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Pros and Cons: Tankless Water Heaters

Pros and Cons: Tankless Water HeatersThe disadvantages of a traditional water heater such as the constant heating of your water supply even when you’re asleep or at work make it worthwhile to look for an alternative. A tankless water heater warms up your water only as it’s needed. But that doesn’t imply it will be perfect for your household. First, take the time to learn its pros and cons.

Pros of Using Tankless Water Heaters

  • Efficiency – These units are more energy-efficient than regular tank heaters because they don’t produce standby energy losses.
  • Longer Lifespan – Regular tank water heaters have a life expectancy of 10 to 13 years whereas most tankless ones last for more than 20 years with little maintenance. If you’re planning to stay in your current home for long, you’ll save on replacement costs.
  • Reliable Performance – Tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand at a rate of two to five gallons per minute. They can deliver water indefinitely. With a storage tank heater, you can experience the inconvenience of running out of hot water and having to wait for the tank to refill.
  • Compact Size – Tankless water heaters have a compact design that saves space.
  • Clean Water – With a tankless water heater, you avoid the hazard of using water that has been exposed to the rust and scale that can accumulate in a storage tank.

Cons of Using Tankless Water Heaters

  • High Initial Costs – A tankless heater can cost up to thrice as much as a tank heater and usually requires a specialist to install it.
  • Complicated Retrofit – A gas-fired model requires a special ventilation system. You’ll have to hire a professional to handle the task. An electric model may require your electrical system to be upgraded, meaning you’ll have to hire an electrician.

With this basic information, you can now decide whether a tankless water heater is a great investment. If you’re still unsure if this water heater is right for you, please contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, and we’ll be happy to help. We serve the San Diego area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Bundling Up Your Water Heater During Winter Cold Spells

Bundling Up Your Water Heater During Winter Cold SpellsMost homeowners think about their water heaters when they develop problems. Obviously, that’s too late because you’ll not only have to spend money on repairs but also put up with cold showers. Prepare your water heater for the cold season by taking the following steps.

  • Turn off the water valve — Start by shutting off the water valve then the gas valve of a gas water heater. Unplug an electric water heater from its power outlet.
  • Drain the tank — Connect an ordinary garden hose to the heater’s drain then open the drain valve. Direct the water to a nearby floor drain or bucket. After emptying the tank, open all faucets and sillcocks outside.
  • Make an adaptor — A compressor that’s set to 40 pounds per square inch (psi) will help prevent your pipes from bursting due to air pressure. You’ll need to make an adaptor to connect the outdoor sillcock to the compressor. Begin by adding Teflon tape to the threads of a standard sillcock then adding a three-quarter inch hose and one-half to three-eighths inch coupler. Secure the connections with a wrench and slip-joint pliers.
  • Connect the adaptor — Wrap Teflon tape onto the threads of a compressor hose before attaching the adaptor. Tighten the connection with a wrench. Attach the hose to your compressor. Bridge the outdoor sillcock to the adaptor with a washing machine hose.
  • Pressurize your water system — With the valves inside your house closed and the outside ones open, turn on your compressor. Air will occupy the cold water line, move up the tank, and push out all the water.
  • Check your faucets — Open the outdoor sillcock that’s farthest from the compressor. If only air comes out, close the valve and check your indoor faucets one at a time. Open them up until only air comes out then close them tightly.

Protecting your water heater during the winter is an excellent way of extending the lifespan of its components. For more information on how to take care of your water heater, contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve the San Diego area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Water Heater Sizing: Does Your Home Need Multiple?

Water Heater Sizing: Does Your Home Need Multiple?When the time comes to replace a water heater or look at water heater placement in new construction or renovations, it’s worth asking the question: “Should we install more than one?”

With new construction, you have more choice about where you place your water heaters. When you’re just replacing your existing model or working with your old floor plan on renovations, your options may be more limited, especially when you’re considering traditional “storage” model water heaters.

Storage models are the old-fashioned water heaters that come with a tank. With this model, you have to dedicate a specific amount of floor space to the water heater. It functions by filling the tank with water and warming it to the set temperature. The water heater continues to keep the stored water warm until it is needed. Then the water travels from the water heater’s location to the point of demand.

Problems With the Traditional Model

There are a few disadvantages to this setup. One of the biggest problems is that any point of demand that’s far away from your water heater results in a wait before you get hot water.

Another issue is capacity. Your water tank can only hold so much hot water. Once it’s used up, you have to wait to get more.

Solutions That Fit Your Home

Tankless water heaters were invented to solve the problems with traditional storage models. Some advantages of the tankless model include:

  1. Installs in different locations. Tankless water heaters are compact and can be placed almost anywhere along a water pipe’s route. They attach to the wall, freeing up floor space. In fact, they can go in attics and crawlways if needed.
  2. Proximity. Since you have more options on installation location, you can place tankless water heaters near your home’s points of demand, reducing wait time.
  3. Energy savings. Tankless heaters “heat as you go” instead of maintaining gallons of heated water for long periods of time. This saves money on your energy bill.

Want to learn more about water heater options in your San Diego-area home? Contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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What Does Discolored Hot Water Indicate?

What Does Discolored Hot Water Indicate?Seeing discolored hot water coming from one of your home’s faucets can be distressing. However, you don’t need to assume that it means your water heater is on its way out: there are several different reasons that you may be getting discoloration in your hot water.

Discolored water can occur as the result of a temporary disturbance in the public water supply. If this is the case, you’ll see the discoloration whether you have the hot or cold water on. In this case, you should contact your utilities company.

If it is a problem with your home’s hot water, it may be the result of a mineral buildup in your tank water heater. Your heater’s tank should be flushed periodically to get rid of any sediment buildup; beyond just discoloring your water, it can also interfere with your water heater’s energy efficiency, and cause hot spots and corrosion inside the tank. Consult your owner’s manual on how to flush your hot water tank, or call your local HVAC experts for water heater maintenance.

Corrosion in your pipes can also cause a discoloration in your water, particularly if your home was built using the less-expensive galvanized steel pipes. If this is the case, the pipes will need to be replaced; continued corrosion can lead to pipe leaks, which can flood your home.

Another cause of water discoloration is the presence of iron-reducing bacteria in local groundwater. If these bacteria enter your tank, they may feed on the iron present in the municipal water supply, discoloring the water and wearing out the inner components of your hot water heater. Slightly chlorinating your water destroys the bacteria, clears your water, and helps to protect your water heater’s tank.

If you’re seeing discolored hot water in your San Diego area home, call up Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning for more information or to schedule service. We’re also happy to help you explore water heating options for your home.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Is it Time to Replace Your Water Heater?

Is it Time to Replace Your Water Heater?It’s always a disappointment when you can’t get hot water from your taps, but if your water heater is failing, it might not be so obvious – presenting problems such as higher energy use, leaks in the heater itself, or a metallic taste to your hot water, instead. Whether to repair or replace your heater can be a hard decision, but here are some ways to decide if a new water heater is what you need:

What’s the age of your heater?

A water heater will often need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years – and it’s possible that you’ll have a better range of models to consider than what was available then. You should also check to see if your heater is still under warranty.

Does your heater have structural damage?

Rust which compromises the integrity of your hot water tank can be difficult to repair, and may indicate that a replacement is a wise decision.

Have your water use patterns changed?

If you’ve switched to high-efficiency, low-flow showerheads, faucets, dishwashers, and washing machines, you may need less hot water. Switching to a smaller tank can help lower your energy costs. If you’ve added on to your home, on the other hand, you may need more – or you may want to replace or supplement your water needs with a tankless heater or two.

What have recent repair costs been?

If you’ve had to repair your heater recently, or if a repair bill is what’s making you question whether it’s time to get a new water heater, take a look at the bill. If it’s more than a third of what you’d pay for a new heater, a new one is definitely worth considering. If it’s more than half what you’d pay, then just take the plunge.

If you’re considering buying a new water heater for your San Diego home, let Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning help you find the heater that suits your needs!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Have a Pro Properly Relight Your Gas Water Heater

Have a Pro Properly Relight Your Gas Water HeaterMost homeowners tend to ignore their gas water heaters until there’s an obvious problem. However, water heaters require periodical maintenance to increase its lifespan of operation, as well as to save energy and maintain efficiency. Generally, your water heater is faulty if you notice:

  • Your water heater fails to heat water
  • Your water heater isn’t able to heat enough water
  • Your pilot light fails to stay lit

Before attempting to relight a gas water heater, read the manufacturer’s manual or look for a label attached to the gas water heater, which provides guidance for specific heater models. Depending on the manufacturer, there are several steps to relighting a heater:

  • Use the right tools (barbecue lighter and flashlight) to execute this process correctly.
  • Then, switch off your gas control valve and wait for a couple minutes before switching your gas control valve to “pilot,” while holding it down to initiate flow of gas through the pilot gas supply tube.
  • With the gas control valve is held down, wait for the pilot light indicator display. If the heater has to be manually lit, use a lighter to ignite the gas at the end of the supply tube.
  • Holding the control valve down, wait for a couple minutes after relighting the pilot light indicator. This enables the thermocouple to heat up.
  • Next, release the control valve.
  • If the pilot light malfunctions and fails to light, switch off the control valve, leaving for one to three minutes before repeating the process again.
  • If the pilot light remains lit after releasing the control valve, turn it back on. The burner should ignite depending on the thermostat’s control configuration.

If there’s any gas leakage, never attempt to relight your gas water heater pilot light or perform any maintenance on your unit. Just move away from your house and find professional help.

To seek the help you need, contact Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning to schedule an appointment in the San Diego area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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What Are the Advantages of an Electric Water Heater?

What Are the Advantages of an Electric Water Heater?An electric water heater is quite different from its fuel-fired counterparts. Gas water heaters have one gas burner to heat water. An electric water heater uses two heating elements, one in the top and one in the bottom of the unit. This gives an electric unit distinct advantages over a gas water heater.

Advantages of an Electric Water Heater

An electric water heater is more efficient than a fuel-fired unit, which means it can be cheaper to use. But there are several other advantages to electric units as well.

  • Safety: Because there are no combustible vapors, electric units are safer than gas ones, which means you don’t have to worry about vapors that can accumulate and possibly explode if exposed to the pilot.
  • Indoor air quality: If a gas water heater is installed in an area near occupied space, products resulting from the combustion that heats the water can be released into the air, affecting air quality in the home. An electric unit produces no such products.
  • Convenience: An electric water heater is actually quite simple in its design. This makes it easier to service and convenient to use. They are also easier to install because there is no need for gas piping or flues.
  • Efficiency: A gas powered water heater can lose a substantial amount of heat through its flue, which is not only costly, it’s inefficient. Electric units are better insulated, and consequently, they do not lose as much heat, making them more energy efficient. In fact, the difference in heat loss per hour for a gas water heater versus an electric one can be as much as 2.5 percent.

For more information about the water heater in your San Diego or San Marco home, or if you have any other HVAC questions or concerns, contact the experts at Sherlock Heating and Air for more information today. We happily serve the San Diego and San Marcos areas with guaranteed satisfaction.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Your Tankless Water Heater Doesn’t Heat as Fast — What’s Going On?

Your Tankless Water Heater Doesn't Heat as Fast -- What's Going On?Tankless water heaters are very reliable, but on rare occasions there may be a problem that needs to be investigated and repaired. Temperature fluctuation is the most common complaint. There are electrical, gas, and water connections involved with a tankless heater and special tools may be required. In most cases a professional should handle this type of repair.

Problems With Tankless Water Heaters

  • Check setting – The temperature setting may have been changed be mistake
  • Worn seal – If the seal is worn on the crossover water supply, there may be insufficient hot water. You can check this by shutting off the cold water supply to the heater and opening a hot water faucet. The water should stop flowing after a short while. If the water flow continues, the seal is worn.
  • Failed sensor or computer board –  The tankless water heater uses a sensor to monitor flow of water and change firing rate to supply enough hot water. A sensor that is not working correctly may fail to add the required amount of hot water.
  • Water leaks – It is possible that the problem is not in the unit itself. A water leak in your plumbing may be causing hot water to be lost in transit to the appliances.

Even though tankless water heaters are said to produce instant hot water, it does take a few seconds to heat the water to the desired temperature. The water must then travel through the pipes to reach your faucet. Some modern appliances today have a low flow feature which can add even more time for the water to become hot. Taking a few minutes to reach the desired temperature is not uncommon.

However, if you suspect a problem with the heater equipment, a professional should diagnose the problem. Depending on whether you have an electric, gas, or propane heater, a technician will perform the necessary tests to check your heater.

Please contact Sherlock Heating & Air with any concerns regarding a tankless water heater or other home comfort issues. We are proudly serving all of San Diego county and southern Riverside county.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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The Cost of a Water Heater Installation Can Be Expensive — Plan Ahead

The Cost of a Water Heater Installation Can Be Expensive -- Plan AheadWhen it comes to making major improvements in your home or replacing appliances, it’s good to have a head start. Such improvements are costly and may require some time to save up. It is also good to know a thing or two about the process to ensure that things are done correctly. In the long run, your research and foresightedness will save you both time and money. This especially holds true when trying to determine the cost of water heater installation.

The cost of water heater installation can vary widely depending on what sort of unit the home owner currently has, what sort of unit will replace the existing one and what needs to be done to the site to get it into compliance with current codes.

Most people choose a traditional gas-powered heater with a 50 gallon holding tank. You will find this type of installation at the lower end of the price spectrum. An on-demand water heater, while being the more energy efficient option, can cost two to three times as much to purchase and install as the more popular 50 gallon water heater. Because they are more common, a 50 gallon water heater is likely to take less time to install. An on-demand water heater can take longer to install. That is all time you will have to pay a technician for.

The cost of water heater installation is nothing, however, when compared to the cost of the damage that can be done to property and home owners if the water heater is not installed properly. With gas heaters especially, if not vented properly, they can leak carbon monoxide into your home. That is why it is highly recommended that you have only an experienced professional install your water heater.

If you are looking for a professional to install your water heater or just have questions about water heater installation, contact Sherlock Inc. Heating and Air today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Why Sizing Is Critical When Choosing Your Tankless Water Heater

Why Sizing Is Critical When Choosing Your Tankless Water HeaterHome owners in San Diego and the surrounding areas are becoming more and more energy conscious as utility bills keep going up. A tankless water heater can give great energy savings, but since it only heats water on demand, its important to know you’ve picked the right capacity to keep up with your home’s hot water needs.

So how do you figure out which ones are the right size when looking at what’s available?

Tankless water heaters are rated by the maximum heat increase for a specific flow rate. In order to figure out which one will fit your needs, you first need to figure out the flow rate of any devices you want to be able to run simultaneously, and then how much you need the unit to heat that water. Most tap water requires a heat rise of around 70 to 90 degrees, but that can vary depending on individual circumstances.  So your combined flow rate plus your desired heat rise will give you the optimum size rating for the tankless water heater you’re looking for.

If you add up the flow rates of all your devices, and the flow rate is too fast for your temperature rise, you can buy special low-flow rate aerators and fixtures to put on your faucets to cut down the flow rate. For really high usage households, where multiple people are going to be taking showers at once, or several appliances will need to be using hot water at the same time, you can consider putting in multiple heaters.

One example would be putting one tankless water heater directly next to high usage appliances such as the dishwasher or washing machine, and having another parallel heater that provides the hot water for showers or sinks. If you are considering putting in multiple tankless water heaters, it is best to consult with a professional first to make sure that they will be positioned correctly and able to meet your households needs.

For more information on converting to a tankless water heater contact Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning. We provide excellent service to the San Diego area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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