Prolong the Life of Your Water Heater Through Proper Maintenance

Water heaters have become a necessity today. Proper maintenance can help your water heater provide trouble free service for many years. Some basic maintenance measures are all that are required to save a bundle on water heater repair or replacement.

Signs that your heater needs to be serviced

If the water coming out of your heater has bad odor, strange color or sediments, it’s a clear indication that cleaning is required. Decrease in the efficiency of heater is also a sign that it is time for maintenance check. Your water heater can cause your energy bills to soar, if not maintained properly. Anode rod is one of the most important parts of a heater. The presence of orange colored water beneath the rod is a clear signal that it needs to be replaced.

It is best not to wait for your water heater to give out rust colored water or fall to floor because of rusting before you call the plumber. Proper water heater maintenance helps you save money in a number of ways. It increases the heater’s lifespan, avoids the necessity to buy a new one and ensures efficient use of energy.

Common problems and their solutions

Buildup of sediments and minerals is often the main cause of water heater problems. Sediments collected at the bottom of your water heater can be easily cleaned using a brush and garden hose. You can just scrub out the sediments and then flush them away using the hose. It is recommended to do this at least once a year. If the water in your area is hard, frequent cleaning may be required as the sediments tend to buildup faster. Simply flushing the heater with water every few months will also help you keep it clean.

Corrosion of anode rod is another common problem in old heaters. It is advisable to check the rod every few months for any signs of corrosion and replace it if required. Bacteria can cause bad odor in your water heater. This can be easily taken care of with bleach. You can add bleach, fill the tank with water and let it stay for some time to get rid of bacteria. This can be followed by routine flushing.

If your water heater provides too cold or too hot water, you may be able to solve this problem with simple adjustments in the thermostat. Leaks can cause considerable damage, it is best to take the help of a professional plumber to identify the source of the leak and fix it at the earliest.

Signs that your water heater needs to be replaced

One of the easiest ways to decide whether or not you need to replace your heater is by considering its age. The lifespan of a gas operated water heater is around 8 – 12 years, while the electric ones can offer trouble free service for up to 15 years. The lifespan of tankless is believed to be longer than that of electric heaters, but they are relatively new and age may not be the best indicated of whether or not they need to be replaced. If you notice moisture near the base of your eater, it may indicate a small leak. A plumber will be able to tell you, if the heater can be repaired or needs to be replaced.

If the heater is so rusted that it is giving out rusty water, it may be time to replace it. In spite of proper maintenance, if your heater is unable to provide the same amount of hot water as before, it may need to be replaced. You may wait for the heater to stop working completely before buying a new one, only if you don’t mind taking cold showers. Decrease in efficiency is the best indicator that a water heater needs to be replaced.

Once you have made the decision, the next step is to choose a new one, which is most suitable for your needs. Today so many types of water heaters and water circulation systems are available in the market that selecting the best among them can be confusing. Your choice should be based on the amount of hot water your family needs.

If your old heater operated on gas, making a change to an electric water heater and vice versa can be expensive. Based on the place where you reside, solar water heater is another option worth considering as it is not only eco friendly, but also pays for itself in a few years time in energy saving and rebates. But you will have to make initial investment for installation. Knowing various types of water heaters and water circulation systems available in the market will help you decide which one is the most appropriate for your requirements.

Types of water heaters and water recirculation systems

Today mainly two types of water heaters are in use, conventional storage heaters and tankless heaters. Although in use since a long time, traditional storage type heaters have come a long way. Modern storage style heaters are eco friendly, more efficient and include many safety features. These heaters, if maintained properly, can serve you for many years. All you need to do is flush the heater annually and check the anode rod periodically to ensure that your storage style water heater remains in good condition.

Tankless offer many benefits including lower energy cost, lesser space requirement, longer lifespan than storage type heaters and most importantly endless hot water supply. But unless you choose a tankless of appropriate size, you may not get desired results. These heaters often need a new vent line and a dedicated gas line. It may be a good idea to install a water softener with a tankless heater. Annual de-scaling may be necessary, if water softener is not installed.

Water recirculation systems are often installed to ensure that hot water reaches even the most distant fixtures in the house easily. These are of three types: conventional, retrofit-by-pass and demand system. The traditional water recirculation systems feature an extra pipe, which enables water from far away fixtures to easily return to the heater. A pump is used to push water out of the heater and back into it through the return pipe. The pump can be equipped with thermostats and timers to bring down the running time.

In case of retrofit-by-pass, the cold water line is used as return pipe. Similar to traditional systems, pumps are used to move the water. Demand water recirculation system work is the same fashion as retrofit-by-pass system and makes use of cold water line as return line. But in this case, a wireless remote is pressed to start the pump when hot water is desired. This system works best with tankless heaters.

Regardless of the type of water heater and water circulation system you use, maintenance is essential to ensure that they provide trouble free service for many years. Some of the best plumbing service providers like In Demand Plumbing in San Francisco East Bay, California offer full service water heater maintenance plans. Such plans are cost effective and can prolong your water heater’s life by five to ten years.

Questions On Rheem Tankless Water Heaters

1) What is a tankless water heater?

Tankless water heaters are compact in size and provide a steady flow of hot water for as long as you need it. Rheem tankless gas water heaters are more energy efficient than conventional water heaters, because the tankless models eliminate the need for re-heating stored water.

2) How does the Rheem tankless water heater work?

A conventional tank-style water heater stores hot water, and heats the water 24/7, whether you use it or not. The new generation Tankless Technology Water Heater from Rheem only heats water on demand. When the faucet is opened, the water flows through the Rheem Tankless Water Heater, which heats it to the temperature you’ve digitally set. When the faucet is closed, the Rheem Tankless Water Heater senses the command, and goes to standby mode.

3) Can it be installed in the same place my old hot water heater was installed?

As long as enough combustion air is provided, Rheem tankless water heaters can be installed in a utility room, garage, basement, attic, or placed on an outside wall. Plus, they can be installed in locations where a storage water heater may not fit. The Digital Temperature Controller can be mounted in any room.

4) Are tankless water heaters energy efficient?

Yes, tankless water heaters are very energy efficient. The Energy Factor, EF, of all Rheem tankless water heaters is over .81. By comparison, a standard tank type water heater has an EF of around .62, so you can see that they are inherently more efficient than a storage type water heater.

5) Is a tankless water heater more energy efficient than a tank?

Rheem tankless gas water heaters are more energy efficient than conventional water heaters, because they eliminate the need to maintain a large supply of heated water. A Rheem tankless water heater operates only when hot water is needed. Regardless of whether you currently have a conventional electric or gas water heater, the Rheem tankless will save money on your energy bills. In addition, every Rheem tankless water heater qualifies for up to a $300 [tax credit?]

6) What is the Energy Factor for the RTG-42 series water heaters?
Answer: 0.83

7) What is the Energy Factor for the RTG-53, RTG-74 and 199 series water heaters?
Answer: 0.82

8) Does this mean tankless water heaters have lower operating costs?

A higher EF is only one of many reasons why tankless water heaters cost less to operate. A Rheem tankless water heater has no standing pilot light, no stand by loss, and the burners modulate to maintain maximum efficiency.

9) How do I ensure that I select a tankless water heater in the appropriate size for my home?

It’s as easy as 1-2-3! If your home has only one bathroom, a Rheem tankless RTG42 series water heater provides an ample supply of continuous hot water for your needs. If your home has two bathrooms, a Rheem RTG-53 series water heater provides an ample supply of continuous hot water for your needs. If your home has three bathrooms, choose a Rheem RTG74 series, which can supply up to 3 showers simultaneously. Homeowners with 3 or more bathrooms and/or large volume multi-head showers should consider linking (manifolding) 2, 3, or more of our tankless water heaters together.

10) Does Rheem offer customer service for their tankless water heaters?

Yes! Rheem Customer Service is available 7 days a week/7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time. The professional staff provides fast, reliable service. Customer service options are available, please call 1-866-720-2076 or visit
11) What is the minimum water flow rate required for the tankless water heater to ignite?

All Rheem tankless water heaters require a minimum flow rate of .66 GPM to ignite the burner. Too little flow will not activate the main burner.

12) What type of exhaust venting do these products require?

The venting must be Category III, Stainless steel, and it applies to the adapter, the vent pipe, all elbows, and terminal vent. This is important because the flue gases and by-products of combustion can cause condensation. Stainless steel will not deteriorate like type B venting under these conditions. The RTG-53X, RTG-74X and GT-199X outdoor models do not require any venting materials. Always consult the Use and Care Manual provided with the water heater for detailed installation and venting instructions.

13) Can you adjust the water heater setpoint temperature setting in 1 degree increments?

No, the minimum temperature adjustment for RTG series waters heaters is a 2 degree increments from 100 F up to 120 F and 5 F increments from 120 F to 140 F.

14) What are the temperature setting options for each model?

The minimum temperature adjustment for GT series water heaters is a 2 degree increments from 100 F up to 120 F and 5 F increments from 120 F up to 180 F.

15) What safety device is used to prevent overheat failure of the heat exchanger?

An Over Heat Limiting Film wrap is wrapped around the entire heat exchanger. This monitors the temperature of the heat exchanger and will shut the unit down if it exceeds a safe temperature. This is an exclusive feature of the Rheem tankless water heaters.

16) What is the minimum clearance on the back, sides, top, bottom, and front of the water heaters?

0″ back, 1/2″ sides, 12″ top, 12″ bottom, and 12″ front.

17) What does the sensing burner do?

The sensing burner is a device that detects incomplete combustion during operation of the water heater. If incomplete combustion is detected, the water heater corrects the problem to provide clean, efficient water heater operation at all times. This is an exclusive feature of the Rheem tankless water heaters.

18) Is there a standing pilot?

No, the direct ignition sends a spark to the main burner when hot water flow is detected. This feature improves the energy efficiency of the water heater.

19) Can the water heater be installed at elevations that are 5,000 or 6,000 feet above sea level?

All Rheem tankless water heaters can be programmed to operate at elevations up to 9,840 feet. Optional programming chips are available for elevations greater than 3,280 feet above sea level. One programming chip is available for elevations between 3,280 – 6,560 feet, and a second optional chip is available for elevations between 6,560 – 9840 feet. The chips install on the water heater circuit board (PCB) in a matter of minutes and are available from the Rheem Service Parts Department. This again is an exclusive Rheem feature and is designed to insure proper combustion at these higher altitudes.

20) Can I convert the water heater from LP to natural gas or natural gas to LP?
No, these units can not be converted from one fuel source to another.

21) Where in my home can I install a Rheem tankless water heater?

The RTG-42PV, RTG-74PV, and GT-199PV indoor units are very versatile, and can be installed in a utility room, a garage, a basement, or an attic as long as enough combustion air is provided. As with any appliance, consult local codes and the manufacturer Use and Care manual prior to choosing the site for installation. They may not be installed in a bedroom or bathroom, and are not designed for use in mobile homes. The RTG-53DV, RTG-74DV, and GT-199DV may be installed in all locations, including bedrooms and bathrooms. These units obtain combustion air from the outdoors. These models are not designed for use in mobile homes. The RTG-74X and GT-199X outdoor models are for outdoor installations only, and are a great alternative if your climate is appropriate. This saves space and the cost of venting.

22) What are some reasons to use a tankless water heater over a standard storage-type water heater?

Tankless water heaters can provide a continuous supply of hot water, while a tank will run out of hot water. Tankless products also have a longer life; lower operating costs, precise delivery temperature, and can be installed in many locations where a storage water heater may not fit.

23) How much can I expect to save on my monthly bill if I install a tankless water heater?

Test results have shown that a tankless gas water heater costs about 40% less to operate than an electric water heater, and about 30% less than a natural gas water heater.

24) How much more do they cost to purchase?

Generally, a tankless water heater will cost about 2 to 2-1/2 times as much as a standard water heater to purchase and install. Keep in mind that in addition to lower operating costs, useable square footage is gained by choosing tankless!

A Patio Heater Shoppers Buying Guide

Since summer can not last forever, we have decided to bring some of that summer heat back to your patio. The addition of an outside patio heater can provide many benefits to home, hotel, resort or restaurant owners. A stylish patio heater will keep your patio warm while expanding your space, which will create additional uses for your restaurant, hotel, resort or backyard patio.

What you should know about outdoor patio heaters?

Different settings require a different heater configuration. Some outdoor patio heaters will circulate the heat in a circular motion. Sport heaters will focus heat in the direction in which they are pointed. Each type of patio heater also comes in different types of options. Spot heaters may be portable or mounted by brackets. Outdoor Patio heaters are available in a variety of configurations including tabletop, ceiling mount or permanent in-ground mounts.
What type of surrounding are you needing to provide heat for?

Outdoor patio heaters will provide a 20-foot diameter heating area. This heat circulates evenly over that area. Sport heaters provide heat directly to an object without heating the surrounding area. Spot heaters are sometimes mounted above an area or can be placed on the floor. Outdoor patio heaters will accent the d├ęcor of any outdoor restaurant, hotel, resort or backyard patio. Spot heaters can be used indoors as well as outdoors, hover, they tend to have a more industrial look to them. Either heater styles will work very well depending upon your setting. A warehouse type setting is ideal for the use of spot heaters, while patio heaters work best outdoors.

What else do I need to know about patio heaters?

Potable – Portable patio heaters can be moved from place to place and do not have a fixed fuel line that they attach too. These heaters circulate heat in a 20-foot diameter. A compartment is designed to house the fuel tank.

Tabletop – Tabletop heaters are usually compact, portable and inexpensive. They are the perfect option for providing warmth in a small circle. The base also serves as the compartment for the fuel tank.

Ceiling/Wall Mount – Ceiling or Wall mount heaters are the perfect option for when space is limited. Spot heaters often times come in ceiling or wall mount configurations. However gas heaters are also available in a ceiling or wall mount. These types of models are permanent and require a permanent power source such as an electric or gas hookup.

In-ground – In ground heaters are designed to be permanent and provide additional power by circulating heat in a larger radius than typical portable models. These types of heaters usually require permanent power source such as a natural or propane gas line. In-ground heaters are perfect for trendy restaurants, resorts, hotels, shopping centers, or even residential use.

Power Rating – All power ratings are stated in British Thermal Units, otherwise know as BTUs. Like most scales, the higher the BTU rating means the more power or heat this model will provide.

Construction: Most patio heaters are constructed from steel. However, the quality of the steel, weather resistance, etc varies by price. Less expensive models are normally constructed from lower quality components as opposed to more expensive stainless steel models.

Dome: A very important feature not to overlook on any heater is the way the “dome” is constructed. A heater “dome” with a large diameter distributes heat more effectively than smaller domed heaters. The majority of patio heaters are single dome. However, Endless Summer by Blue Rhino, does offer a triple domed commercial patio heater.

Fuel Source: Most patio heaters use propane tanks for their fuel source. Some are designed with a concealed tank while other are directly connected to an outside fuel line. Other models use electricity to power their heat source. Solaira Infrared Heaters as well as Endless Summer heaters offer electrical models for easy hook up.

Ignition: Most models are available with a push button ignition system. The ignition produces sparks, which is then combined with the fuel and results in a constant flame that provides warmth.

Safety Features: Most patio heaters are designed with safety in mind. Many will automatically turn off when tilted. Auto tilt shut off is very important in case the heater falls over and accidentally ignites other objects. Other features include automatic shut-off switches that prevent leaking gas.

Accessories for heaters: The most popular heater accessory is a cover that protects against dust, dirt, insects, etc. Some tabletop models are also available with a clamp so that they can be clamped down onto something.

What is there to know about spot/infrared heaters?

Fuel Source: Most spot heaters are designed to be hard-wired to an electrical source. Sunpak, however, does make a sport heater model that is powered by either natural gas or propane. This model, the Sunpak S25, then uses an electronic ignition switch to power itself on.

Power rating: Power is ratted in wattage while propane or gas sport heaters are measured in (British Thermal Units) BTUs. The higher the wattage or BTU rating is, the more heat it will produce.

Permanent Mount/Portable: A variety of spot heaters are designed to mount either to the wall or ceiling. However, there are portable models available that can be moved from one location to the other.

Heater Uses: Spot heaters can be used in variety of places as well. They work great both indoors and outdoors. Restaurants and bars can benefit from spot heaters by placing them in strategic positions on their outdoor patios. Spot heaters are also great for keeping your garage warm. They can even be used in warehouses or for outdoor stage events. The number of uses for spot heaters is almost limitless.