Water Heater Services FAQ

What is the difference between STANDARD and SUPER efficient water heaters?

There is no structural difference between a SUPER and STANDARD water heater. The difference is in the insulation: components used and warranty options. A SUPER efficient tank will generally have a higher efficiency rating, better elements, and most likely a larger anode rod. The warranty will cover manufacturer's defects for a longer period of time. Many energy companies offer a mail in rebate if you buy a SUPER efficient water heater. Ask our Customer Service Representatives about the SUPER efficient water heaters we carry.

Will a TANKLESS style water heater work for me?

A TANKLESS (instantaneous) water heater is a fine option for some people; however, they won't do well in many applications. TANKLESS units do not store heated water like a tank style; they heat the water seconds before it comes out of the faucet. Many factors must be considered to determine if a TANKLESS style unit is right for you. We offer free consultations and estimates to help you decide if a TANKLESS unit is right for you. Call today for more details or visit our TANKLESS page for some basic information.

What is a THERMAL EXPANSION TANK, and do I need one?

When water is heated it expands. If your system is “open”, the water can backflow into the water main. This “extra” expanded water simply flows out of your home back through your cold pipe.

Increasingly, home plumbing systems are being closed off and backflow prevention valves are being placed between homes and the water main. This is done to protect plumbing systems from inlet water pressure. Due to the demands of more densely populated areas, water pressure is increasing.

If your system is “closed”, when the water is heated and it expands, the increased volume has nowhere to go. This causes sudden increases in water pressure, which can damage your water heater and other appliances – as water is not very compressible.

A Thermal Expansion Tank is a small tank used in closed water heating systems to absorb excess water pressure. This tank contains a Pressure Bladder. As water temperature rises, expanded water inters the bladder giving the increased volume a place to go preventing rapid pressure increases, which is caused by thermal expansion.

State code requires expansion tanks if your system is closed. Local enforcement of this code varies from city to city. Currently, all major water heater manufacturers recommend expansion tanks.

Our technician will try to determine if your system is open or closed. If your system is closed, installing an expansion tank may lengthen – and in some cases double – the life of your water heater.

Note: If your home has a history of leaky faucets or other appliances that wear out prematurely, an expansion tank may fix your problem.

Where can I get a list of code requirements for my area?

Water heater installation is mostly governed by the Uniformed Plumbing Code (CPC in California), Uniform Mechanical Code, and National Electrical Code. These codes are used across the United States, and each state can amend them as they wish.

Additionally, each city and county jurisdiction has assigned one building officials with Administrative Authority. This "Authority" allows each jurisdiction the right to interpret the codes as they see fit. Many cities differ on their requirements because of this. We advise that you contract with a company that knowledgeable and understands the intricacies of building code requirements.

Do you sell QUICK RECOVERY or HIGH INPUT water heaters?

Quick Recovery water heaters usually refer to water heaters that are equipped with dual elements: the upper element - to heat a smaller volume of water (about ¼ of the tank’s capacity) and the lower element, which takes over. This provides a small amount of usable hot water quickly while waiting for the bulk of the water to heat. Most manufacturers also make a gas water heater model, called High Input. The High Input model has a much higher BTU rating, which substantially reduces the heating recovery time. We sell Quick Recovery and High Input water heaters.

What are my WARRANTY OPTIONS on the water heaters you sell?

The manufacturer’s standard warranty covers the tank against rupture and parts* for 6 years. Extended manufacturer's warranty for up to 10 years on the tank and parts*.

Water Heater Services provides a one year warranty on parts and labor we supply.

Call us to help you select the best warranty for your home’s hot water heater.

*Note: “parts” include water heater components only. Additional enhancement parts, such as: Thermal Expansion Tanks, Earthquake Straps, Drain pans, Shut-off Valves, etc...are not warranty covered components of the water heater. However, these items do come with their own limited warranty. Your Technician will explain the warranty on non-component covered parts.

How old is my water heater?

See “Model Number”

Gas vs. Electric: How much hot water is produced?

The groundwater temperature and your required temperature degree rise will impact the per hour hot water production of your hot water heater. The standard residential gas water heater will produce approximately 35-45 gallons per hour (GPH) of hot water. High Input gas models will produce about 50-60 GPH. Electric water heaters with 4500-watt elements heats approximately 18-25 GPH and 5500 watt elements provide approximately 25-35 GPH.

If I am getting small flakes or particles in my water, do I have a faulty dip tube?

The dip tube of the water heater is the plastic tube that sends the incoming cold water to the bottom of the tank to prevent it from mixing with the hot water going to your faucets. This aids in the tanks heating and energy efficiency.

Faulty dip tubes will slowly disintegrate, producing particles and chunks that can clog up faucets, aerators and other plumbing fixtures.

If you experience this problem, we recommend that you replace your water heater tank as it can be very difficult to remove the disintegrated particles from the old tank.

Why does it take so long for the hot water to reach my faucets?

The amount of time it takes for hot water to reach your faucet is determined by the distance the water has to travel through the pipes from your water heater. If your faucet is more than 20 feet from the water heater, you may need to run your water more than 20 seconds before it comes out hot.

This can be frustrating and also wastes water.

To solve this problem, some homes have a built-in recirculation system. This system circulates hot water through the hot water pipes and back to the water heater. The re-circulation system allows you to have hot water from the moment you turn your hot water on.

What is F.V.I.R. gas water heater?

Prior to 2003 most gas water heaters had an open combustion chamber which allowed the owner to relight the pilot with a match. This presented a danger as hot water heaters in areas where other combustibles such as gasoline or propane caused spontaneous combustion and were both a risk to your home and safety.

Residential water heaters manufactured after 2003 are Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) compliant. The combustion chamber is now sealed. In order to light the water heater, you must use the pilot mechanism and you can no longer use a match.

Due to this change, new water heaters are significantly safer than water heaters manufactured before 2003.