Category Archives: Water Heater

Pros and Cons of Going Tankless

If you are pondering whether or not to go tankless for your next water heater, we are here to help you decide with some pros and cons. Read on to learn more!

First, let’s establish the two types of water heaters – traditional and tankless. Traditional water heaters store and preheat on average 30 to 50 gallons of water in a tank. This water is used whenever someone does laundry, showers, washes dishes, etc. As the water is used, the tank refills and reheats again. Tankless water heaters use a heat source, like electricity or gas, to warm cool water on demand whenever you need it, rather than storing it.

We’ve done the research for you to help you decide if a tankless water heater will fit the needs of your home.

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  • Energy savings – tankless water heaters use 30 to 50 percent less energy than units with tanks. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates gas-fired tankless water heaters save each year an average of $100 in energy costs and about $44 in electricity bills, compared to traditional water heaters.
  • On demand – referred to as “on demand” because they heat water only when you turn on the faucet; you no longer have to pay to keep 30-50 gallons of hot water on hand.
  • Continuous supply of hot water – this is ideal if you have a family member that uses up all the hot water taking extra-long showers, or if you need to fill a Jacuzzi tub. If more capacity is needed, multiple tankless heaters can be hooked up together.
  • Compact design – smaller than a standard water heater and can be mounted on an interior or exterior wall.
  • Warranty – tankless water heaters typically have a 15+ year warranty, while traditional models only come with a six-year warranty on average.
  • Environmental benefits – besides wasting less energy, you are also preventing a rusty tank from ending up in a landfill when you go the tankless route.
  • Life expectancy – most tankless water heaters last well over 20 years, about twice as long as traditional models.
  • Tax rebates – many gas-powered tankless water heaters qualify for a $300 federal tax rebate, and many states offer similar incentives.

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  • Upfront cost – at initial purchase and install you will see a higher bill than if you chose a traditional water heater.
  • Special venting requirements – tankless units have high-powered burners, requiring a dedicated, sealed vent system that has to be installed by a professional.
  • Utility conversion – if your home utilities are electricity-only, your electrical system may need an upgrade, which requires hiring an electrician to ensure the proper voltage, amperage, and circuit breaker are in place.

The most important thing to remember when selecting your next water heater is to consider your household’s needs first. Select the unit that best fits your water usage, lifestyle, and budget. Be sure to get an estimate on installation as well as equipment, and have your water heater professionally installed. Unless you are a professional, this is not a do-it-yourself job. To further discuss options with our plumbing experts and what might fit your home best, contact us via our website or call 701.775.4675.

6 Tips to Save Money While You’re on Vacation

As winter arrives in North Dakota, warm, sunny beaches start to call our names! Are you heading out on a winter vacation? More than likely you have had the mail held and asked a neighbor to keep an eye on things while you are away, but did you remember to ready your electricity and HVAC system for your absence? It is important for not only cost savings, but also safety reasons.

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Below are six tips to remember when the packing is done and you are almost ready to set sail in paradise.

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Reset the thermostat on your HVAC system to 60 degrees. This will save you money without risking frozen pipes and flooding, while still preventing moisture from building up on your primary heat exchanger, which could cause a possible shortage as well as mildew problems. Temperatures below freezing make it unsafe to turn the thermostat entirely off, and in our area we have the humidity working against us. We also tend to turn the heat back up to 72 or higher upon our return, causing extra stress to the HVAC unit. A programmable thermostat makes it convenient to remotely check on the temperature in your house and slowly increase the heat back to a comfortable setting over a couple of days, helping to prevent overworking your HVAC unit.

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This lower temperature will prevent water in the lines and tank from freezing and causing damage, but won’t keep hot water on hand that you are not going to be using. If you are not quite sure how to change the water heater to its “vacation” setting, give us a call!

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Turn off the water supply to washing machines and toilets; this can help avoid an unexpected leak while you’re away. Double-check the insulation around water pipes that are close to unheated areas and add insulation if needed, as an added precaution to prevent a frozen pipe while you’re away.

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Be sure all interior doors are open. This will keep the heat circulating throughout the entire house and create less of a chance for cold spots where a pipe could freeze or a plant might die from inadequate warmth. If you have someone checking your home, it is a good idea to place a thermometer where it can easily be seen to notify the person of any dangerous temperature drops in your home.

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Set your refrigerator to 42 degrees and freezer to 5 degrees, to save money while also reducing the odds of returning home to spoiled food. If you are heading off on an extended vacation, donate or discard perishable food items and unplug your fridge to save even more. Also, unplug any “vampire appliances” that continue to use energy even when they are not in use, such as televisions, lamps, entertainment systems and coffee makers.

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If you don’t have motion detectors, it is a good idea to consider investing in them, especially when going on extended vacations. If you do, make sure all the lights are in working order and time them to come on in the evening as the sun sets. You could even set a radio on a timer to ward off possible burglars.

We hope these tips help you have a wonderful, stress-free vacation! If you would like additional information on the care and maintenance of your HVAC system, or help with prepping your system for an extended vacation, or to schedule services to make sure your system is running optimally, contact Vilandres and we would be happy to come give your unit a tune-up before your trip begins.