Hot Water Heaters
Energy Efficient Gas and Electric Hot Water Heaters
You want a water heater that is lasts a long time, is energy efficient, and heats water quickly. Extending the life of your hot water heater is especially important in western Colorado due to the hard water sediments that Aspen, Vail , Rifle and Glenwood Springs typically experience. Water heaters that last a long time have an exposed, hex-head, magnesium anode installed in it. Water heaters that last longer usually have an extra anode: either a larger-diameter hex anode, or a normal one along with a half-length outlet rod in the hot port. A sediment flush kit will also extend the life of a water heater if you actually flush the water heater regularly—once a year is recommended. A sediment flush kit has a curved dip tube and ball valve drain assembly and is especially useful if you live in a hard-water area. Don’t forget to use it once a year or call Bishop Plumbing and we will do this for you.
Water-heater installation prices can vary in different parts of the country like Aspen and Vail, so experts suggest checking with a trusted local plumber, like Bishop Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, prior to any purchase. Once you’ve narrowed your choice to a few models, check dimensions to make sure the water heater will fit in your space. Also make certain that your current plumbing and wiring will be compatible. If you have to install a bigger gas line, bigger water lines or new vents, installation costs can significantly climb. Bishop Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning does provide free in home estimates to assure a proper fit for your needs. If comparing water heaters on your own, here are some other things to consider when shopping for a water heater:
If you’re replacing a tank water heater, the easiest substitute will be a similar tank water heater. Experts say changing fuel types can result in more expensive retrofit costs. Those costs may eventually be recouped by energy savings, but you’ll need to do some math to calculate the payback period.
Energy Star water heaters are eligible for rebates, low-interest loans, tax credits and other incentives. The federal income tax credit is only one of many incentives available for energy-efficient water heaters. Before deciding that an efficient water heater is unaffordable, check the incentives available, as they often offset the higher cost. Energy efficiency of water heaters is determined by the insulation rating (thickness of the insulation) and EF (Energy Factor) ratings which use insulation as one factor affecting the rating. Not all manufacturers give you both pieces of information. The most efficient tanks have R-16 insulation ratings or better. Roughly, one inch of insulation is R-8, two inches R-16 and so on. Water heaters listed in the energy factor ratings include electric storage water heaters, gas storage water heaters, and gas instantaneous water heaters. EF ratings use insulation, tank design, burner design and other factors. An electric heater will have a higher EF than a gas one, yet in some parts of the country, an electric tank will cost you a lot more to operate than a gas one because of utility rate structures. The Energy Factor (EF) is an overall efficiency rating of a water heater. Water heaters with higher EF ratings are more efficient and may cost more initially but they will save you money and energy in the long run. Eventually, they will pay for themselves through a lifetime of energy savings. Adding a house descaling filter on a water softening system can allow the water heater to operate at full efficiency while prolonging its life.
First-hour recovery (FHR) is crucial for sizing a storage-tank water heater. Calculate the number of gallons your household uses at peak periods of use, then make sure the water heater can provide that. Otherwise, you’ll have to adjust your usage, perhaps running the dishwasher or clothes washer when no one needs to bathe. Another important factor in choosing a water heater is the 1st Hour Rating is an indicator of how much hot water a particular model can provide. The rating, in gallons of usable (desired temperature) hot water is reached by combining the amount of usable hot water stored in the tank plus how many gallons of usable hot water the water heater can generate in one hour of operation. The 1st Hour Rating is used in conjunction with the yellow federal energy sticker; it provides a means of comparing different tanks, along with the other things we’ve mentioned.
Gas heats faster than electricity. This means that a gas water heater has a faster recovery time and FHR rating than an electric water heater of the same size.
Bishop Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning offers the Guardian System, a gas water heater from Rheem. The Guardian features flammable vapor ignition resistance which exceed ANSI standards, an air shut-off system which provides double protection by shutting off both air and gas in an emergency, a flame arrestor plate which prevents the ignition of vapors outside the combustion chamber, and the Guardian is maintenance free with no filters to change or clean. The Guardian by Rheem is also easy to light with no matches required and it uses standard replacement parts—the gas valve and thermocouple are easy to replace. Guardian System models are high altitude compliant–some models certified for applications up to 6,000 and 10,200 feet above sea level. The Guardian models also feature a temperate and pressure relief valve which allows water to escape from the water heater in the unlikely event that either the tank pressure or temperature becomes excessive. It also features a replaceable anode rod made of magnesium which protects the tank against premature corrosion. The water heater has a self-cleaning system which creates a turbulent swirling action as water enters the tank which fights sediment build-up and helps improve operating efficiency. A brass drain valve allows the tank to be emptied should service be required.
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The Defender Safety System water heater from Bradford White Corporation includes a pedestal base, a resettable thermal switch, a combustion chamber sight window and a Piezo Igniter. The Bradford White ICON System has a sophisticated yet simple control with diagnostic capabilities and an advanced temperature control system. A microprocessor constantly monitors and controls burner operation to maintain consistent and accurate water temperature levels. Diagnostics provides ten different codes to assist in troubleshooting. The Pilot-On-Indication provides positive indication that pilot is on. A high strength advanced polymer composite thermowell provides isolation between electronic temperature sensor and surrounding water. There’s no need to drain the tank when removing, or replacing the gas valve. The Integrated Piezo Igniter eliminates the need to open the combustion chamber to light the pilot.
Bishop Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning features the TriangleTube Tank-in-Tank stainless steel indirect fired water heater. It creates adundant hot water for a home at a low price. It has 2 inches of Polyurethane foam insulation, has self-cleaning and self-descaling heat exchanger, and we offer 7 models to choose from. The domestic storage tank is constructed of stainless steel and is surrounded by boiler water in the outer tank, resulting in a full “wrap around” heat exchanger. It’s superior heat exchange surface (typically 1.5 to 2.5 times larger than a traditional coil) produces a larger volume of hot water in a short period of time. Thanks to this fast recovery, the storage capacity can be reduced, resulting in a reduced thermal loss. The inner, domestic tank is suspended within the outer tank so it is free to expand and contract as the pressure varies during hot water draws. Moreover, its corrugations amplify the movement and prevent the lime build up on the heat exchanger; thus maintaining its performance during the SMART Series life span. The “Tank-in-Tank” design allows us to store domestic water at higher temperatures preventing bacteria growth. Additionally, constructed of high quality stainless steel, SMART Series does not require a protective anode. The inner domestic storage tank is constructed of durable, corrosion resistant stainless steel. SMART Series, is insulated with 2″ of injected polyurethane foam, resulting in a stand by heat loss of less than 1 degree per hour. When the thermostat in the inner tank calls for heat, the boiler and circulator start. Boiler water is circulated around the outer tank and heats the domestic water in the inner tank. After transferring its heat, boiler water is returned to the boiler to be re-heated. When the thermostat in the inner tank reaches its pre-set mark, the boiler and circulator shut off.
Bishop also carries water heaters and boilers from Lochinvar. There are 6 stainless steel models ranging from 30 to 119 gallons in the Squire Indirect Water Heater line. All Lochinvar water heaters feature fully welded and passivated stainless steel tank construction and lifetime limited warranties. Passivation increases the amount of time before corrosion of the zinc begins. By removing iron from the welded surfaces, the Squire is less susceptible to corrosion brought on by aggressive water. Two inches of R-13.4 High Density Polyurethane foam yields a tested R value of 13.4 and the lowest standby losses in the industry, losses as low as .4°F per hour. Lochinvar are an all American built product from Lebanon, Tennessee, Lochinvar’s World Headquarters. The Squire can be configured to use the building’s boiler to generate on demand hot water for showers, dishwashing, clothes washing or any hot water need.
Water Heater Glossary
- Energy Factor (EF): The percentage of energy that is turned into hot water by a particular model. The higher the number, the higher the efficiency and the less it will cost to operate the unit. This rating is determined by a Department of Energy test procedure.
- First-hour Rating (FHR): How many gallons of hot water a heater can produce during an hour of high usage. Keep in mind this is not the same as the number of gallons the tank holds, because the water heater keeps heating more water as water is drawn out.
- Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant Standard (FVIR): Water heaters must be designed so that they cannot ignite flammable vapors caused by flammable spills outside the unit. This minimizes the risk of the water heater’s pilot light accidentally igniting any flammable vapors. All residential gas-fired units should meet this standard from the American National Standards Institute.
- Peak-hour Demand (PHD): Number of gallons of water a household uses during their busiest hour of an average day. Note: Your FHR should be within two gallons of your PHD in order to optimally meet your home’s hot-water needs.
- Recovery: The amount of hot water a water heater is capable of providing in a given period of time. The recovery rate is the number of gallons that can be heated to that level in one hour. The higher the number, the better the rating.
- Solar fraction (SF): Used as part of the evaluation of a solar hot water system — which usually includes a backup water heater — this measures the percentage of hot water that’s actually produced by the solar part of the system. Energy Star thresholds require a solar fraction rating of 0.50.
- Thermal Efficiency: How much fuel is converted to usable heat. This is 0.98 for electric water heaters, but varies a lot among gas water heaters. This measure is different from the Energy Factor (EF) because the latter takes into account losses from the storage tank.