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Storage tank water heater leaks can be expensive

 

Well, the other issue with tank water heaters is that they tend to leak water over time. Sometimes this happens for a long time without being noticed. Since most water heaters are placed in the garage they are usually out of sight and nobody pays attention to them. So water damage because of a water leak can go on for a very long time unnoticed and cause considerable damage to the home and surrounding in addition to wasting water and energy. Water damage to subfloors or other structures of homes is not uncommon and the repair of it tends to be costly because it wasn’t detected early.

 

Earthquake considerations

 

In earth quake prone areas water heaters pose a different problem as well. If not properly anchored they can tip over and cause water damage, physical damage and of course fire. Water heaters have fallen on cars parked close to them in the garage and considering the weight of a 40 or so gallon water heater full of water is approx. 330 pounds plus approx. 120 pounds for the heater itself, so a total of 450 pounds falling let's say on a car’s hood. Now that will do significant damage not just to the hood of the car but also to what is underneath it.

 

And in this case it will also disconnect the gas line and we will have a gas leak as well that can lead to fire and more damage. So it is very important to make sure that the tank water heater is properly anchored to something that can hold the weight just in case. Bolts and steel straps should be strong enough and anchored to main wood studs or masonry walls.

 

Pressure relief valve on Tank Water Heaters

 

One other thing to pay attention to is the pressure relief valve. As its name implies it releases the water pressure to the outside by releasing excess water from the tank to avoid an explosion of the tank water heater. You may be surprised to know how often that happens that a small pressure valve fails and the water heater literally explodes. The excess water from the pressure valve of course should be routed to the outside or a drain that won’t cause water damage.

 

In some older homes the water heater is located inside the house in a place that looks like a pantry from the outside. That of course poses even a greater danger of something catastrophic happening in case of a failure. The idea of a constantly burning fire in an appliance is very unsettling to most people once they are made aware of it. The water heater burner or its pilot is always burning, not just when you use it.

For all the above reasons and more the time of the traditional tank water heater has passed long ago. In other parts of the world, mainly Asia and Europe tank water heaters are hard to be found for many decades. There hot water is prepared by something called tankless water heater, sometimes referred to as on-demand or instant water heater or point of use water heater.

 

Tankless Water Heater History

 

Tankless Water Heater at Just TanklessThe first tankless water heater was invented by an Englishman named Maughan in the 1870s. The idea of tankless water heater is to heat the water only when you need it and almost instantaneously, so no storage tank of hot water.

 

Like many inventions tankless water heaters went through many designs over the decades. Most of the tankless water heaters were designed to be used at point of use. That is that wherever you needed hot water you would install an electric or gas powered unit and have hot water at the point you needed.

 

This reduced also the plumbing of a house since you didn’t need to run another water pipe for the hot water. Typically you had a small unit in the kitchen; the unit incorporated the kitchen faucet and maybe a very small tank of one gallon or so. Whenever you turned the hot water faucet open you would get hot water automatically after a few seconds.

 

In the bathrooms you had larger units, mostly gas operated that would do the same. No tank and no constantly heating water and with excellent efficiency that would remain largely the same. Efficiencies of 80 plus percents were common. Since there isn’t a storage tank of water with its associated standby heat loss the overall efficiency would be much higher.

 

Compared to storage tank water heater where you heat the water and keep it hot the tankless water heater heats the water only once for immediate use with higher efficiency. This goes for electric tankless water heater as well as for gas tankless water heater.

 

Noritz NR111 (N-0842MC)Takagi T-H2, Noritz NR111 (N-0931)
 
 

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