When you need a plumber, look no further than the Best Pick Reports list of qualified Western Chicago plumbing experts. Many issues can lead to calling a Best Pick plumber, but one common plumbing culprit is often used daily: the conventional tank-style water heater. Knowing a bit about this component in your home can help prepare you for the plumbing terms found online or straight from a plumber’s mouth; read below for more information on installing, maintaining, and repairing tank-type water heaters.
Hot water is must for any home in Chicago. While water heaters seem pretty straightforward—they heat the water for your home—the types of water heaters you can have installed are more complex. There is a lot to take into account when shopping for a replacement or new home water heater: what will be your unit’s fuel type and how much water does your home need?
The type of fuel available to you may serve to limit your hot water heater choices: gas and electric are common options, and solar is less common. Know what is available in your home when shopping for a water heater. Searching for a gas water heater accomplishes nothing when that fuel is not an option. With this knowledge, figuring out how much hot water your home needs is the next step.
Determining how much water your home uses requires a little math. First, decide what period of time requires the most hot water in your household. This could be when you alone are bathing or when a packed household is getting ready in the morning; all homes are different. A bath can use anywhere between 30-50 gallons of water, and the amount of water used for a shower varies on your fixtures and time spent bathing. If you have conventional fixtures, your shower distributes about 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm); low-flow options use no more than 2 gpm. In order to determine your home’s peak water usage, summarize the amount of time spent showering and the number of baths taken when your hot water heater is the most stressed.
Once you pinpoint how much water is used in your home during busy periods, look at a potential water heater’s FHR (first-hour rate). The FHR number represents how many gallons of hot water are stored in the tank at one time as well as how much of the cold water coming in can be warmed in an hour. If this number is lower or much higher than what you believe is necessary for your home, take that unit off the list of candidates.
Conventional tank-style water heaters are familiar fixtures to most homeowners: big, metal cylinders that are tucked into a utility area or basement. Cold water is pulled into the bottom of the tank via the dip tube, and the tank’s thermostat determines if the water requires to be heated or not. If you have a new water heater and your shower is much too hot or lukewarm, your thermostat’s setting may be to blame. The desired temperature can usually be set between 120 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature of the water falls below the set temperature, your tank begins heating with either a burner (gas systems) or element (electric systems). If you notice a drop in the average temperature of your water, or if you’re suddenly getting cold water out of your fixtures instead of warm water, it could be an issue with the heating components.
A key part of a tank-type water heater’s design is the need to separate new, cold water from hot, outgoing or stored water; it relies on the principle that hot water naturally rises to the top. The heat-out pipe is at the top of the tank, ready to pull the warm water out when needed. If you notice pools of water or flooding around your hot water heater, it could be due to the heat-out pipe or dip tube leaking or even bursting. You should contact a professional when noticing distressing issues with your water heater, because the amount of water they typically store can do a lot of damage to your home if unleashed. A Best Pick Wheaton plumbing company in Western Chicago will be able to identity and repair or replace faulty equipment in your home.
Circulator pumps (also called “circulation pump” or “circulating pump”) continuously cycle water to and from the water heater tank when not in use. This means that when you go to turn on the faucet, hot water is readily available. If you notice that warm water is taking a long time to get to your sink or shower, there may be an issue with the circulator pump. Contact one of our Best Pick Western-Chicago-area or Elgin plumbers when you need repairs.
While tank-style water heaters are common in Chicago households, some homeowners are electing to have a newer option installed when they need a replacement: tankless water heaters. These tankless options are growing in popularity because they are more energy efficient than conventional tank-type water heaters. They are also more expensive to install. Keep all your options in mind while shopping. No matter what type of plumbing component you need installed or repaired, contact a Best Pick Western-Chicago-area or Franklin Park plumbing expert.