Fire is the oldest way to heat water, dating all the way back to before the advent of electricity and running water. Gas hot water heaters still use this technology, albeit in a more sophisticated fashion.
These heaters are effective and can be a good investment when renovating your home or building new. But it’s also important to consider a few things first – here’s what to know.
A gas hot water heater collects cold water in a large tank and heats it to a preset temperature by essentially boiling the water on a gas burner at the bottom of the tank.
As the water gets hotter, it rises to the top where it’s siphoned off to wherever warm water is being demanded. Cold water constantly enters the tank at the bottom, providing a relatively even exchange when small amounts of water are used.
Gas hot water heaters have a number of benefits, including but not limited to:
- No reliance on electricity. If your electricity goes out, your water will still be hot since your tank is warmed by a natural gas-fueled flame.
- Faster heating for less money. Gas heaters can warm your water twice as fast as traditional electric tank water heaters and for less cost too.
- Lower annual operating costs. Heating large amounts of water using gas is generally less expensive on an ongoing basis than using electricity to do the same.
Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages to gas-powered water heaters too, like:
- Higher upfront cost. Gas water heaters typically cost more to have installed than electric hot water heaters.
- Gas water heaters take time to refill. Unlike tankless hot water heaters, gas heaters must refill and warm back up when all the water is used. This means after long showers or running laundry in hot water, you may need to wait a few minutes to an hour before using the next batch of water.
- Gas heaters are more dangerous. Because gas hot water heaters use fossil fuels and have an open flame, they’re inherently more dangerous than electric and tankless hot water heater options. While minor, there’s always a risk of leaks or explosions when gas is used as a heating element.
Gas hot water heaters require regular maintenance to stay in good condition and reliably heat your water when you need it.
This includes regularly checking your thermostat to make sure it’s set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below and testing the pressure relief valve to confirm it’s working properly. This valve is critical for monitoring the water pressure inside your tank and making sure it doesn’t exceed recommended levels.
You’ll also want to flush the sediment out of your tank at least once a year or every six months as needed or recommended by your Boston water heater specialist.
If your gas water heater tank is full but your water isn’t hot, the gas burner may have gone out. If this happens, you will need to replace it.
Usually, you don’t have to turn your gas water heater off when you leave the house. It’s rarely an issue to leave an appliance with a pilot light running, unless it will be abandoned for several weeks or more.
If you do turn your heater off while you’re gone, remember that you’ll need to relight the pilot light when you return. Then, you’ll need to wait for the entire tank to heat up before you have access to hot water.
How big your gas water heater should be depends on several things, including how large your home or business is, what you’ll be using the heater primarily for, and how many people you anticipate will need to use the heater.
A small tank holds around 50 to 60 gallons of water, while a medium size tank holds about 80 gallons. Larger tanks are available and are more appropriate for large families of six or more people.
Get Professional Help With Your Gas Water Heater From N.E.T.R., Inc.
At N.E.T.R., Inc., our experienced water heater technicians can help with your gas heater installation or troubleshooting needs. Call us today for more information at (781) 933-6387 or contact us using our short online form and we’ll get right back to you.