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Tuesday, 17 January 2017 16:50

5 Causes of a Low Hot Water Supply

If you're noticing that your water heater is not getting the water hot enough even after turning up the thermostat, there are a number of possible causes.

1. The Dip Tube Is Broken

Cold water enters the water heater through the dip tube where it is forced to the bottom of the tank for quick heating. When the tube is broken the water remains at the top of the tank, where the hot water outlet is, causing it to return cold water with the heated water.

2. Sediment Has Built Up at the Bottom of the Tank

Over time, minerals in the water can build up at the bottom of the water heater tank where the burner is located. This causes a gradual reduction in heating efficiency that will make the water heater work harder and eventually resulting in less hot water. Flushing the tank annually will prevent sediment build up.

3. The Heating System Is Malfunctioning

Most water heater problems occur with these systems:
  • Thermal switch
  • Thermostat
  • Heating element
A licensed plumber should inspect the water heater and repair the pasts as needed.

4. Hot Water Heater Is Too Far From Where It's Needed

If the water eventually heats up, the problem is sometime a hot water tank that is too far from where it's needed. In the cold months in particular, pipes will cool the hot water before it reaches the faucet where it's needed. Insulating the pipes can help reduce heat loss.

5. The Water Heater Tank Is Undersized

If you have recently noticed that your water heater suddenly seems to supply less hot water, or runs out suddenly, it could be that your water heater tank is too small to keep up with demand. Installing a larger tank or tankless water heater will ensure that you have all the water your household needs.

Have questions about your hot water heater? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric.
Published in Plumbing
Tuesday, 24 January 2017 17:13

Water Heater Safety Tips

It’s that time of year again - when temperatures drop down below freezing and homeowners across the Chicagoland area give their home’s heating equipment a bit more thought than normal. We all know how nice a hot shower can be after long day out in the cold, but if you don’t pay any attention to your water heater this season, you could be in for a rude awakening.
  1. Flush your water heater at least once per year. Over time, sediment from the water builds up inside the tank which can clog valves and reduce efficiency.
  2. Test the Temperature-Pressure release valve to make sure it’s working properly. This valve is designed to open up in any instance of excessively high temperature or pressure inside the tank. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, your plumber will gladly take care of it for you.
  3. Avoid scalding by keeping your water heater set to 120ºF. Setting it higher can lead to burns as soon as the water from the taps in your home comes in contact with your skin. It is however, important not to set it lower than 120ºF as unhealthy bacteria can form and grow.
  4. Clear the area around the water heater of combustibles if you have a gas-fired model. This also includes dust, dirt, paper or anything else that could catch fire.
  5. Call the experts at ABC to replace your sacrificial anode. This is an extremely important maintenance step as the rod helps to protect the inside of your tank from corroding.
ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric recommends that you have one of our elite plumbers perform an annual water heater tune-up and safety inspection. These tune-ups help keep your water heater in top condition, running safely and efficiently and that if any issues are discovered they can be repaired before they become a major inconvenience. Call us today to schedule an appointment and don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook!
Published in ABC Blog
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 15:54

How To Drain a Water Heater Tank

One of the best ways to extend the life of your water heater and ensure it operates efficiently is to flush the tank annually to remove sediment buildup. The process is straightforward, here are the steps:
  1. Shut off the water supply. Locate the cold water supply valve at the top of the water heater and turn it to the off position.
  2. Turn off the water heater. If you have a gas water heater, simply turn the thermostat knob to the “pilot” setting. If the water heater is electric, turn off the power at the breaker panel.
  3. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve located near the bottom of the tank. Place the other end of the hose near a floor drain, in a bucket (have several large buckets to empty into and rotate them if needed) or outside the home. CAUTION: Even though a water heater may be off for hours, the water in the tank may still be hot enough to scald.
  4. Open a hot water tap. Open a hot water tap on a floor above that is nearest the water heater. This will relieve pressure in the system, helping the water drain from the tank.
  5. Open the drain valve.  After all the water has drained from the tank, turn the cold water supply at the top of the tank back on for a moment. This will clear out any remaining sediment. Repeat this step until the water runs clear.
When you're finished draining the tank, return it to operating condition by following these steps:
  1. Close the drain valve
  2. Remove the hose
  3. Turn on the cold water supply and refill the tank.
  4. Return to the hot water tap you opened earlier. Once cold water begins to flow from the tap, turn it off.
  5. Turn the gas valve back on from the pilot position or turn electricity back on to the tank.
  6. Check the valve opening to ensure it's not leaking.
IMPORTANT: Always read and follow all manufacturer’s directions and warnings for your particular water heater. Some water heater tanks need to be completely filled to avoid damage to the gas burner or heating elements.

Need help maintaining your water heater? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We can help with all your home plumbing needs.
Published in Plumbing
One of the concerns many homeowners have when making the switch from a conventional tank-style water heater to a tankless, or on-demand water heater, is whether it can get the water as hot as a tank water heater. The short answer is yes.

Most tankless water heaters have a thermostat that can be adjusted between 100° to 140°, depending on the brand and model. By comparison, most tank water heaters have the temperature set around 120°.

The key to ensuring the water heater can supply a consistent 120° or higher is the climate and number of sources the tankless water heater will need to supply. It is critical that a tankless water heater is sized based on a household's needs. If the unit is too small for the amount of flow it’s being asked to produce it may work fine for a shower, but not work as needed when a washing machine and a shower are in use at the same time.

Tankless water heater ratings are based on the rise in water temperature they produce. The colder the temperature of the incoming water supply, the lower the maximum temperature of the heater. This means in a colder climate like Chicagoland, you’ll need a larger tankless water heater than someone living in a warmer climate, like Arizona.

Have questions about which water heater is right for your home? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We're here to help.
Published in Plumbing
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