Should I Buy a Solar-Powered Water heater?

Solar energy is a fast-growing form of energy collection for homes across the North Texas area. This is leading many people who already have solar-powered homes, or are looking into making the switch, to wonder “should I buy a solar water heater?” There are quite a few misconceptions when it comes to buying hot water heaters, and it is important to sort out the truth from the myth when it comes to making a purchase and commitment as big as a solar hot water heater. Price: While not so much a misconception, it needs to be understood that solar water heaters are by far the most expensive type of water heater. They typically cost upwards of $3000 in installation costs. Energy Costs: Solar water heaters are the absolute best way to save money on your hot water bills. Solar water heaters have the potential to decrease a household’s carbon footprint by at least 50%. Colder areas: In areas that have the potential to freeze from time to time, (North Texas) heaters will need an anti-freeze system installed. Another additional cost upfront. Home location: The location of your home is extremely important when deciding if your home would be a good candidate for solar water heating. Making sure you live in a location that gets relatively consistent sun is important. In our area, the main concern would be houses that have a lot of large shady trees. Bad Weather: Typically, another upfront cost is a backup energy supply. This will come in handy if you have an extended period of cloudy, bad weather. Maintenance costs: Since solar water heaters are so complicated, the water heaters require much more maintenance. If you think a solar water heater is right for you, or have any more questions, please contact the expert Longview plumbers at Bird Dog. Our technicians are always ready to help find the water heater that fits your household’s...
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What Type of Water Heater is Right For Me?

When your water heater is starting to reach the end of its life cycle, many customers have a hard time figuring out which type of water heater is right for them when they need a replacement. There are many different types of water heaters which makes this such a daunting task. Luckily the experts at Bird Dog Plumbing are here to help make your search as simple as possible!   Fuel Types One of the first things to consider when selecting a water heater is what type of fuel will be used to power it. The two most common types are Gas –  Gas is used to heat most conventional forms of water heaters. It is widely available and has a relatively low energy cost. Gas also re-heat very quickly. This really comes in handy if you have a large family and know that multiple people will be using hot water at the same time. Electricity –  Like Gas, one of the major pros of electricity is that it is widely available. A major pro is that it does not have really any of the safety concerns that come with using a gas system. Electric water heaters are also smaller and easier to connect. Typically electric water heaters work best for smaller households. They are slightly slower at heating up water, and use more energy; so using them if you use lots of hot water is not super economical.   Types of Water Heaters There are a lot of different types of water heaters. This is why figuring out which one fits your house best is so difficult. However, knowing which kind of fuel you are going to use narrows down the options. Here are some of the most common types of water heaters: Storage– Storage water heaters are probably the most common, and the ones that everyone pictures when they think about water heaters. They are basically large tanks that hold hot water from the top and heats up the cold water at the bottom. The biggest pros of theses are that they are so inexpensive to purchase. They are also really good for households that use lots of hot water at the same time. However, they waste a lot of energy due to the fact that they are always on standby. Tankless– Tankless water heaters are also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters. This type of...
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Best Tips on How To Save Money by Installing a Water Heater

For most Longview, TX, families, water heaters are one of the biggest energy consumers in their home. If you are looking to have a new water heater installed in your home, be sure to take the time to carefully choose the water heater that is best for your situation. There are two major types of water heaters that are available. Storage Tank Water Heaters Storage tank water heaters are the most popular type. These heaters have an insulated tank that heats and stores water until you need it. They are available as a natural gas or electric appliance. Natural gas storage tank water heaters may cost more to purchase but they use less energy and will cost less money to use than electric water heaters. Tankless Water Heaters Tankless water heaters use coils to heat your water on demand. Since they do not use energy to store hot water, they are more energy efficient and generally cost less to operate. They do however have a limited amount of hot water that can be provided per minute. They are best for homes in which water is drawn for only one use at a time. These appliances are typically installed in homes that use natural gas. They can be powered by electric energy; however, an installation upgrade may be required to make that possible. When you’re out looking for a new water heater, look for an appliance that has an ENERGY STAR® symbol. This symbol tells you that the appliance you are considering meets or exceeds the requirements needed to be energy efficient without compromising on performance levels. If you are considering the costs of water heater services, it’s necessary to think about both the immediate installation and the future operating costs involved. Some water heaters cost more to install. In the long run, however, they are more cost-effective and cost less to operate over time. The following is a list of factors to consider when deciding on the best new water heater for your home: The efficiency rating of the heater The installation costs The annual operating costs The average life span of the heater How to use your newly installed water heater more efficiently: Drain a small amount of water from your water tank once a year. This will reduce the amount of sediment that could build up in the tank. Excess sediment will force the system to work...
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Simple and Effective Water Leak Detection Guide for Homeowners

Mowing the lawn, replacing roofing shingles and washing the siding are necessary for maintaining your home. It is also important, however, to reduce water waste by completing a water leak detection. Unfortunately, most homeowners do not realize the costs associated with even small leaks. Considering the average household leak can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water waste annually, you must find and repair these costly and wasteful leaks. Here are a few simple steps to detect a leak in and around your home. Toilets Many leaks are occurring in the toilets of your home, but you may not know the signs of these leaks. Remove the lids from the toilet tank and listen for any hissing sounds. Hissing is a common sign that there is a leak somewhere in your toilet’s working mechanisms. If you do not hear any hissing sound, place a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. Wait a few minutes and check the toilet bowl. If color is flowing into the toilet bowl, the toilet flapper most likely has a leak and needs to be repaired or replaced. Water Heater Locate the pressure relief valve on your water heater. This valve is usually directly connected to your main drain. The pressure relief valve will allow a few drops of water to leak from the water heater, as a cautionary measure. If you hear a loud hissing sound and see puddles of water under the water heater, you most likely have an underlying leak in your plumbing that should be addressed. Faucets and Showerheads A continuous dripping of water from a sink faucet or showerhead may not seem like an issue, but the water waste can add up. Not only is this dripping annoying and wasteful, but it can increase your monthly water bills over time. Never ignore a dripping faucet or showerhead, especially since the problem is usually a simple fix. Replacing a worn washer or installing a new fixture can conserve water while saving you money. Meter Line You should also check the meter line, which runs from the outdoor water meter to your home. Be sure to shut off your main water supply valve. Then, remove the cover to your outdoor meter. Watch the meter carefully while your water supply is shut off. If the meter is still turning, there is probably a leak somewhere in the line between the meter...
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Maintenance Tips and When to Call Your Local Water Heater Installer

If your water heater is not working properly, it may be time to contact a water heater installer in the Longview TX area. Leaking water or low heat levels are just some of the reasons you may need to have your water heater repaired or replaced. While proper maintenance of your appliance will extend its life, over time, you will need to make repairs or have a brand new heater installed. The life expectancy of a typical water heater is between eight and twelve years. The life span varies based on the design of the appliance, the installation process, the adherence to a maintenance schedule and the quality of water used. Water Heater Maintenance Tips Most water heaters today are produced with little or no maintenance requirements. However, there are several maintenance tips that could help in prolonging the life of your appliance. Drain your water heater every six months to remove any sediment that could be collecting in the tank and causing corrosion. This step will prolong the life of the heater and increase its efficiency. Decrease your water heater-thermometer temperature level to below 120 degrees F. This will lower the possibility of damage to your tank from overheating. Water Heater Replacement Tips If you have a heater that is over ten years old and is experiencing some problems such as leaks at the tank base or trouble reaching hot temperatures, you probably need to think about having it replaced. When it comes time to replace your water heater, you can choose to install an appliance similar to the current one you own. However, there are newer upgraded water heaters that offer features that will increase efficiency and lower utility costs. When you go out in search of a new water heater, consider the following features: The number of gallons the tank holds. The most common tanks have a capacity between 40 and 50 gallons. The recovery rate of the appliance which indicates the number of gallons of water that the heater will heat within an hour. The physical dimensions of the heater including the width and height, to ensure that the water heater will fit properly into the space you have allocated for it. The energy efficiency ratings that detail an estimated cost of operating the unit per year. This information is usually displayed on a sticker placed on the side of the unit. Before you begin...
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