting to 120 degrees not only saves energy, it also prevents scalding. This is especially important in homes with young children.

2. Make sure your water heater has an insulating blanket.  
Installing an insulating blanket is a quick, inexpensive fix that will pay for itself within a year in energy cost savings.

3. Make sure your air conditioner, furnace or heat pump receive professional maintenance each year. Look for the ENERGYSTAR label when replacing your system.
Regular professional maintenance can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your HVAC system by preventing costly breakdowns, as well as by keeping your equipment operating at peak efficiency. When it is time to buy a new system, the ENERGYSTAR label will help you determine the models that are most energy efficient. This is an important consideration when making your buying decision because it directly impacts the overall cost. As a general rule, purchasing the most efficient system you can afford will give you the greatest savings over time.

4. Replace your incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or LEDs.  
CFLs and LEDs are more expensive to purchase than the standard incandescent bulbs but can save three-quarters of the electricity used. Start by replacing incandescents that are 60-100W and are used several hours a day.

5. Turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms.
Consider installing timers, photo cells or occupancy sensors to make turning off lights in empty rooms and spaces effortless.

6. Turn off your computer when you are not using it. 
Turn off the monitor if you aren’t using it for more than 20 minutes, and turn off both the CPU and the monitor if they won’t be used for more than 2 hours.

7. Unplug equipment that drains energy when not in use.  
Many appliances use energy even when they are not turned on such as cell phone chargers, fans, televisions and coffee makers.

8. Install a programmable thermostat. 
A programmable thermostat is an inexpensive device that makes your HVAC smart by only heating and cooling your home when you need it. While you are at work or school during the day or sleeping at night, the temperature setting adjusts so your home is comfortable, but you are not paying for energy that you don’t need.

9. Clean or replace filters in your furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump.  
Replacing (or cleaning) your air filters every 30-60 days (depending on need) will keep your system clean and efficient, and help prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

10. Caulk leaky windows and doors.  
Improve the comfort of your home and stop paying for wasted energy by sealing air leaks and adding sufficient insulation.

The experts at Rheem Pro Partner are ready to answer all your home energy questions. Contact us today to learn more!

Hot Water Heater Troubleshooting

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