When is a Good Time to Replace My Water Heater?

March 24th, 2015

The older your water heater gets, the more efficiency it’s going to lose to accumulated wear and tear. There’s nothing you can really do about this, it’s just a reality we have to accept. Parts wear out, and when enough parts wear out in the same system it becomes easier and cheaper to replace the system than to replace the parts.

So, how do you know when the time to replace your water heater has arrived?

There are a few different criteria that you can use to decide whether your water heater needs replacing. Let’s take a look at some of the more pertinent ones.

Repair Increases

As mentioned above, there’s really nothing to be done about simple wear and tear on your water heater. As with all things, water heaters eventually just wear out. Parts start to lose effectiveness, and eventually they fail. When enough of those parts start failing in rapid succession, it’s a good sign that your water heater is reaching the end of its life. If it seems like you need to have a professional out to service your water heater every few months, talk to them about the possibility of replacing it.

Age

The lifespan of each individual water heater is dictated by its own circumstances. However, it is still possible to estimate approximately how long the average water heater will live. If your water heater is 15 years old or older, then you will probably have to replace it pretty soon. There are, of course, cases where the water heater will last significantly longer. However, 15 years is a good benchmark.

Before the Rules Change

As of April 16th, 2015, new rules will be implemented by the Department of Energy concerning water heater efficiency. These new rules will require that all water heaters manufactured be held to a higher standard of energy efficiency. While a good thing in the long run, water heater prices are expected to spike soon after the rules go into effect. If you’re thinking about replacing your water heater, it would be a good idea to do it before the rules change causes a price increase.

If you need to replace your water heater, call Rentmeister Total Home Service. We provide water heaters throughout the Salt Lake City area.

Which Water Heater Type is Better: Tank or Tankless?

March 18th, 2015

It wasn’t too long ago that your choice for a new or replacement water heater was pretty simple. These days, there are a number of choices when it comes to hot water heaters, and the main question every homeowner has to ask is, do I want a storage tank type of water heater, or do I go tankless?

Each type of hot water heater has its own benefits, so deciding between the tank vs. tankless water heater debate isn’t as easy as it may seem. One of the best ways to help determine which type of system will work best in your home is to work with a trained expert.

The water heater specialists at Rentmeister Total Home Service can help you decide which type of water heaters will best fit your home. Call us today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Tankless Water Heaters

One of the most asked about items regarding tankless water heaters is how they work. It’s actually pretty simple: tankless water heaters use a heat exchanger to heat water very quickly when hot water is needed. This is why tankless water heaters are also called “on-demand.” Tankless water heaters offer a number of benefits to homeowners, including endless hot water, very good energy efficiency and a longer life span (about 20 years). Homeowners can use electricity or natural gas to power a tankless system. However, tankless water heaters have higher initial costs, and gas tankless systems have a complicated installation process.

Tank Water Heaters

Storage tank hot water heaters have been a staple in homes for years, and with new regulations coming this spring, they will be more energy efficient than ever before. Tank water heaters have lower initial costs and wide variety of sizes. As with any home appliance, there are some drawbacks to utilizing tank water heaters. Some of these include significant standby heat loss and a shorter lifespan that ranges from 8-12 years.

If you need to install a new water heater and are confused by the tank vs. tankless water heater debate, call the people who can help: Rentmeister Total Home Service.

Signs That You Have a Drain Problem

March 10th, 2015

There are few home maintenance problems that are more frustrating than plumbing problems, and one of the most common of those is drain problems. Most homeowners don’t really think about the drain cleaning in their homes until they become clogged or develop some other issue.

While a clog is a pretty obvious sign that you need plumbing repair, there are other signs that you’ve got a drain problem. Let’s take a look at some of the other signs that you have a drain problem.

Slow Drainage

Contrary to what a lot of homeowners believe, clogs are not things that suddenly occur without warning. In fact, the debris that causes clogs tends to build up slowly, first accumulating on the inner walls of the pipe and then building towards the center. If you want to cut down on the number of clogs you have to deal with, pay attention to the rate at which your drains work. If you notice a drain start to work more slowly than it usually does, that’s a good sign that a clog is forming in the pipe. You should then take steps to get rid of the clog before it can completely form. Pouring boiling water down the drain often does the trick.

Sewer Smells

You plumbing system is designed to prevent anything from the sewer from coming back up the pipes and into your house. This includes sewer gases, which are actually vented through the house and out into the air. On occasion, however, a portion of this venting system can fail, causing horrible smells to come up through your drain and into your home. If you notice terrible smells coming from your drain, it is likely caused by a venting failure. This could be because of a vent valve becoming stuck, or even the exhaust pipe becoming blocked by something. Either way, if you notice bad smells coming out of your drain, you should call a plumber as soon as possible.

If you think you may have a drain problem, call Rentmeister Total Home Service. Our plumbers serve all of Salt Lake City.

Join Us at the Standard Examiner Home and Garden Show

March 6th, 2015

Rentmeister home show boothJoin us March 13-15, 2015 at the Standard Examiner Home & Garden Show at the Golden Spike Event Center in Ogden. Stop by Booth #71 to find out about our current specials, the latest water heater regulation changes and what this means for you, or for more information on how we can help make your home as efficient and comfortable as possible. We look forward to seeing you there!

Event Hours:

Friday & Saturday – 10AM-9PM

Sunday – 10AM-6PM

 

Admission Coupon Small Blue

What are Pinhole Leaks?

February 27th, 2015

When we see plumbing leaks on the news, in movies, or in TV shows, the effect is often dramatic. Water shoots out of the ground, through exposed pipes, or up through the sink faucet, flooding the area quickly. But in real life, leaks are often much smaller, which can often carry even worse consequences. If a leak is noticeable, you can shut off the water and schedule service right away. However, if a tiny pinhole leak affects your plumbing, you may not notice it until it has already damaged multiple parts of your property.

Detecting Pinhole Leaks

Prevent and detect pinhole leaks in your home by scheduling regular plumbing maintenance in Farmington, UT with the technicians at Rentmeister Total Home Service. We will thoroughly inspect your entire plumbing system, so you can find out about such issues before they lead to big trouble.

Pinhole leaking describes a phenomenon in which copper pipes, which are normally resistant to corrosion, begin to corrode. In fact, scientists have no solid explanation for why this occurs. It can happen without warning, even in areas where the pipes are not particularly old. Luckily, it’s rather rare, but sometimes it can affect an entire community, and experts are still unsure of what contaminants or elements in the chemistry of the water supply cause the pipes to react in that way.

The Consequences

Pinhole leaks are sometimes worse than burst pipes because you may not notice their presence for an extended period of time. Pinhole leaks may cause a drop in the water pressure, but this pressure reduction may not always be so obvious. Water can slowly leak out onto foundational beams, floorboards, walls, and ceilings until the damage is past repair. You may need to renovate an entire room just to alleviate the damages caused by a tiny leak.

You can find out whether pinhole leaking is a potential problem on your property with regular inspections. A plumbing maintenance visit includes a thorough inspection as well as a tuneup of some of your most important plumbing equipment.

Call on the experts at Rentmeister Total Home Service at the first sign of leaking or to schedule complete plumbing maintenance in Farmington, UT.

Why You Should Have Your Air Conditioner Cleaned Annually

February 20th, 2015

Air conditioners, like all home heating and cooling systems, occasionally develop a need for repair. Everyone knows that this is more or less unavoidable. However, that knowledge has led a lot of people to simply ignore air conditioner maintenance until something starts obviously affecting the system in a negative way. If you want your air conditioner to last as long as possible, this is a really bad habit to get into. Air conditioners should actually be cleaned and inspected at least once a year, regardless of whether or not it actually has any obvious problems.

Let’s take a look at why you should have your air conditioner cleaned annually.

Dust can be a Serious Problem

It may sound silly, but dust can pose a serious problem for your air conditioning system. Specifically, it can interfere with the condenser coil that your air conditioner uses to remove heat from your home. Your air conditioner operates by evaporating refrigerant in a coil located in the inside unit. The refrigerant gas draws heat out of the air and into itself, cooling the home. Then, the refrigerant gas travels to the outside unit and is converted back into liquid. This vents the heat outside the home.

However, a dirty condenser coil is unable to release the heat from the refrigerant gas as effectively. This causes a significant drop in your air conditioner’s cooling ability, and traps heat inside the system. Needless to say, this isn’t good for the health of your air conditioner at all. Annual cleaning ensures that your condenser coil operates at peak efficiency.

Early Detection

Having your air conditioner cleaned at least once a year also allows your HVAC technician to examine the system for developing problems. Any developing issues that are found can be solved long before they reach full strength and cause problems for the rest of the system. This is much better for the health of your system than waiting for a problem to occur before calling for a professional.

If you haven’t had your air conditioner cleaned in a while, call Rentmeister Total Home Service. We provide air conditioning services throughout Salt Lake City.

Lupercalia: The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Many people may think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday essentially created by card and gift companies, but the truth is that the holiday has long-standing roots going back to the Roman Empire. The name “Lupercalia” has its origins in the word “lupus”, which means wolf, and the reason for this is that according to Roman pagan religion, the she-wolf Lupa nursed the two orphaned infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

The Festival

The Festival of Lupercalia spanned two days each February, from February 13th to 15th. The festival was about fertility and was led by Luperci priests, known as “brothers of the wolf”. The festival was serious with intention (fertility) but was executed as quite a romp for both the priests and citizens of Rome. The process was this: two male goats and a dog were sacrificed at the beginning of the festival by the priests; two young Luperci were then anointed with the blood from the animals, and the hides of the animals were cut into straps. As food and drink flowed, the male priests would run around the city wearing nothing but thongs made from the animal skins, and they also carried a strap from one of the sacrificed animals. The strap was used to strike the palms of Roman women waiting for the priests in the city, as it was believed that being hit with the strap could help with infertility issues and a safe, healthy labor for women who were pregnant.

The Transition to St. Valentine’s Day

The Christian influence of the holiday came around the 5th century. The Roman Empire was still strong, but Christianity was rapidly taking hold throughout the world. It is believed that to try and remove the paganism from the holiday, the deaths of two men, supposedly both named Valentine, were added into the mix. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, a law created by Claudius II forbade young men eligible for military service to marry, because Rome wanted a strong army. The two men named Valentine were priests, and married young couples in secret. Both were found out and executed on February 14th, although in separate years. The Church made Valentine a saint (they chose one), and Lupercalia became St. Valentine’s Day.

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Valentine’s Day!

3 Common Repairs Your Water Heater May Need

February 9th, 2015

Water heaters generally last for well over a decade, which means they may not need any repairs for many years. When you do encounter a problem, it can be scary, but many water heater issues are easily mended with the help of a trained technician. We’ve detailed a few of these common water heater repairs here. Make sure to call on experts at the first sign of trouble, as waiting too long may only make it worse.

Replacing the Dip Tube

The dip tube is a very simple component, a long tube that lets cold water in through the top of the tank and allows it to flow all the way to the bottom. This is where the burner is located. Or, in an electric water heater, one of the heating elements is located toward the bottom. Then, since, heat naturally rises, the warm water can rise to the top. However, the dip tube is somewhat delicate, and it may develop cracks or it can even break in half. This means that you’ll probably run out of hot water fast, but a replacement part should suffice.

Replacing the Anode Rod

The anode rod is a crucial component even though it’s not really a participant in the water heating process. However, the anode rod does serve a single valuable purpose: sacrificing itself for the good of your tank. Anode rods are made of magnesium or aluminum, materials that are more reactive than steel, which means they’ll corrode before the tank does. However, a technician should replace the water heater anode rod from time to time, before it wears down so much that corrosion reaches the tank.

Flushing the Tank

If you hear a rumbling or banging sound in your tank, it may be that sediment has built up past the point of functioning. Minerals like calcium and magnesium in your water may build up inside of the tank. Too many minerals increases the pressure and could block the pipes, which is why a professional may need to drain the tank from time to time.

Call the friendly people at Rentmeister Total Home Service for water heater repair in Salt Lake City or to schedule maintenance with a trained technician to inspect and adjust the most important parts of your unit. Call now!

What Is Heat Load?

February 5th, 2015

It can be hard to believe in the middle of winter that other items beside your heating system can add to the heat level in your home.

While it may not be a significant amount of heat, it is still heat and needs to be counted, especially when you are planning a new heating installation for your Salt Lake City home. The extra heat you get from different home items, such as lights, electronics and sunlight fall under the umbrella term of “heat gain” and to correctly size a new heater, you’ll need to know what the heat gain of your home is.

Heat Gain vs. Heat Load

We’ve identified what heat gain is, but there are a number of factors that contribute to it:

  • Orientation of your home
  • Number of windows and doors
  • Types of windows and doors
  • Insulation levels
  • Floor plan
  • Number of rooms
  • Number of occupants
  • Square footage

There are a few others that may be considered, but these factors are the crux of it. Once you know how much heat your home gains throughout the day, you can move on to the next calculation: how much heat your home needs to be comfortable, which is the heat load. Many people believe that square footage is the only factor you need to know when calculating heat load; this is not true. Using the same factors above, your trained expert will determine, in BTUs (British thermal units) how much heat your home will need daily to keep you warm and comfortable.

Why is this important?

Installing a heating system that is the wrong size – either too big or too small – won’t just make you uncomfortable; it will be bad for the heating system, too. And without the correct heat load calculation, you may not choose the right-sized heating unit for your home.

Work with an Expert

Home heating specialists are trained in how to do properly perform a heat load calculation. If you are challenged by making this calculation correctly – and many people are – call the professionals at Rentmeister Total Home Service. Our specialists can help you determine the exact size heating system you’ll need to meet your heating needs in Salt Lake City.

How Do New Water Heater Regulations Affect Me

January 26th, 2015

As of April 2015, the US Department of Energy has implemented new rules concerning the efficiency of water heaters. These rules will have a pretty big impact on the water heater industry, but it will also have an effect on the options available to homeowners.

By and large, the new regulations deal with how much energy is allowed to be lost during the heating process, mandating that all new water heaters convert more energy into heat. Let’s take a look at how this can affect you.

Rise in Cost

More efficient water heaters are a good thing, and everyone should want to get as close to 100% energy efficiency as possible. However, the federal mandate is forcing the manufacturers’ hands, and that is going to lead to a sudden spike in water heater cost. Instead of the gradual increase associated with newer technologies entering the market and older ones phasing out, this is going to be a significant leap forward with no time for people to acclimate.

This means that manufacturers will have to do whatever they can to meet the new federal requirements, even if it means building more complex and expensive water heaters. That extra cost is going to get passed on to the consumer, as is often the case with newer systems and technology. Even if older water heaters are still available, you likely won’t be able to find an HVAC technician to install them for you. Just like the low-flow toilets that are required in several states, these more efficient water heaters will be the only ones HVAC technicians are allowed to install.

What to do about it

So, what should you do if you have an older water heater? Well, if it is less than ten years old you probably don’t have to worry about it. No need to replace a water heater that is still fairly recent and isn’t having issues. If you were already considering installing a new water heater, however, you should have one installed as soon as possible. The water heaters on the market today are still likely a good step up in efficiency from the one you have, without being as expensive as the new ones that are about to hit the market. If you act fast enough, you can come out of this whole situation with a new water heater and more money in your pocket than if you had waited a couple of months.

If you are thinking about installing a new water heater, call Rentmeister Total Home Service. We provide water heater installation services throughout Salt Lake City.