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Water Heater

Catons knows a thing or two about water heaters. We’ve been installing and servicing them in Baltimore and  surrounding counties for 60 years.

Why doesn’t my old water heater work as well as it used to?

This is usually due to a sediment buildup in your tank. As water heaters grow older, they accumulate sediment and lime deposits. If these deposits are not removed periodically, the sediment will create a barrier between the burner and the water, greatly reducing the water heater’s performance level. At least once every three months, drain water from the tank. Draining a gallon or so on a regular basis helps remove the sediment.

You should also periodically inspect your water heater burner. The flame under the heater should appear blue with yellow tips. If it’s mostly yellow, or if it’s sooty under there, your flue may be clogged, which is a dangerous situation. Contact a professional to check it out.

Electric heater elements are also affected by long-term exposure to chemicals in your water.  As the element deteriorates, the efficiency is reduced.  It may be necessary to replace the elements and/or the thermostats from time to time to keep your water heater operating efficiently.

In any case, at least once every two years, have your water heater inspected by a service technician. He or she will also check for signs of leakage, and the anode rods for corrosion.

Should I replace or upgrade my water heater?

Probably a good idea.  Did you know that heating water is probably the second highest use of energy in your home?  An old, inefficient water heater can operate at reduced capacity for a long time which costs you money and comfort.

Why replace or upgrade my water heater now?  The typical life expectancy of a water heater is about 8 – 12 years depending on usage and conditions.  Most people wait until they have a failure to look for a new water heater.  Unfortunately, they may be wasting money on their energy bill every month, or worse—come home to a serious failure that can result in big damage to their home.

What should I know about water heaters?  The most common water heaters are storage tank water heaters.  They use either electricity or gas to produce hot water which is drawn from the tank any time a faucet or appliance that uses hot water is activated.  Tank sizes range from 20 to 80 gallons for most residential uses.

What water heater is right for me?

Gas water heaters are powered by natural gas or propane.  They use the fuel to produce flame which in turn heats the water in the tank.  They require a flue to vent the exhaust from the combustion of the fuel.

Electric water heaters use electricity to heat an element that is installed in the tank, and the element in turn heats the water.  If you do not currently have a gas water heater, then the cost of conversion can be pretty expensive.  An electric water heater is probably your best choice.

The correct size of your water heater is determined by the size of your family, any space limitations surrounding the installation, and the type of use that is expected.  Average use by a family of 4 (including a dishwasher and washing machine) is typically served by either a 40 or 50 gallon gas heater, or a 50 or 66 gallon electric heater.  If you have whirlpool tubs, over-sized baths, or just a houseful of teenagers, you probably will need a larger size heater.  Our knowledgeable customer service representatives can help you determine exactly what is right for your family.  Give us a call today!

Hybrid Water Heaters

What is it?
With advanced heat pump technology combined with traditional electric elements, the hybrid electric heat pump water heater has been designed with maximum energy efficiency in mind. In fact, it’s the most energy efficient 50-gallon electric water heater you can buy.

The tank portion of these ENERGY STAR® qualified electric water heaters includes two electric heating elements, a pressure relief valve, an internal porcelain-lined tank and an anode rod. But what truly sets this product apart is just above the tank.

How does it work?
A compressor and evaporator are integrated into the electric water heater unit and the evaporator draws in ambient heat from surrounding air using two variable speed fans. Condenser coils wrap the tank all the way to the bottom to transfer this heat into the tank and heat the water.

This innovative process creates the same amount of hot water as a traditional electric water heater, but can reduce water heating expenses up to 62% to save $320* per year. And that could have a dramatic impact on monthly utility bills for years to come!

 hybrid Hybrid mode – Uses less energy while still experiencing fast recovery times. While the unit uses the heat pump as its primary means to heat the water, the standard electric elements may activate if a faster water temperature recovery time is needed. When the system determines that demand has been met, it will automatically revert back to using the heat pump only.
 demand High Demand mode – This is a great feature if you have guests spending the weekend and need increased amounts of hot water. High Demand mode operates very similar to Hybrid mode, but lets the system know in advance that it will be experiencing a larger water demand than usual. The water heater will be faster to react to temperature recovery by cycling on the heating elements sooner and for a longer duration of time.
 standard Standard mode – This mode shuts off the heat pump and only uses the electric elements to heat the water, just like a standard electric water heater. Standard mode allows for operation in extremely cold situations (less than 45°F) where heat pump functionality would not be ideal.

Tankless Water Heaters

How do tankless water heaters work?

Tankless water heaters offer a proven alternative to the storage tank water heaters most commonly found in U.S. homes. Storage tank water heaters store 40 to 120 gallons of water at a time and constantly reheat that water regardless of how much is actually demanded. A tankless water heater is also called an “on-demand” water heater because it only heats water when you turn on the hot water tap.

When you turn the hot water tap in a home with a tankless water heater, a powerful gas or electric heater kicks on and instantly heats water running through coils in the unit. Since water is only heated when you need it, you save on the costs associated with constantly heating and reheating a large tank of water. Tankless water heaters can accommodate the needs of large families and commercial buildings and can be adjusted for temperature just like the “old fashioned” storage tank water heaters.

Used for decades in Europe where living space is at a premium, tankless water heaters are a safe and reliable way to use less energy. They are also smaller than standard water heaters, saving space if you are doing new construction.

Want your questions answered by a qualified professional? Give us a call today!