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Posts Tagged: Water Heater

Warm up to a tankless water heater

Posted On: Filed Under: Tankless water heaters 10 Comments on Warm up to a tankless water heater

It’s only after you’ve calmed your chattering teeth that you realize you were the fifth member of the family to take a shower this morning—big mistake. Don’t worry, there’s a way to ensure your showers stay warm, whether you’re first, fifth, or tenth in the shower queue.

It’s time to go tankless. Unlike a standard water tank that eventually runs out of hot water and requires time to reheat, a tankless water heater provides an endless supply of steamy H2O. Simply put, it’s on-demand hot water.

There are several comfort and efficiency benefits in going tankless.

Feelin’ hot, hot, hot

Not surprising, the most obvious benefit of tankless water heaters is the endless hot water it provides. No fighting for the first shower of the day or competing with the washer or dishwasher for hot water. It’s there when you need it, for as long as you need it.

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No wasted energy

Installing a tankless water heater can reduce the cost of water heating by up to 30%, if you keep your relative water usage the same. That’s because there’s no continual heating component like a standard water heater. No heating overnight, during the day while your family is at work and school, or when you’re on vacation. It’s ready to heat—but not before you say so.

As a bonus, this efficient operation allows tankless water heaters to enjoy a lifespan that is twice as long as standard water heaters.

A cool set of options for warmth

All homes, budgets, and water needs are different. That’s why we carry several brands and models to provide the pricing and features that work best for you.

20% off for a limited time

If this isn’t a benefit, we don’t know what is. Get 20% off tankless water heaters* now with our Cash for Clunkers promotion. There’s never been a better time to keep the hot water flowing.

These energy-saving, endless-hot-water-flowing solutions provide peace of mind and peaceful mornings. It’s time to reclaim your showers.

*Sale ends 11/30/2015 – Visit our sale page for our latest specials.

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2015 government changes to water heaters will affect you

Posted On: Filed Under: Tank water heaters, Tankless water heaters 39 Comments on 2015 government changes to water heaters will affect you

Who made the new rulings?

The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) was approved by Congress and is administered by the US Department of Energy (DOE). This is the same organization that oversees the EnergyStar program. That translates to: this is serious business and a real change for all water heaters sold in the US.

What are the new water heater regulations?

Water heaters produced after April 16, 2015 must conform to new energy efficiency standards. These translate to a mandatory increase of 3% – 30% greater efficiency vs. current models. The amount varies by tank size based on formulas. The larger the tank, the more the efficiency is required. The gains in efficiency are small, but given that the vast majority of homes in America have a water heater; small can add up to big savings for the environment.

How does this affect me?

If you have a tankless water heater with an efficiency rating above .82, (all that we sell are at this level), good news, your water heater already complies. However if you are in one of the hundreds of thousands of Western Washington homes, condos and apartments with a standard tank water heater – please read on!

In order to gain the efficiency, manufacturers will be adding additional insulation to water heater tanks. This will impact you as follows:

1. Fitting it in your house. Unlike the new light bulbs that fit in the same sockets as incandescent ones, the new tanks are not going to be the same size. The Rheem tankless water heaters are 27-1/2″ in height, 18-1/2″ in width and 9-3/4″ in depth. If you have a tight closet or a small door, you may have to relocate your water heater, or take off door jambs to bring it in. And sorry, we (or any installer) would have to charge for that if we did it. There will also be new and larger venting required for some gas water heaters.

2. Manufacturer price increase. All of the manufacturers will have to re-tool production lines, and this is expensive. Combine that with increased materials cost from adding more insulation to tanks and we anticipate retail price increases in the range of $100.

3. Custom install solutions needed. To fit some homes and apartments may require creative planning on the part of your installer. For example: If a 50 gallon tank won’t fit, a 40 gallon tank with an added mixing valve may produce the hot water you need. Fortunately our team has the experience to do that.

4. Some larger sized tanks may be discontinued. If you have a large size electric tank (66 or 80 gallon) or 75 gallon gas water heater, some of these are being discontinued. While new products may come along to replace them, the installer community has not yet seen them.

What can I do right now?

Standard water heater tanks last around 8-10 years. If you are thinking it’s time to replace or if you have an older tank located in a tight closet (hello condo & apartment dwellers!), we recommend doing it sooner than later.

Three choices for replacement

1. Upgrade to tank water heaters that already qualify at the new energy efficiency levels, (gas or propane).

2. Replace with your same tank style and size while still available.

3. Consider a move to a tankless water heater.

For gas water heaters, models are available today that meet and actually exceed the new standards. Tankless water heaters are an available option as they run on gas or propane and meet the new energy standards. We also carry super efficient standard tanks, for example, Rheem Power Damper water heaters. They are EnergyStar rated and exceed the new efficiency standards, saving you even more on your water heating costs. This type of water heater costs a bit more than today’s standard gas water heater, but we expect it to be closer in price to the new gas water heaters in 2015. So you can start saving energy now, at around the price you might pay next year.

Current hot water heater tank styles can still be installed after April 16, 2015 but inventory will eventually run out. Installers and suppliers are stocking the last of the available current style tanks as we know many people will want them.

Whatever the new rules bring, Washington Energy will be able to provide you with water heater choices, custom installation and competitive pricing. For a free all-inclusive quote over the phone, please call us at 800-398-4663. Group discounts are available now for condos and apartment buildings.

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A mom’s view of home improvement

Posted On: Filed Under: Windows, Air conditioning, Tankless water heaters No Comments on A mom’s view of home improvement

We asked several local moms “if money was no object, what would you like to have, or do to improve your home”.  We found their ideas and stories to be great for our Puget Sound community at large. While every answer was different, topics of comfort and convenience for the children, and ease of use for themselves in caring for the family, were common themes. Here are five of their stories (and yes, these are real people and their real stories):    

Christine from Lynnwood, WA I would love to have air conditioning for the warmer days. I have a window unit in my room that we rely on, because with my youngest (2 1/2) wanting to go outside, I have to keep the front of the house closed so she can’t escape! A more efficient heating and cooling system would take less money to run, and be a more even temp all year round instead of us constantly adjusting the heating.   We should probably have better insulation to help keep the cool air in instead of out the roof. And insulation in my garage so that it doesn’t cook us to do laundry in the summer, and you don’t need to wear a snow suit in the winter.   And doors with better handles and extra security for my little one that likes to try to get out of the house or go into rooms that she is not allowed in (she figured out how to pop the childproof handles off the doors!)    

MaryEllen from Mill Creek, WA Definitely a tankless water heater so that I can have more hot water to get everyone showered more timely in the morning, get my towels washed in hot water and actually have hot water to do my dishes after all this! Having a 50 gallon water heater I have to wait for it to recover before we can move to the next thing. I would also like all new EnergyStar kitchen appliances that use less energy and run quieter.   Even though I have nice, relatively new vinyl windows, I would like to change out a few of the picture windows to have more sliders with screens to allow fresh air in when it’s wanted. We don’t really need A/C in the summer (yet!), but more breeze would be helpful.

Tanya from Mountlake Terrace, WA My kids are grown now, but when they were younger I wished I had a bigger washing machine, quieter appliances all around, and having 3 kids a husband and a dog, I really wished I had a tankless water heater. Looking back I could have used better insulation as well, that would have also prevented the neighbors from hearing the yelling “stop putting that up your nose” “Homework isn’t an option!!”  “chocolate milk is NOT ok to take into your room!!” etc.    

Ilana from Mulkilteo, WA I would like to keep germs filtered out to help my kids stay healthy for a longer period of time. Maybe a UV system to take viruses out of the air and a better furnace filter might help. I am not very good about changing the filter on my heating system and probably should do that more often.   Where we live there are lots of big trees and we can get power outages during windstorms. I would like a generator that could power the whole house in the event of a power outage.    

Jessica from Snohomish, WA If I were going to make improvements to my home and money was not object, I would definitely put in an enclosed sunroom with an indoor steam room and dry sauna for my sons asthma and eczema.   We have been in our home for 15 years and air conditioning is one of our favorite upgrades. The first floor of our home remained cool during summer months but, the 2nd floor was stifling with no breeze. We put in our air conditioning 5 years ago and I would say that has been our best investment.  While all the neighbors are sitting out on their porches at 11pm at night with fans going and windows open or with portable air conditioners, we are in our house in bed sleeping with the cool air. It is refreshing to come in to the house after a hot day and being able to relax in our home. The kids are also not cranky because they are cool and all of their friends want to come to our house for some relief to the heat. We also installed hard wood floors and I think they are a must in the NW with kids, pets and our fabulous NW weather. Easy clean up and they look beautiful.   If you have a mom POV you’d like to share with us, find this article us on Facebook or reply to this post below. Happy Mothers day! Washington Energy wishes all mom’s a comfortable and happy holiday.

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Puget Sound Energy Action award winner

Posted On: Filed Under: News 2 Comments on Puget Sound Energy Action award winner

This is Washington Energy Services’ 6th year in a row receiving this honor. We are committed to helping Washington homeowners save energy through energy saving heating, water heaters, windows and other efficient home solutions.

We are proud to be on Puget Sound Energy’s contractor referral service program called C.A.N., a great service matching customers to reliable contractors in the area. Give us a call!

What PSE had to say in their press release

 

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Choosing the right water heater

Posted On: Filed Under: Tank water heaters, Tankless water heaters 1 Comment on Choosing the right water heater

Water heater 101– which one is right for me?

We’ve been installing water heaters since 1957 and have aggregated the most common questions.

Here’s what Seattle-ites want to know about water heaters:

  • What is the energy efficiency? It can go from 60% on a tank up to 98% on tankless models.
  • What will it cost? Water heaters can run from under $1000 for an electric tank model installed to over $4000 for a top of the line tankless.
  • How long will it last? A standard tank may only last 8 years but tankless may last over 20 and there’s one new type of tank with a lifetime warranty.
  • Are there maintenance requirements? Your standard tank likely has recommended maintenance, including annual draining to remove silt. This is normally required to maintain warranties.
  • Are there rebate opportunities? Some highly energy efficient water heater models, such as heat pump water heaters and combo boilers, have Seattle utility rebates that help offset their higher costs. If you live North, Cascade Natural Gas has rebates on tankless water heaters as well.
  • What energy source do they run off of? Water heaters come in electric, gas, propane, or solar water heaters. Tankless water heaters only come in gas or propane.
  • What comfort features can I get? On-demand or continuous hot water from a tankless water heater is great, and instant hot water can come from a recirculating pump. A recirculating system can be added to most water heaters.
  • How many gallons per hour can it supply? The amount of hot water in gallons that the water heater can supply per hour (when starting with a full tank), its also known as a first hour rating. Standard tanks are less than 100, as they empty and then need time to refill hot. Tankless water heaters have much greater hot water capacity. And you might want to ask about how fast it refills if it’s a tank water heater.
  • How much space will it take up? Standard tanks, you need about a 3 ft square space, Tankless water heaters are the size of a carry-on bag and mount on the wall, and heat pump water heaters need significant space around them to function properly.
  • Can they do multi-purpose heating? Boilers based on tankless technology, can today heat your house and water and provide radiant floor heating.

Wow, that’s a lot to consider. Here’s how some of the most popular options stack up!

Tank water heaters

Electric tank water heaters are one of the most common types of water heaters used in the Seattle-Tacoma area. “59% of water heaters in Northwest homes are electric tank water heaters and the average size is 40 gallons” according to NEEA.org. Also called an electric standard tank water heater, these are widely available and have:

  • Lowest upfront costs
  • Expensive on going cost – electricity is used 24 hours a day to keep water heated.
  • Energy factor up to .95
  • Gallons per hour: 67
  • Longevity: 8-12 years, except for the HTP Everlast with a lifetime warranty
  • Maintenance: Depends on model selected. Some electric water heater models build up excessive silt, which reduces capacity and efficiency build up.
  • The main benefits of using an electric water heater is low upfront costs and ease of replacement. Considerations are short life span and loss of efficiency as they age if you do not maintain them.

If you have an electrically heated home and are using an electric water heater in a reasonably open space, such as a daylight basement or garage, you could consider a hybrid electric water heater, also called a heat pump water heater. These cost more upfront but are highly energy efficient.

Natural Gas Water Heaters are more cost efficient to operate on going than electric water heaters which is why they are becoming more popular. They typically come in 40 gallon and 50 gallon sizes, although we have larger sizes and expansion tanks available. The lower cost of gas as a fuel source combined with a relatively low initial investment makes standard tank gas water heaters attractive.

  • Venting: Either B-Vent (uses same chimney as furnace with separate venting) or Direct Vent – directly vent to the outside of your house, so there is added upfront cost to provide proper piping and venting.
  • Least expensive among gas water heaters
  • Mid – range monthly operating cost (better than electric)
  • EF (energy factor) of .58 to .67
  • Gallons per hour : 90
  • Longevity: 8-12 years
  • Warranties 6, 10 year tanks
  • Maintenance: same as electric water heaters, it varies by manufacturer and model of gas water heater. Some models prevent or reduce silt build up and rust corrosion.

What about propane water heaters?

Propane water heaters are far more expensive than natural gas water heaters on a monthly operating cost basis. However, in some areas natural gas may not be available and propane tanks, which come in the same standard types as natural gas water heaters, are popular. There is a real cost advantage to tankless water heaters for a propane heated home because you would not be using nearly as much propane for water heating.

Tankless water heaters

The number one home upgrade this year has been the tankless water heater. It’s a small luxury most can afford and you get the comfort of endless hot water and energy efficiency. A tankless can do things a 50 gallon tank could never do, such as simultaneously providing hot water for up to four plumbing fixtures and appliances. (eg: Shower and wash clothes at the same time).

  • Tankless water heaters are about the size of a carry-on suitcase, freeing up space in your home.
  • Use less power, saving up to 30% on the cost to heat water in your home.
  • The typical tankless water heater system does cost more than a standard tank water heater, but it has double the life span.
  • If switching from electric water heater to gas high efficiency tankless, some homeowners may qualify for rebates from PSE.
  • EF (energy factor) .82, .94 and higher)
  • 300 plus gallons per hour capacity
  • Longevity : 20 years+

Hybrid heat pump water heaters

For those who want an electric water heater that is extremely energy efficient, heat pump water heaters provide both. They have the most expensive upfront cost for an electric tank but least expensive on going monthly costs, since your fuel is primarily the heat in the air!

  • EF (energy factor) : 2.0 and EnergyStar rated.
  • Gallons per hour: 67
  • Longevity 10-12 years
  • Cannot be used in a small confined space, needs airflow around it.
  • Uses heat pump technology with backup electric system ensures you have plenty of hot water when it’s too cold to pull it from the air.

Our local utilities in Western Washington, such as PSE have identified this as a great green product and provide excellent rebates when you buy a hybrid electric water heater.

Washington Energy Services offers water heaters to fit every budget and house, including several top brands of energy efficient tankless water heaters. Call today 800-398-4663 for great savings.

 

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Tank vs tankless – the water heater wars

Posted On: Filed Under: Tank water heaters, Tankless water heaters 3 Comments on Tank vs tankless – the water heater wars

Tank water heaters

Most homes have standard 40 or 50 gallon tank water heaters. They keep water hot all day and night, ready for your use. Tank water heaters usually last around ten years, during which time even the best of them builds up sediment and a little rust. After ten years of use, don’t be surprised if a little bit of water begins to leak from the bottom signaling a failed tank and the need for a replacement. It is especially important to keep an eye on older tanks that are in the home as a leaky tank can result in water damage or worse. With this in mind it is a good idea to have a general game plan put together for when the time comes to replace your tank water heater.

The first thing you need to investigate is what type of tank you have. There are two main ways your tank heats water: electricity or gas. An electric tank has no venting and is often in a conditioned space (meaning inside your house, not the garage). There are two types of gas water heaters: B-vent and Direct Vent. B-Vent has smaller four inch venting that exhausts into a chimney or ties into another exhaust vent. The direct vent will vent directly to the exterior of the home at a 90 degree angle. Can you identify which one you have?

The electric tank is the least expensive tank to buy. However, it terms of your utility bill, an electric tank will cost you the most to run on a monthly basis. This is because it takes a fair amount of electrical power to heat the water, and electricity costs more than natural gas. We recommend that if you have the ability to get gas to the house that you get a gas water heater which will be a less overall cost to run over the lifetime of the tank.

For gas tanks there are two main efficiencies, the .67 and the .62. That means 62-67% of the fuel they take in is converted into heating. These ratings are the same for both the b-vent tanks and the direct vent tanks. The main difference is that the higher efficiency unit has a vent damper which runs about 500-800 dollars more. This will save you about $20 per month on your natural gas bill at today’s prices. In 2 years, a federal efficiency mandate will require all tanks to be at a .67 efficiency so anyone buying a tank will need this vent damper. In terms of the base cost between the direct vent and the b-vent, the direct vent is the most expensive because of the extra technology used for the exhaust venting.

Tankless water heater

The alternative for homes with gas or propane is a tankless water heater. A tankless water heater will heat water only when you need it though a heat exchanger. And it never runs out. There is no reserve of water to rust out a tank and leak. The water is pumped into the system and heated on demand. This is a great option for people who travel between homes, or don’t want to heat water when they are not there. The tankless is also a wonderful solution to problems like running out of hot water in the morning or evenings when most of your hot water usage takes place. With a tankless you can supply the unlimited hot water to more than one appliance at a time – so you can shower while your dishwasher runs and both get equally hot water.

The cost for a tankless water heater can be 2 -3 times the cost of a tank. However, they have a much longer life expectancy of 20 years, with 12 year warrany on the heat exchanger. Tankless units are more efficient, with models at 84% up to 95% efficiency (.84, .95). With that greater efficiency, if you kept your water use the same, your tankless water heater should reduce your gas bill and help bridge the price gap. However, most people find that savings short lived, as they really enjoy longer hot showers.

Having a plan in place for when your tank needs to be replaced helps reduce the stress around dealing with what is normally an unexpected problem. If your tank is 10 years or older get in the habit of checking the bottom of the tank for leaks. Once a water heater begins to leak, it can only get worse so once you spot water it is time to call us to get the problem fixed.

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Congratulations, Bob & Edie you’ve joined the tankless life!

Posted On: Filed Under: Tankless water heaters 2 Comments on Congratulations, Bob & Edie you’ve joined the tankless life!

 

Edie, a retired school teacher, and Bob, a retired police officer, told us that they have entered a lot of contests over the years but have never won.  We were thrilled to deliver their first contest victory!

After a site visit by our team, all of the information and permits were obtained, and we were able to schedule a convenient day to come out and install the unit.  As you see in the photos, our great team of installers removed the old tank, ran the necessary new piping, and had Bob and Edie in hot water by early afternoon.

Bob & Edie selected the Rheem RTG 95 condensing unit because of its energy efficiency. This tankless water heater is 94% efficient – and if they don’t start taking longer showers or washing the car with hot water, they should see a reduction in their gas bill.

All tankless water heaters heat water on demand, which means they don’t heat it until you need it. That unit works especially well for them as they spend time up on the San Juan Islands and won’t be paying to heat water while they are not home.

The RTG 95 has a 94% efficiency rating; a step up from their 82% efficient tank water heater.  94% of the energy used to heat the water actually goes into heating the water and little is wasted.  These units are rated for 4.9 gallons a minute of hot water which will easily run 2 showers at the same time, and have the muscle to do more.

The Rheem tankless provides:

  • Endless hot water
  •  Space saving – its the size of a roll on suitcase
  •  Lifespan of 20 years vs typical 8-10 of a standard tank
  • An easy to use digital thermostat
  •  Keeps heat in the system for up to 5 min after you shut off your hot water, eliminating most cold water sandwiching
  • Comes with a great warranty, 12 years on heat exchanger, 5 year parts warranty, one year labor.

All of us at Washington Energy love when we can do these contests and create a few smiles for our splendid customers.  Thanks to all who made this contest possible, especially Rheem for providing one of their top tankless units, and our team who installed it.  So Bob and Edie, throw a load of laundry in, start the dishwasher and head upstairs and run a bath because you are now living the tankless lifestyle!

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