Is It Time to Go Tankless?

Most homes have conventional tank water heaters, which store dozens of gallons of hot water and maintain a steady temperature so the water is ready when you need it. But there is another type of water heater — tankless – which heats water directly and on demand as it flows through your pipes.

Tankless water heaters offer several benefits, but it’s not the perfect fit for every home or situation. Read more to learn whether upgrading to a tankless water heater makes sense for you and your family.

The Pros of a Tankless Water Heater

The primary advantage of tankless over traditional water heaters is that they’re generally more energy efficient. If you compare Energy Guide stickers of the two types when shopping, or if you browse the data for models that have been certified by Energy Star, you’ll see the difference in estimated energy consumption.

Various models of tankless heaters have their own energy-saving features, but all of them save energy by not storing hot water. With a conventional water heater, stored hot water is constantly cooling which requires frequent re-heating. A tankless heater uses virtually no energy when hot water isn’t being used. And those energy savings could make a big difference in your monthly utility bills.

Tankless heaters also offer these benefits:

  • Their compact size. Tankless heaters are about the size of a briefcase, expanding your range of installation locations and freeing up storage space.
  • Longer lifespan. With the proper maintenance, many tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years.
  • Home value. If you sell your home, the savings potential of a tankless water heater can boost your asking price.

When is Tankless a Bad Fit?

Tankless water heaters will save you money over the long haul, but the upfront cost is quite a bit higher than most conventional water heaters. Not only is the heater itself more expensive, the installation process is typically more as well. And, installing a tankless water heater is not a Do-It-Yourself project. If you’re considering upgrading to a tankless water heater, get an accurate quote so you can calculate whether the long-term savings justify the higher upfront costs.

Just like conventional water heaters, tankless heaters should be sized to the water needs of the household. Each tankless installation should be sized based on the number of fixtures in the house (which use hot water) and the number of occupants can sometimes be a factor. Incoming water temperature should also be considered when choosing the type and number of tankless units which may be required. Each tankless has a specific amount of hot water which it can supply. In the winter the incoming water is colder, which means the tankless will have to raise the temperature more than it would in the summer. Therefore the amount of hot water it can provide will be decreased. Make sure that the tankless water heater or heaters have been properly sized.

Another similarity between the two water heaters is that it always takes at least a few seconds for hot water to reach the faucet. However, with tankless heaters, this delay can be a little longer, resulting in more water waste. This will depend on how close the heater is to the hot water faucet — if your kitchen and master bath are located close together, you’ll ideally install the tankless heater in that area. Some tankless models also offer circulating systems which will decrease wait time.

To get a custom quote and consultation for a tankless water heater upgrade, or for any other plumbing service, call Eastern Plumbing today.

Preparing Your Pool for Fall and Winter

It’s time for pool owners to think about winterizing. Unless you live in one of the United States warmer climates, if you haven’t already, you’ll likely be taking your last dip in the pool shortly.

There’s no one-size-fits-all procedure for winterizing your pool. The pool design and accessories, as well as the climate and location, will affect the steps you need to take to keep your pool clean and in good condition until spring arrives next year. If you’re unsure what your pool needs, a knowledgeable plumber can help you prepare for the winter season and can give you advice on what you need to know moving forward.

However, there are a few best practices for most outdoor pools. If you’re going the Do-It-Yourself route and want to be sure you’ve thought of everything, you can pay attention to these steps:

  • Don’t drain the pool unless your specific pool design requires it. Draining and refilling a pool every season uses a large amount of water which could simply be re-treated next season. And, empty in-ground pools could suffer structural damage from the pressure of the soil against the outer walls, and rising groundwater can make a pool float out of the ground.
  • Reduce the water level. Many pools will have a freeze line indicator that shows the proper water level for winterization. This is usually about six inches below the inlets.
  • Use an algaecide from the start of the off-season and check directions to see if you need to reuse in the middle of winter. Preventing algae growth in the winter helps prevent staining and reduces the amount of time and chemical supplies you’ll need to get your pool ready in the spring.
  • Adjust the pH level one final time. In most climates, an appropriate pH falls between 7.0 and 7.8; however, you should consult with a local pool or plumbing professional to determine the ideal level for your pool.
  • Run your pool filter and vacuum thoroughly before shutting down for the winter. Once done, remove, clean and store all external equipment such as pumps and vacuums.
  • Completely drain all external lines. If you live in an extremely cold climate, it may be necessary to pour antifreeze into some of the lines to prevent cracking.
  • Keep your pool covered all season, preferably with a high-quality, all-weather cover designed specifically for your pool. Keep the pool cover clear of leaves, tree branches, snow and other debris as needed throughout the season.
  • The last step is to shut off the circuit breaker, and then your pool equipment is ready for next spring.
Shutting down your pool for the winter can be a big job, and not doing it correctly could result in costly damage. It is definitely worth doing it right the first time, so if you’re unsure of how to protect your pool, call in the pros. Contact Eastern Plumbing today!