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How to remove water heater
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Replace water heater element Figure Volts Amps Watts for water heater 9 ways to save with water heater
How to install point of use water heater Point of use water heater
Compare 16 electric and 3 gas water heater timers Clean sediment out of water heater Troubleshoot Rheem tankless
Emergency steps: how to turn off water heater
How to install recirculation system Point of use water heater
Flooded water heater Leaking water heater Box timers
Auto-off timers
Programmable timers
Low water pressure How to set timers
Troubleshoot electric water heater Troubleshoot gas water heater How to wire tankless electric How to wire subpanel Do-it-yourself

9 ways to save with water heater

  Savings estimates show approximate savings/ depending on usage and many other factors
Single handle faucet

Cold water enters bottom of water heater each time hot is turned ON

 1. Do not turn on hot water when using cold

Save $2-8 per month.
When hot is turned on, even a moment, cold water immediately enters water heater. Water heater runs more. Single handled faucet lifted in center will draw hot water from tank. Applies to gas and electric heaters.
If single handled faucet has crossover, then hot water can draw through defective faucet cartridge when other faucets turn on.
How to test for crossover/ that causes hot to run when cold is on
Things you can do to increase amount of hot water
Water heater dip tubes
How water heater works
Water heater dip tubes at Amazon
Moen double handled faucets at Amazon

2. Install Dual-handle faucets when replacing faucets

Save $2-8 per month
Prevent unintentional hot water consumption
Dual-handle faucet does not have crossover problem caused by bad cartridge.
It is easy to know when Hot water is drawn from tank.
Do not open Hot side when using cold water.
Crossover on bad single-handle faucet cartridge draws hot from tank
Dual handle faucets at Amazon
Moen faucets at Amazon
Take a shower

3. Take showers/ not baths/ save 10 gallon hot each time

Save $4-20 per month
Take showers/ not baths
Save 10 gallons hot each time
Photoshop how-to
Bath uses 12-14 gallons hot water
Take showers instead of bath.
Safety grab bar
Use safety grab bar on bathtub
Safety grab bar at Amazon
Bathtub safety grab bars

4. Reduce consumption

Save $15-20 per month
Save 10 gallons hot water each time by taking shower instead of bath.
Take showers instead of bath.
Bath uses 12-15 gallons hot water. Shower uses 5-9 gallons hot water
Read  Read2
Don't run water continually when shaving
Wash dishes by hand
Wash clothes in cold water
Install low-flow faucets and shower heads
Fix leaks
Do not install garden-size or over-sized bathtubs
read 1 read 2 

Avoid large bathtubs

NEW efficiency standards will affect large bathtubs and whirlpool tubs

5.  Large bathtubs consume large amounts of hot water.

Save $4-20 per month
New water heater efficiency standards go into effect April 2015.
Large water heaters (over 55 gallon) will have to meet new standards... which means the unit will cost more to buy.
If you have oversized bathtub, you need 60 gallon gas water heater or 80 gallon electric water heater... or two water heaters.
80 gallon tank-type electric water heaters will not be available except as hybrid.
Hybrid electronicly-controlled water heaters are expensive to buy and to repair and installation requires 10x10 room
Each gallon taken from water heater is replaced by gallon of cool-cold water that must be heated to temperature setting.
Over-sized and garden-size tubs recommend 80 gallon first hour delivery.
Electric water heaters must be sized 65-80 gallon.
Most 60 gallon gas water heaters will meet just meet 80 gallon first hour
Cost to run water heater
Two water heaters
New efficiency standards April 2015/ pdf
New water heater efficiency standards go into effect April 2015.
80 gallon tank-type heaters not allowed... wow the most efficient storage for solar heat is not allowed?
Hybrid heat pump water heaters required to meet standard
Yet the most expensive water heater to operate... the whole-house tankless electric... is still ok
Must be that tankless electric produce a lot of profit, but 80 gallon tank heaters are less profitable
New efficiency standards April 2015/ pdf
dripping faucet

6. Fix drips and leaks

Save $1-8 per month
Save 1/2-2 gallon per day:
When hot side faucet drips, then cold water is entering tank at same rate water is dripping out of faucet.
Turn off all taps... put ear against pipe... listen for leak... look at water meter and see if meter advances
Water detectors at Amazon
Automatic water heater leak shut off at Amazon
Water-loss-with-one-drip/ pdf
Government drip calculator

Automatic water heater leak shut off installation
Leaking water heater/ steps

Automatic water heater shut off valve
Automatic shut off valve

7. Prevent flood damage/ automatic shut off valve

Savings undetermined/ save massive damage to home
Shut off water automatically when leak is detected
Valve ataches to water line... detector sits on floor... electric power does not rely on batteries

Water detectors at Amazon
Automatic water heater leak shut off at Amazon
Best seller/ battery-operated leak alarm
Leaking water heater/ steps
water sensor

 Prevent water damage/ water sensor

Savings undetermined/ 
Alarm sounds when leak is detected
Detector sits on floor...  battery powered

Best seller/ battery-operated leak alarm
Water detectors at Amazon
Automatic water heater leak shut off at Amazon
Leaking water heater/ steps
Earthquake-proof water heater
Earthquake straps at Amazon

 8. Earthquake-proof water heater

Save property damage and possible fire
Read pdf    See illustration  See seimic map
Earthquake straps help prevent gas leak and fire in event of earthquake.
Prevents damage to property and injury from falling tank.
Dropped water heater, or water heater fell over
Earthquake straps at Amazon


How to maintain water heater

9. Maintain water heater to last twice as long

Save $8-10 per month
If water heater lasts 10 years, and cost $600 to buy and install today, but $1200 to buy and install 10 years from now, then the depreciation cost is $8-10 per month.
All costs are energy. Add depreciation cost to monthly energy bill to accurately estimate cost for operating water heater. And also figure that new heater 10 years from now will cost even more.
It makes sense to maintain water heater.

Flush tank each 6 months
Inspect for leaks each 6 months
Check and replace anode rod each 1-3 years
Check pressure/ pressure should not exceed 90 psi
Read and save product manual

Troubleshoot resources for electric
Troubleshoot resources for gas
Safety precautions
More Do-it-yourself resources
Protect heater: Install whole house surge
minerals in water
Clean out tank

10. Flush tank every six-months

Save $2 per month/ extend life of heater and keep efficiency high
Water heater that is maintained will last longer and work more efficiently. And save money
Frequent flushing plus a water heater timer could eliminate need for water softener.

Once sediment accumulates, it cannot be completely removed from gas water heater. Build-up of calcium carbonate reduces heating efficiency, especially in gas water heaters. With electric heater, calcium carbonate can short out bottom element.
How to replace element and clean sediment out of tank
See steps to flush tank
See steps to clean tank
Read softener research pdf
change water heater thermostat

How to adjust thermostat down to 120

11. Turn down thermostat

Save $2-4 per month standby cost 
For each 10 degree reduction, save 3-5% operating cost.
     120 degrees or lower is considered optimal
     130 degrees recommended to kill bacteria when washing clothes
     Temperatures above 140 can cause minerals to distill out of water and damage pipes
Set lower thermostat less than upper thermostat, unless home has peak consumption.
Typical electric water heater heats 21 gallons hot water per hour with 4500 watt elements
Heats 16 gallons hot water with 3500 watt elements.
See how to adjust temperature on (gas and electric) water heaters
How to increase amount of hot water
See typical gas and electric water heater recovery chart
Resources for troubleshoot:
Troubleshoot gas water heater
Troubleshoot electric water heater
How to replace thermostat on electric heater
How to replace thermostat on gas water heater
Use surge protector when water heater plugs into outlet  Do not plug gas water heater into timer/ this might void warranty and cause malfunction and reset
Belkin surge protectors at Amazon

Fewer BTUs
Larger image

12. Slow heating uses less energy

Save $4-20 per month
Water heaters with high recovery rates and high first-hour delivery use more BTUs per gallon of hot water. See typical gas and electric water heater recovery chart
Heat pump water heaters, when operated without back-up elements, can save energy, but technology is best suited to warm climate, and consumer should research choices. All costs are energy, so small, inexpensive, well-insulated water heater is better choice than heat pump. Whirlpool Energy Smart electric water heater offers energy choices.  Do-it-yourselfers can change electric water heater into off-peak water heater, where lower element is turned off to save energy Read. Water heater timers can be wired so they turn off lower element. Water heater timers can be set so just enough hot water is available when needed
Two water heaters
Off-peak water heater ideas
Off peak water heater wiring
Image of timer controlling off peak thermostat
Compare water heater timers
Review GE hybrid water heater/ heat pumps can be expensive and inconvenient
GE energy smart water heater has temperature adjustments on front of water heater
wrap water heater
Insulate tank
See illustration

TP valve
Do not obstruct or cap off TP
Tank drain
Leave access to tank drain

14. Wrap water heater with insulation

Save $2-8 per month
Save 4-9% operating cost. Home centers sell ready-to-use blanket for $25.
Payback 1 year
US Dept of Energy suggests R-8 which equals 2-1/2" fiberglass insulation.
Buy from my affiliate links:
Water heater insulation blankets at Amazon

Does water heater need insulation?

Does 1-2" foam insulation stop 50 degree temperature differential? No.
Tape thermometer to water heater, cover thermometer with fiberglass insulation, after 20 minutes, remove insulation & compare before and after thermometer reading.

       Electric water heater and gas water heater are wrapped differently
Electric water heater: OK to insulate entire tank, except TP valve.
Gas water heaters: NO insulation on top of tank -or- over draft air inlet -or- air intake opening -or- around gas control valve
See illustration
Dept of energy resource

See illustration of gas water heater blanket
Insulate TP valve

15. Insulate TP valve

Small savings each month
Add insulation to TP valve to prevent heat loss.
Do not cover lever with insulation. Do not cap off TP valve or cap off discharge tube.
Read about TP valve code
Water heater safety precautions
How to replace TP valve
Troubleshoot leaking water heater
pipe insulation
Insulate pipes

16. Insulate pipes

Save 25 cents - 1 dollar per month x 30 years = $90-180
Insulate pipes at water heater and rest of house
Water pipes lose heat. When colder water enters tank, it must be heated more.
Pipes on top of tank draw heat out of water heater. Tank runs more.
Gas water heater: Insulation must stay away from top of heater and vent pipe.
Electric water heater: Insulation can cover all pipes and top of water heater
Pipe insulation at Amazon

Insulate water heater
Electric water heater only

17. Set ELECTRIC water heater on insulated surface

Small savings each month
Prevent heat loss through bottom of tank.
Electric water heater only: Internal steel tank has no insulation on bottom. Water in bottom of tank is hot. Proof: open drain valve at tank bottom releases hot water. Heat loss can be slowed with insulation. You are warmer sitting on insulation, so is water heater.

For example, use Dow blue styrafoam
Or build 2x4 frame filled with insulation and covered with 3/4" plywood. Plywood is good insulator. Metal and aluminum are very poor insulators and will cause heat loss. To test insulation value of material, put hand on material and see if it warms quickly under hand

Note: water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon
40 gallon steel water heater filled with water weighs approx 450lbs.
80 gallon water heater with water 870lbs.
Make sure floor structure can support weight of 2-4 large men.
Electric meter

 Resources: Water heater causing high electric bill


Water heater is tripping breaker
Troubleshoot electric water heater
How to install meter on electric water heater
Photovoltaic water heater

18. Photovoltaic DC water heater/ 

Passive solar water heater

Save $0-40 per month
Heat water using sun
Solar assistance or full solar... the less hot water is heated using electricity or gas, the larger the savings
Passive DIY solar heater using old water heater or solar collector
Simple DIY PV photovoltaic heater
Should you buy factory-made solar water heater
Tempering tank
Larger image

19. Install tempering tank/ Pre-heat incoming cold water

Save $2-8 per month
Tempering tank located in naturally warm location can preheat water before it flows into cold water side of water heater.
Re-purpose old water heater: Use old water heater for tempering tank, don't throw it away. 
Tempering tank can be old water heater, or coil of copper tubing, or any 20-80 gallon water tank not connected to fuel source.
Tempering tank is Excellent use for old water heater
Also use old water heater for passive solar water heater

20 gallon water heaters at Amazon
Compare small tanks

How to Install tempering tank 
Convert water heater to DC photovoltaic
Passive solar water heater
Compare 20 gallon water heaters + installation
Two water heaters

Turn off 2nd water heater

20. Turn off 2nd water heater

Save $40 a month right now
Read about 2 water heaters
Many homes have 2nd water heater for convenience. The 2nd heater may not be necessary.
If 2nd water heater is needed, put in a smaller tank, or install under-counter water heater at faucet.
How to install under-counter water heater

How much does it cost to run water heater? Read

Control two water heaters
Electric water heater timers
Gas water heater timers
two water heaters

21. Control 2 water heaters

Save $2-5 a month
Many homes have 2nd water heater for convenience.
Run 1 water heater full time/// run other heater part time as needed.
If 2nd water heater is needed, put in a smaller tank, or install under-counter water heater at faucet.

Control two water heaters
How to install under-counter water heater
How much does it cost to run water heater? Read
smaller water heater

22.  Install smaller water heater

Save $4-10 per month
... and reduce consumption. Don't oversize, choose right size. See chart.
Smaller tank costs less to operate when consumption is also reduced. Overworking gas water heater will cost more in repair. Choose the right size. Conserve. Plan. Put in smaller tank if consumption is reduced.
Home might require at least 40 gallon for resale value. Read  
Home with garden-sized or over-sized tub require minimum 80 gallon first-hour delivery.
Consider that all costs are energy, so total cost over life of appliance is important. Save water heater manual. Anticipate that water heater lasts 6-12 years Read the basics,  See typical reference chart and plan ahead for most efficient unit read 1. Consider options read 2 Consider solar assisted read 3 read 3a Consider self-cleaning tanks. Dept of Energy efficiency information read 4  Consider heat-pump water heater read 5 read 6 Avoid hype: read side-by-side test for tankless read 7. Compare water heater innovations. Save old tank for solar project read 8 or tempering tank read 9
Under counter water heater

23. Small heater at sink

Save $2-8 per month/ under-counter heater
Pot heater can save instead of using hot water from main heater (requires freqauent cleaning with white vinegar)
Connect small under counter heater... connect to cold water line
Avoid tankless: it costs more to heat water rapidly with tankless
Thermo hot pot at Amazon
Point of use water heaters at Amazon
Compare under-counter water heaters, manuals, and installation
How to increase amount of hot water
tankless under counter

23a. Small tankless heater at sink

Save $2-8 per month/ under-counter heater
Connect to cold water... never draws hot water from main tank
Instant hot water at sink
Tankless point of use at Amazon
Point of use water heaters at Amazon
Compare under-counter water heaters, manuals, and installation
How to increase amount of hot water
mixing valve

24. Save hot water with mixing valve

Mixing valve kit at Amazon
Water heater mixing valves at Amazon
How to install and save hot water using mixing valve
Thing to do to increase amount of hot water
Washing machine

25. Washing machine/ dishwasher

Use cold water instead of hot
Turn off hot to washing machine
Connect dishwasher to cold water line.
Connect under-counter water heater to cold water line instead of hot
If very hot 135 degree water temperature is needed for wash day:  
Raise water heater temperature for that day or hour, and then reduce temperature to 120 degrees later.
How to adjust temperature
Adjust water temperature on front of water heater: Whirlpool energy smart
Use timer to temporarily raise water heater temperature (alters water heater wiring/ voids product warranty)
Use timer to control water temperature
Hot water recirculation system
Larger image

26. Recirculation system provides hot water for frequent hand washing

Save $20-35 per year
Recirculation system motor costs money to operate, and water heater runs more hours.
If you have recirculation system, use timer instead of thermostat to control circulation.

Typical Grundfos UP15 pump uses 29 watts and costs modest $25 per year when run 2 hours per day, but water heater runs more and costs additional $20-35 per year.
Recirculation system operation, manuals, diagrams

Install water heater timer

27. Install water heater timer

Save $10+ per month by reducing consumption & using timer
Good for homes with few people and homes with peak electric pricing
Not good for homes with several people and large consumption habits.
Timers can save money when people also reduce consumption and schedule hot water read1 read2.
See water heater timers  Read3
Does a timer save money: yes small amount
If you have old heater, start fresh: clean out tank, replace anode rod, lower thermostats,
wrap heater with insulation, and install a timer.  
Go next door and install timer for neighbor.
How much money does a timer save

See water heater timer installation

Family chart for setting water heater timer,
based on incoming water temperature
Off peak water heater timer

28. Off-peak water heater options

Save by avoiding peak electric pricing
Applies to electric water heaters
Avoid peak electric prices. Save money.
Wire timer to operate electric water heater during off-peak times.
Water heater is always ON like usual, but less hot water is available during peak-price hours
How to wire off-peak water heater

Changing water heater to 120Volts will save money during peak hours. If people also lower consumption.
How to convert water heater to 120Volt.
How to install electric meter on water heater.

Di-electric union

remove water heater nipple

29. Prevent electrolytic corrosion/ & connection failure

Save cost of plumbing repairs
Lengthen lifespan of water heater and protect plumbing from deterioration.
Use di-electric nipple with plastic lining when connecting pipes to water heater. Image on left shows failed di-electric unions. Failed because washer wore out. Di-electric nipples do not require washer. Some folks prefer brass fittings since they do not corrode.
Di-electric prevents electrolytic corrosion or electrolysis caused when different metals are connected together.
Different metal pipes can also cause
Low Hot Water Pressure
Read more: How to replace short nipple
Di-electric nipples
Di electric nipple
Dielectric nipples at Amazon
brass elbow and nipple

29a. Use brass pipe, elbow and nipple when connecting copper pipe to galvanized pipe

Save cost of plumbing repairs
Prevent electrolytic corrosion/ deterioration of galvanized pipes and clogs
Use 6 wraps teflon tape on threads
Brass nipples at Amazon
Brass elbows at Amazon

water heater connections

Flexible Water Heater Connector at Amazon
Flexible stainless 24" connectors

30. Use Flexible copper -or- braided -or - Stainless Steel lines

Save cost of clogged pipes and plumbing repairs
....when using flexible connections Read1  Source  Source
I personally use copper flex lines and they seem thicker and more stout than flexible stainless.

Broken and leaking pipes cause repair costs.
Braided hoses can leak, and interior rubber coating can come apart and get into pipes.
This applies to both water heater and washing machine and water softener.
Ruptured washing machine hose and water heater supply lines cause flooded homes.
Use di-electric nipples between flex connections and water heater.
See insurance loss chart, water heater failure data
High water pressure above 80psi can cause water heater damage, plumbing damage and rupture. Install pressure-reducing valve and set pressure for 40 psi. 
Read about low hot water pressure and clogged pipes

Buy from my affiliate links
Flexible water heater connections
Stainless steel flexible connection at Amazon
Camco copper flex and di-electric nipple kit
Copper flexible kit
Stainless braided 18" at Amazon
Stainless flex at Amazon
Flexible water heater connection
heat trap
Minimum 6"
heat traps
See larger image of installation

31. Add heat traps

Electric: Save $9.20 per year
Gas: Save $4.00 per year

.... to slow natural convection of heat upwards
Prevent loss of heat leaving top of water heater.

Insulate pipes
Some new water heaters have built-in heat-trap nipples and washers.

Factory-installed heat-trap nipples and washers can clog

Read heat trap bulletin/ pdf
Heat trap research/ pdf
Making heat traps /at formum
Low hot water pressure/ causing pressure problems.
New water heater making noise
Replace factory heat traps with di-electric nipples, and then add heat trap pipes

Keep insulation away from top of gas water heater.
Insulate both hot and cold pipes.
Larger image

33.  Electrically ground water heater pipes

Save cost of plumbing repairs/ gas and electric heaters
Water heaters that rust out quickly might be connected to water pipes that are not grounded.
Hot water pipes are not grounded in many homes. Read Pdf  
To get 'rid of stray current corrosion, jumper between hot and cold pipes with #6 solid copper wire. And check that cold water pipe is grounded to main panel and to grounding rod.
Read1  Read2 

Check that water heater is bonded to electrical ground: this action will prevent electrocution.
Example image on left shows
: ground wire, di-electric nipples, heat-traps, and pipe insulation
With gas water heater, keep insulation above top of tank
With electric water heater, pipes can be fully insulated
Attach vent hood to water heater using 3 sheet metal screws
Connect each vent join with 3 sheet metal screws
Read about low hot water pressure and clogged pipes
Ground clamps at Amazon
Ground clamps at Amazon
Ground clamp Amazon

Larger image
Image of shorted element

34. Prevent electrocution/ injury:

Family safety
Electrically ground gas and electric water heater
Check that water heater is bonded to electrical ground at main panel: this action will prevent electrocution.
Add a ground screw directely to metal tank, and run ground wire to grounding busbar on main panel.
Applies to gas and electric water heaters.
Many gas water heaters are connected to electrical outlet for power vent, or damper etc
Electric water heaters have ground screw. Make sure ground wire from main panel is connected to screw.
Attach ground wire from both hot and cold pipes to ground screw.
Shorts can occur if electric heating element touches anode rod, or if element cracks inside electric heating element.


Troubleshoot electric water heater
how to bond control panel

35. Ground all electrical devices to ground wire and to ground rod

Do not ground timers, motors, appliances, electric panel etc to water pipe:

Family safety/ extend life of water heater
Water heaters and metal water pipes corrode with stray current corrosion.
Modern pex water lines are not affected, and cannot be used as a ground.
When installing new water heater, water pipe, doing repairs on plumbing, installing new electric serive etc... check that all electric is connected to dedicated ground wire that is bonded to outdoor ground rod
Bonded means steel electric panel enclosure must be directly connected to local ground rod

Ground rod and clamps at Amazon
Bonding lugs

Why ground is important
Basic household wiring
See inside main breaker box
What is 3-phase electric
How to wire T100 series timers
How to wire Control centers
water heater circuit breaker

36. Electric water heater: use 30 amp breaker and 10 gauge wire

Save cost of replacing circuit breaker/ and main breaker panel
Use 30 amp breaker and 10 gauge wire on household 4500 watt water heater.
30 amp circuit runs cooler = less amp loss from heat = more efficient use of electricity
Circuit breaker and breaker box last longer
Color code for wire/ breaker size
How to replace circuit breaker
Figure volts amps for water heater
hot breaker

If circuit breaker is undersized, or if breakers feel warm

Fire safety/ cost of electric repairs
a) Install 3500 watt elements instead of 4500 watt elements.
Recovery is slower by 6 gallon per hour. Circuit breaker load is reduced. How to replace elenment
b) Convert water heater to 120Volt and draw 1/4 watts and amperage   How to convert to 120Volt
Related links:
How to repair: water heater is blowing breaker
Off-peak water heater ideas
Troubleshoot household electricity/ stress-test circuit breakers
Choose correct wire and breaker
How to replace circuit breaker

Flooded water heater

37.  Set water heater higher: avoid rising water.

Save cost of water heater replacement
Flooded heater will void warranty and manufacturers recommend replacement. 
Do not touch water heater that has been flooded, risk of electric shock. Make sure breakers are turned off before servicing. Most homes have ground wire connected to cold water pipe.
Flooded gas water heater can be risk of explosion and fire if put back into service. Malfunctioning gas control valve and gas that is not completely burned cause risk.
Read flooded water heater
Water heater leaking

38.  Inspect tank each 6 months for water leak

Save cost of water damage/ mold
Prevent leaks/ resources:
Read:  Leaking water heater
Read about anode rods
Avoid major damage to home caused by tank rupture and leaking..
Inspect water heater each 6 months.
Inspect and replace anode rod every 2 years. Read
Put drip pan under tank.
Use reinforced flexible connections.
Keep water pressure below 80 psi, or install expansion tank Read more
Drip pan
Drip pan saves damage
See drip pan installation
Water heater drip pans at Amazon
Water detectors at Amazon
Auto-shut-off valve at Amazon
Replace anode rod
Anode rods at Amazon

39.  Inspect anode rod: prevent rusted tank

Save $4 per month
How to Inspect Anode rod
Inspect every 1-3 years and increase life of water heater video read1 read2
Prevent leaks and early demise of heater
Anode rod prevents water heater from rusting.
Maintaining anode rod means water heater lasts longer, saving money.
Install 2 anode rods, and tank lasts longer. Two anodes can convert 6-year tank into 12 year tank.
Tanks needing frequent anode replacement might benefit from powered anode rod read.
Anode rods at Amazon

Water softener

Water softeners accelerate anode consumption because they eliminate the formation of scale in
the water heater tank Light scale formation in a water heater is desirable since it forms a barrier
film on the exposed steel surfaces in the tank such as pipe connections and weld areas.
Read AO Smith pdf
Clean sediment out of electric water heater
Efficiency of electric water heater can be fully restored
Efficiency of gas water heater cannot be restored

40. Understand Efficiency, Hard-water, and Water-softener


Storage-type Electric water heaters operate at 99% efficiency with or without water-softener, until sediment reaches bottom element. Full 99% efficiency can be restored to Electric storage heater by cleaning sediment out of tank. See how to clean electric Storage-type gas water heater operates at 69% efficiency. Tankless gas 79%. High-efficiency storage-type gas has 96% efficiency. All gas water heaters lose efficiency when hard water is not softened. Efficiency of gas water heaters cannot be fully restored by cleaning or de-liming. See how to clean gasAnode options   Read softener research pdf Hard water must be softened for gas water heater efficiency. However, soft-water is corrosive to anode rod. When water-softener is used, anode rod needs inspection every 2 years.

Repair tankless water heater
Avoid tankless promotion

41.  Avoid tankless water heater promotion.

All costs are energy: tankless computers do not save money
Saving money with tankless is highly questionable for average 4-person home. Read side-by-side test results  
All costs are energy. True cost includes monthly energy bill, cost of product, installation, softener-and-filter, maintenance, water consumption, disposal and replacement of water heater.
Read manual and ask questions. Recommended maintenance schedule will cost more than energy savings. Look at parts sheet and ask about repairs costs. Visit manufacturer's website for troubleshoot resources. Web search brand and model. Read1   Troubleshoot Rheem tankless Troubleshoot Bosch tankless

water heater tools
Do-it-yourself repairs

42.  Do it yourself repairs

Save $300-400 repair bill
Fix it yourself, and that saves money. Read product manual before you buy. Keep it simple.
Post your question on a pro water heater forum 1 2 3 4 5 6 Read product manual. Install gas water heater yourself |^| Install under-counter water heater |^|  Troubleshoot gas water heater |^| Troubleshoot electric water heater |^| Troubleshoot tankless. Visit water heater manufacturer website for manuals see list of manufacturers/brands.
Do-it-yourself resources

Electric water heater repair parts
Avoid 'resistorized' elements, 'lifetime' elements and other promotional gimmicks
Generic off-the-shelf elements and thermostats from hardware store work fine

Can you fix it yourself?

Generally: Heat pump, hybrid water, tankless heaters repairs are expensive, repairs are usually not do-it-yourself, since these water heaters are complicated electronic machines. These water heater are more expensive, and  generally cannot be maintained to last longer than 10-12 years. Repairs and replacement cost must factor into anticipated savings estimate, since one repair can wipe out years of manufacturer's claimed savings.
Tankless repairs are expensive. Warranty does not match promotion. Tankless are maintenance heavy. Anticipated savings shown in promo literature does not factor repais, maintenance and replacement.

Drain water heat recovery
Connect coil to cold water line

43. Drain-water heat recovery

Net savings undetermined
This idea possible if house has accessible drain system
Copper pipe or strap is wrapped around outgoing copper drain pipe to recapture hot water as it leaves house.
Recaptured heat is transferred to incoming cold water
Shower heat recovery estimated at 60% since heated shower water is draining same time new cold water is entering heater.
See pie chart  
Government energy site
See GFX heat exchanger video

drain water heat recovery
Coil or strap wraps tightly around copper drain line

How to make coil
Re purpose old water heater

44. Re-purpose old water heater

Support conservative causes and conserve resources
Recycle the metal
Use old tank to make tempering tank
Use old tank to make Solar collector

Temporary pressure gauge
Rainbird 200 psi pressure gauge
BTG 100 psi pressurte gauge at Amazon

pressure gauge
Permanent pressure gauge
Pressure gauges at Amazon

45. Avoid high water pressure over 80psi

Save cost of water heater replacement and plumbing repairs
Water pressure: Pressure over 80 psi can damage water heater
Read what kills water heaters
High pressure will also shorten life of plumbing fixtures, and cause washing machine hoses to rupture, etc.
Symptoms: TP valve goes bad frequently. Cause: Closed system because of check valve or faulty pressure valve, or community water problem or water well pressure set too high.
Test and diagnose TP valve problems
Connect BTG 100 pressure gauge to water heater drain valve to check pressure.
Install pressure reducing valve. Replace check valve. People with water well > turn down pressure on water well > save both hot and cold water, save electricity, and well equipment lasts longer.
How to test pressure
Pressure reducing valve

46. Pressure reducing valve

Save cost of water heater replacement and plumbing repairs
High pressure over 80psi can damage water heater and plumbing
Install expansion tank, and/or pressure reducing valve
Pressure reducing valve is installed on supply line to regulate and stabilize flow pressure

Pressure reducing valves
Pressure regulating valves at Amazon
Identify and repair water heater valves
expansion tank
Installed on cold water line
Expansion tanks at Amazon

expansion tank

47. Thermal expansion tank

Save cost of water heater replacement and plumbing repairs
Expansion tank is small safety device put on incoming cold water line to stop excessive expansion of pipes and tank caused when thermostat is set high.
High pressure damages tank and plumbing.
Also install pressure-reducing valve.
Read 1 3 4 5 Not normally installed with residential heaters. Expansion tank reduces risk of catastrophic water heater rupture leading to water damage and could prolong life of appliance. Expansion tank usually required with solar and solar-assisted systems

Expansion tanks at Amazon

Read about expansion tanks
Read about expansion tanks and closed system
Expansion Tank Installation pdf

Lightning strike
Digital controls and electronic gas controls can fail with surge

48. Protect water heater electronics with surge protector

Save cost of repair and replacement
Many new gas and electric water heaters plug into outlets that are not protected from surge. Gas controls must be replaced after surge event. Many water heaters have blowers and electronics, including digital controls that are not protected from surge. Water heaters are connect to water pipes that are affected when lightning strikes house. Solution: Install whole house surge All electronics should be protected by surge protector. Read water heater manual to see if water heater has electronic parts and would benefit from surge protection.
Water heaters that connect to electricity should have dedicated outlet with correct polarity and ground

See water heater electronics.
Whole house surge
Whole house surge protectors at Amazon
Belkin plug-in surge at Amazon
Raise water heater 18" off floor
Larger image
Water heater stands at Amazon

49.  Install gas water heater 18" off floor

Save property damage and avoid fire hazard avoid flammable vapors and flood damage.
Hydrocarbon vapors from gasoline, fuel and thinners stay low to ground.
Raising water heater will prevent flammable vapor ignition, and repairs if water heater goes into lockout.
Do not set gas water heater on carpet. Must be on wood or metal surface.  
Read how to troubleshoot gas water heater
Read about flooded water heater
Combustion air

50. Exterior air inlet for gas water heaters:

Undetermined savings
Conditions where outdoor air supply is needed
1 Sq in per 1000 BTU for air intake. Gas heaters draw air into combustion chamber as gas burns and heat goes up vent pipe. Air enters house through cracks from outside and works against heat and air conditioning. Gas heaters designed for high-output and fast-recovery will draw more air than typical gas heater. Tankless gas heaters also draw more air as they consume large amounts of gas to heat water as it passes in pipe. Lack of sufficient air causes 'recirculation of combustion product' causing CO risk to occupants. Consult product manual. Read PdfVentilating tight-house/ pdf  See illustration
Dusty environments

51.  Protect gas water heater 

Save water heater repairs and replacement
-Avoid dusty environment that will clog air intake, cause unburned fuel, and create fire hazard
-Do not install cold water line above gas valve where condensation drips on valve.  
-Annually clean burner area with wire brush and vacuum cleaner. read1 read2
Troubleshoot and clean gas water heater

-Remove chemicals from same room as water heater.
-Chemicals corrode water heater parts and vent pipe. 'Spray propellants, cleaning solvents, refrigerants, swimming pool chemicals, calcium and sodium chloride, household bleach, waxes and process chemicals are corrosive at very low levels with no odor." Read Bradford White Pdf pg2-8    Read Rheem pdf

Trace chemicals
flammable vapors

52. Do not expose gas water heater to flammable vapor 

Save loss of life and home. Save possible replacement of water heater.
Read1 about FVIR  Read2 about FVIR
This applies to gas water heaters and electric heat pump water heaters. 
Today's gas water heaters require more clean air, and no exposure to flammables.
Flammable vapor ignition retardation system is mandatory on gas water heaters due to casualty and property loss by insurance industry. Specific things cause FVIR to trip including poor air quality, bad vent, dirty conbustion parts, clogged air intake, and exposure to flammable vapors.
FVIR senses ignition of flammable vapor from solvent or fuel, and shuts access between flame and fuel. Thus preventing flashover or explosion that will save your life.
Flammable vapor event can require replacement of water heater.
Do not store gasoline in unapproved or open container.
Read household product labels for flammable warnings.
Turn off burner and pilot when using flammables
Gas safety cans at Amazon
close up water heater air intake

53. Keep arrestor screen clean 

Read about arrestor screen by brand water heater
Dirty air intake screen will cause FV lockout. Slower air means slower venting, yet same amount of gas is burned, causing overheated combustion chamber, and FV trips.
Read water heater manual for advisories  Read2  Water heater precautions
How to install gas water heater

54. Keep air intake clean - gas heater

Save water heater repairs and replacement
Some gas water heaters have air intake located on bottom of heater. 
Set this heater on bricks so air intake can be cleaned.
Read manual thoroughly. 
Clean air intake frequently.
Keep water heater area free of lint, chemicals and solvents that clog air intake or cause deterioration of combustion parts or trip FVIR.
Read water heater safety precautions
Clean air intake
How to clean air intake frequently
Exploded house

55. Water heater safety precautions

Save property damage and avoid fire
Prevent loss and damage
Leave home immediately if you smell gas
Water heater precautions
How to install gas water heater

Solar heat

56. Re-think home layout

Save $5 per month
Locate hot water usage points near water heater.
Locate showers and baths next to water heater, while toilets that use no hot water can be farther away.
Avoid garden-sized or over-sized bathtubs that require bigger water heater.

Kitchen should face south to take advantage of nearby passive solar heater since lunch & dinner occur at times when solar water heat is most abundant.

$100,000 small house design that uses .88 cents per day energy
 Must read
Gary Klein research pdf  Must read
How to make passive solar water heater
Heat pump water heater

57. Heat pump water heater integrated with refrigerator

Modest home has 88 cent energy bill
Real science at work that you can apply.
Heat from refrigerator re-used in water heater
Water heater uses refrigerator heat
Low-energy home uses heat pump integrated with heat from kitchen refrigerator pg9

Research shows savings potential.
Hybrids require maintenance.
Repairs are not DIY generally
Repairs are expensive, and eliminate predicted saving potential.
For warm climates only
Must be installed in 10' x 10' room
Read manual before purchase.
    Heat pump water heaters and other new ideas
Review GE heat pump water heater
Review water heaters
Solar water heat

58. Solar water heat is efficient use of solar energy.

Save $40 per month
Tomorrow's homes will have solar water heaters. Use old water heater tank. Start today.
Set 2 gallons water in sun to wash dinner dishes.
Read long list of ideas
Hawaii requires all new homes to have solar water heaters.
California offers incentives for solar installation read1.
Congressional bill aims for 200,000 rooftop solar water heaters read3
Buy DIY solar collector 2'x2'
Questions you should ask before buying factory-made solar water heating system
Make DIY solar water heater
Convert AC water heater into DC water heater

Geothermal heat
Larger image

59. Geothermal 

Unknown savings
Ideas 1 2 3 4 5 6 7  Geothermal self-help forum

Federal energy tax credits
Geothermal can be from volcanic heat.
Or from local ground temperatures.
All water that enters home in underground pipe is geothermally heated.
Incoming cold water causes water heater to run more. See chart
Average groundwater temperature
Average ground water temp
Greenhouse gas
Larger image
Original image: death of a planet '97

60. Understand greenhouse gas

Be conservative and save the earth
Burning hydrocarbon fuel produces acidic water, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone
      Breathe this and die. A = B
      Reduce consumption today using this webpage.
Natural gas: 84,470 BTU produces 1 pound of carbon dioxide
Propane gas: 62,893 BTU produces 1 pound of carbon dioxide
Coal (electricity): 47,780 BTU produces 1 pound of carbon dioxide
Electric water heaters produce more carbon :
There are more gas water heaters than electric.
Carbon from generating electricity is centralized at power plant
Gas water heaters, and gas appliances release carbon from vent stack located at each home and business.
Carbon footprint calculator
Low Nox (nitrous oxide) water heaters
Solar water heating ideas
Water heater manual

61. Save and read product manual

Save $4 per month, save $300-400 repair bill
Read everything in manual.
Record date of purchase and warranty period
Follow maintenance schedule and installation advisories
Manual will save money and heater will last longer.

    1)  Read about anode rods
    2)  Read about stray current corrosion
    3)  How to flush water heater
    4) Water heater safety precautions
    5) Find manual: Water heater manufacturers
           E-mail and I might have manual posted:
    6) Warranties
    7) Best gas water heater

Additional Links

How to install gas water heater

Leaking water heater

Troubleshoot gas water heater

Troubleshoot tankless water heater

Troubleshoot electric water heater

Flooded water heater
Gas water heater vent pipe
How to remove old element


Cost to operate gas and electric water heaters
Small water heater
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Chart for setting water heater timer
How electric water heater works

Pro n con tankess

Drink American Beer
How to make a still/ book
Beer books at Amazon

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Intermatic timers and manuals

Low Water Pressure

How to replace circuit breaker

Digi timers

How to adjust water heater temperature and read error codes

How to wire Cooper 277

FVIR flammable vapor

Power anode rod

Do it yourself water heater

How to install a subpanel

Compare 120 Volts and 240 Volts

Drop electric wire inside wall

Basic water heater circuit

Replace anode rod

P1353 pool timer
Gas and electric water heaters Support the economy:
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