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Grilling Safety: Propane BBQ Edition

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Grilled food can really hit the spot on nice Arizona days. Before you use your BBQ, make sure that you keep these grilling safety tips in mind. This helps ensure that you and your family can enjoy grilled dinners without any trouble.

Store Propane Tanks Properly

Grilling safety involves storing propane tanks properly. Tanks for gas grills can easily become a hazard. Store these tanks in a vertical and upright position. Also make sure they are kept far away from any heat or ignition sources, such as lighters or matches. If you have a gas line for your grill, you don’t have to deal with propane tanks at all.

Turn the Grill on Safely

Another important grilling safety tip is to make sure that you turn the grill on correctly. This involves opening the lid and turning the propane on. After this is done, turn the knobs for the burners, then push the ignition. Doing this the right way lowers the risk of fires and other accidents.

Never Use Lighter Fluid

Never use lighter fluid to ignite a gas grill. Lighter fluid is a major fire hazard when it isn’t used properly. You will avoid having to worry about this if you have a gas grill with its own natural gas line installed.

Check for Leaks

Gas leaks can occur when you use propane tanks for your grill. You should check for leaks by putting a solution of water and light soap on the gas tank hose. If you see bubbles, this means you have a gas leak that needs to be fixed by a professional right away. Grills with a gas line have a lower risk of ending up with these leaks.

Don’t Reignite Right Away

If your grill doesn’t ignite, don’t light it again right away. You could have gas in the air that needs time to clear out. Lighting it again immediately could result in a fire and serious injuries. Wait for 5 minutes before you try to ignite your gas grill again.

Keep Your Grill Clean

Grilling safety includes making sure that your gas grill stays in good condition. Grease and other debris can build up over time, which can increase the risk of a fire. Clean debris off your grill and from the tray under it. You should wait for your grill to cool before cleaning it. Getting into the habit of doing this after using your grill each time means you won’t have to scrape a lot of debris off later on.

Turn Your Grill Off Properly

When it comes to grilling safety, it’s important to ensure that you turn your grill off the right way. This reduces the risk of injuries and accidents. You’ll need to turn the gas tank off before shutting off the gas burners. Make sure that your propane cylinder valve is fully closed to prevent gas from leaking. With a gas line grill, all you have to do is shut it off without having to deal with any tanks.

If you’re ready to install a gas line for your grilling area, contact Forrest Anderson. We can ensure that this is done properly for your safety.

Why does a new hot water heater cost so much?

In recent years, a new hot water heater became a little more expensive. New energy guidelines are the biggest reason for the price increase. In the short run, this means a new water heater purchased after April 2015 will cost more. In the long run, you could be saving money on your utility bill.

Heating water is the second largest energy expense in most homes. It’s no surprise that purchasing a new hot water heater that follows strict energy guidelines can save you money on your utility bills while being better for the earth. According to the Department of Energy, one of the reasons the manufacturing and design guidelines were updated was to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

If you’re in the market for a new hot water heater, consider the impacts of the Department of Energy’s requirements. While your new heater may be better for conservation, the heater itself may change in terms of size and cost.

Size of the Water Heater

While the size of your new hot water heater may not increase the price tag too much, it can impact the location your unit will fit. Many homeowners have just enough space set aside for their existing heater. Unfortunately, some of the new water heaters may increase in size by a few inches in diameter. This could cause you to have to relocate your heater if it doesn’t fit where your old one sits. Talk to your plumber before you purchase a new unit to make sure it will work in your space.

Manufacturing Costs

Unfortunately, new standards often bring higher price tags. Energy-saving technology is great for the environment and can even save you some money on your utility bill. However, it will cost more upfront.

Depending on your unit’s brand, model, size, and maintenance, it could take anywhere from two to ten years to offset the price tag of a super-efficient model. Talk with your plumber to determine if the energy savings outweigh the price tag.

Plan for Your Purchase

If you have a space for your old water tank and you know the new tank isn’t going to fit, you’ll need to do one of the following options:

  1. Make your space bigger, if possible.
  2. Downsize your water heater tank size.
  3. Relocate your new hot water heater somewhere else in your home.

Talk to your plumber to determine which option makes the most sense. Depending on the size of your family and the layout of your home, some options may be more suitable than others. For example, a family of two could get away with using a smaller tank size than a family of six.

Consider What You’re Getting

Water heaters are becoming more advanced. Just because you had one installed a decade ago, doesn’t mean a new one will work the same way. You will need to:

  • Learn how to operate your new hot water heater.
  • Hire a plumber to install your heater safely and correctly.

Although a new hot water heater is an expensive purchase, consider what you’re getting. You probably don’t think about how much you rely on hot water until it breaks down. From taking a nice hot bath to washing your hands with warm water and from doing a load of laundry to running your dishwasher, hot water is a modern-day convenience many of us don’t go a day without using.

If you have questions or are ready to schedule the installation of your new hot water heater, contact Forrest Anderson.

How to maintain a new water heater

If you recently had to buy a new water heater, then you know how costly they can be. The good news is that with regular maintenance and inspection, you can make sure your purchase lasts as long as possible. Keep the following tips in mind for maintaining a water heater.

New Water Heater Life Expectancy

Water heaters can last for several years with regular maintenance and inspection. According to manufacturers, conventional water heaters have a life expectancy of eight to 12 years. Tankless water heaters can last as long as 20 years.

Whether you can’t remember when you purchased your water heater or you just moved into a new home and are unsure of the age of your unit, Forrest Anderson can help. Give us a call and share your make, model, and serial number and we’ll be able to find the year for you.

Conventional Water Heater Maintenance

Water heaters with a tank are also called conventional water heaters. They require maintenance tasks from time to time; otherwise, your water heater won’t be able to do its job. You’ll also have a higher chance of it breaking down without proper care.

Adjust the Temperature

One way to monitor your conventional water heater is by adjusting the temperature setting from time to time. If your unit is in your garage, it probably doesn’t need to be set as high in August, since the outdoor temperature will naturally warm your unit. Lowering the temperature on your heater can save you money on energy costs. As the temperature cools off, you’ll want to make sure your heater’s temperature remains in a safe zone, so your water isn’t so hot that it scalds you.

Drain the Heater

Most manufacturers recommend draining your water heater at least once per year. This cleans out any sediments or minerals that are inside the tank. The draining process involves shutting off the water supply to your heater and using a hose to drain it. If you’re unsure of how to do this, it’s a good idea to let a professional plumber do it for you. While they’re at your house, they can inspect any plumbing issues you may be having as well.

Inspect the Pressure Relief Valve

Once a year, you should have your water heater’s pressure relief valve inspected. A plumber can quickly check to see if there’s a leak. Fixing this is as easy as replacing the valve.

Maintain Clearance

You can do your part in taking care of your new water heater by making sure that there’s enough open space around it. How much space depends on your unit. Most gas water heaters require at least two feet of service clearance. Electric water heaters may not have a minimum clearance requirement. However, there may be codes that recommend workspace clearance. Your plumber will review the manufacturer’s recommendations in the instruction manual as well as follow any local requirements.

Replace the Anode Rod

Your anode rod helps prevent your water heater from rusting. A plumber should check this every three years to determine whether or not your heater needs a new rod. If it’s worn out, covered with calcium deposits, or damaged, your plumber will recommend replacement. This will help your tank continue to run at its optimal level.

Tankless Water Heater Maintenance

Although tankless water heaters don’t hold gallons of water like their conventional counterparts, they still require regular maintenance.

Regular Descaling

Tankless water heaters can have mineral buildup, which can affect their life expectancy. This is common in areas that have hard water. Descaling is an important maintenance task that removes mineral buildup. Hiring a plumber to handle this job helps ensure that the buildup is fully removed.

Flush the Heater

When you have a new water heater, you’ll need to flush it from time to time. Flushing a tankless water heater helps keep it in good condition for years by clearing out any scaling or sediments. Since this process involves turning off power and water, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. During their visit, they can also check your fans, filtration, vents, and other components.

Routine Maintenance

Just like regularly changing your vehicle’s oil prolongs the life of your car, proper water heater maintenance can lead to longer functioning as well. If it’s time to schedule maintenance for your new water heater, contact Forrest Anderson today.

What is a hot water recirculating system?

Depending on the size of your home and the distance between your water heater and your faucets, there may be a delay before hot water reaches you. If you find yourself waiting for a few minutes every morning while your shower water heats up, you may want to consider a hot water recirculating system.

The EPA estimates that a standard showerhead uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute. That means if you run your water for three minutes while you wait for it to heat up each morning, you’re wasting 2,737 gallons of water per year! Now, multiply that by the number of people in your family. That’s a LOT of wasted water!

What is a Hot Water Recirculating System?

Think about how your existing plumbing works. When you turn on your faucet, the cold water in your pipes flows out first. While you wait for the hot water to move from your water heater to the faucet, the cold water flows down your drain, unused. In addition to wasting water, this process also wastes money.

A hot water recirculating system moves water through your pipes so hot water is available immediately. This can save you a lot of money on your water bill since you won’t be running it while you wait for the water to warm up.

If you don’t like the idea of flushing your money down your pipes, consider installing a hot water recirculating system.

Types of Recirculating Systems

Before you take the leap and call your plumber to schedule installation, consider the types of systems available to you.

Dedicated Loop

This system requires the plumber to mount a circulation pump on the pipe of your existing water heater. Then, a hot water pipe is installed in a loop throughout your home, going near each of your plumbing fixtures.

Your plumber will install a small pipe to connect the loop to the hot water valve at each plumbing fixture in your home. When you turn on your faucet, hot water will be immediately available.

Integrated Loop

Integrated loop hot water recirculating systems can be retrofitted into your existing system or installed during new construction. This system has a pump that a plumber installs under the farthest plumbing fixture from your water heater. It has a built-in sensor that switches the pump on when the water drops below 85 degrees. The pump will automatically shut off when the water temperature hits 95 degrees. Some newer systems are adjustable to a homeowner’s preference, between 77 and 104 degrees.

Benefits of a Hot Water Recirculating System

Many homeowners install this system for the joy of having hot water instantly available. Imagine turning on your shower and being able to step in right away, without a jolt of ice cold water. Or, turning on the faucet and washing your hands with comfortably warm water right away. It may seem like a luxury, but it’s within reach with a recirculating system.

Another reason people install these systems in their homes is that it lowers their water waste. Living in the desert is a constant reminder that water is a valuable resource.

In addition to wasting water and money, waiting for hot water is also a waste of your time. If you spend three minutes each morning waiting for your shower water to heat up and three minutes each night waiting for the sink water to be warm enough to wash your face, you’re waiting for warm water six minutes each day. That’s 2,190 minutes a year. That’s 36.5 hours; or, one day, 12 hours, and 30 minutes spent waiting! Imagine what you could do with an extra day and a half.

Talk to the Professionals

Whether you want to help the earth and conserve water or you love the idea of having hot water available instantly, these systems are a great way to accomplish your goal. If you aren’t sure whether or not a hot water recirculating system would work in your home, contact Forrest Anderson to learn more.

7 commercial water heating tips

Reliable commercial water heating is essential for your business. Your hot water supply needs to maintain the right quality and stability for customers and employees. When it’s time to select a new commercial water heater, consider the following factors.

Choose the Right Type of Water Heater

Commercial water heating systems are available in storage and tankless options. Storage water heaters have a tank that holds a certain number of gallons of heated water. Tankless water heaters use a heat exchanger to warm up water on demand.

The type that would work best for your company depends on certain factors, such as how much space you have and how often customers and employees use hot water. Keep in mind that there are also different models available for each type of water heater. For example, some storage water heaters run on gas, while others run on electricity.

Select the Right Heating Source

Commercial water heating systems can run using different heating sources. Some of these include electricity, gas, propane, oil, and heat pumps.

  • Electric and gas are the more commonly used heating sources.
  • Propane and oil are usually only used when a gas source isn’t available.
  • Heat pumps offer improved efficiency compared to other heating sources. These use heat pulled from the air to warm up water.

Consider Your Budget

Installation and maintenance costs for commercial water heating systems can vary greatly. In general, storage water heaters tend to cost less initially. Tankless water heater installation is usually higher; however, the energy efficiency savings may offset the price.

You’ll also want to consider maintenance and repair costs. Tankless water heaters generally need less maintenance over the years. It’s also easier to replace a damaged part, rather than replacing the whole unit, like a storage water heater usually requires.

Talk to a plumber to learn more about the typical installation, maintenance, and repairs costs of the units you’re comparing.

Find the Right Size

How much hot water does your building need on a regular basis? Determining this can help you figure out how large your water heater should be. One that’s too small won’t provide employees and customers with enough hot water. A water heater that’s too big will end up costing you more money.

Determine How Much Space You Have

Storage water heaters require more space than tankless water heaters. If you have limited space, a tankless water heater might turn out to be a better option. These commercial water heaters need a much smaller amount of space than storage water heaters.

Compare Energy Efficiency

Commercial water heating systems vary greatly when it comes to energy efficiency. Energy efficient water heaters will likely cost more upfront, but can save your business money on utility bills over time.

Tankless water heaters typically provide greater efficiency than storage water heaters, since they only heat water when customers or employees need it. On the other hand, storage water heaters keep a steady supply of hot water available. Since tankless commercial water heating systems only run when they need to, they cut down on your energy usage.

Look into Water Heater Lifespans

Not all commercial water heating systems last the same amount of time. With proper maintenance, tankless water heaters can last around 20 years. Storage heaters typically last about ten years. A longer lifespan means you won’t have to worry about replacing your water heater as frequently.

If you have any questions about commercial water heating, contact Forrest Anderson.

The pros and cons of tankless water heaters

Whether you’re building a new home or it’s time to replace your existing water heater, you have a lot of choices to consider. Tankless water heaters offer some great advantages, such as size and energy efficiency. Before you decide if it’s the right option for you, weigh the pros and cons of installing this type of water heater.

What are tankless water heaters?

Conventional water heaters warm water in a tank and maintain the temperature. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, only heat water when you need it. Electric coils or gas-fired burners take care of this task. The water heats up as it passes through the unit.

Tankless water heaters are available as whole-house or point-of-use units. A whole-house unit will heat the water for your entire home. A point-of-use option heats water for a specific area, such as a soaker bathtub or shower. Some options are so small you can put them under your sink.

Pro: Improved Energy Efficiency

A conventional water heater has to continue using energy to keep the stored tank of water at a particular temperature. Tankless water heaters only use energy to heat water when you need it. So, if you’re taking a shower or running a load of laundry, the heater will turn on and only use as much energy as it needs to heat the water you’re using. This lower use of energy can reduce your utility bill.

Pro: Less Space Required

Traditional water heaters take up more space in your garage or utility room compared to tankless water heaters. Traditional units have a big tank that’s needed to store enough water for your household’s average hot water needs. A tankless unit doesn’t need to store large amounts of hot water, so the tank can be significantly smaller.

Con: Higher Installation Costs

Installing tankless water heaters can cost more than a conventional water heater. The costs can increase even more if your home isn’t set up to support them. Weigh the overall cost of the unit and installation with the energy usage savings to see if it’s worth it. A plumber will be able to give you a general estimate of how much it will cost to install either type of unit.

Con: Potential Hot Water Flow Delays

When you have a tankless water heater, you might experience slight delays until the hot water starts flowing. Since the water is being continuously heated while you use it, you won’t have a big supply of hot water available right away. If you typically do multiple tasks that require hot water at the same time, such as take a long shower, run the dishwasher, and run a load of laundry, talk to a plumber to determine if this option will provide enough hot water for your needs.

Deciding which type of water heater to install can be confusing. From pricing to sizes, there’s no shortage of specs to review. If you’re ready to install a tankless water heater or need help deciding what’s right for your home, contact Forrest Anderson today.

Size Matters for a New Water Heater

As a homeowner, you know that nothing in your home lasts forever. Things break; appliances need to be replaced. This is the same with your water heater. If you’re in the market for a new water heater, we have some suggestions about what to look for and how to go about making a smart choice.

To Tank or Not to Tank

Perhaps the first question you’ll have to answer before purchasing your new water heater is if you would rather go with the traditional storage tank variety or opt instead for a tankless version.

Tank water heaters are more popular than tankless, and you can choose the size based on your needs. Hot water is heated and stored in a tank new water heater, ready when you need it. The options range in size from 10 gallons and up, and the bigger is better for more people in the home. You’ll also want to make your choice based on recovery rate: how fast the tank refills. If you need hot water for a large amount of time, you could potentially deplete the tank of hot water and only have cold water.

Tankless water heaters heat the water as you need it. The water passes through a series of coils to heat it as it heads to its destination. Most tankless new water heaters can heat up to 3.5 gallons of water per minute. This is a more energy efficient option than a tank variety, although it might not be the best choice if you need to deliver hot water to more than one location simultaneously.

What’s Your Fuel Source?

Your next consideration is how you’ll be powering your new water heater. Many newer homes are all electric, whereas older homes may also have gas. Most water heaters use electricity, natural gas, or propane gas, and some are solar powered. If you have the availability to choose your power source, experts often suggest opting for natural gas. Although a new water heater will be a little more expensive when it’s gas powered, the cost savings will pay for itself in the long run.

Naturally, solar-powered water heaters are even more energy- and cost-efficient than natural gas, but the upfront cost is substantial. For purchase and installation, you can expect to invest $4,000 to $5,000 for a solar new water heater. This is in comparison with $1,000 to $2,600 for gas and $950 to $2,500 for electric.

With the negligible difference in costs between electric and gas, the energy savings from the gas option will cover that couple hundred extra dollars in the first year.

Consider How Much Space You Have

In a large home with ample garage storage for a new water heater, you could go with a large-capacity tank variety. A small home where the water heater lives in a closet, will ultimately limit the tank capacity selection.

You can categorize water heaters as either tall or short. Taller heaters can be up to 76″ tall and hold up to 100 gallons of water. A short water heater is only 30–49″ tall and holds 50 gallons of water. The latter option is good where space is an issue, particularly height.

Ready to Choose Your New Water Heater?

If it’s time to buy your new water heater, you have some research to do. Tank or tankless, electric or gas, and short or tall are just some of the questions you’ll have as you begin your shopping adventure.

If you have questions about which water heater is right for your home, trust the professionals at Forrest Anderson. We’ve installed thousands of new water heaters for our customers, and we can provide direction to get the best option for you. Contact us to learn more.

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Benefits of a Recirculation Pump on Your Water Heater

It doesn’t get cold in the Phoenix area too often, but when it does, most of us don’t tolerate it well. On those chilly mornings, we want hot coffee and a hot shower—pronto!

There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting several minutes for the shower to get hot.

Luckily, there’s something that can solve the cold-water issue: a recirculation pump.

What Is a Recirculation Pump?

A recirculation pump is an easily installed device that fits at the point of water distribution to provide instant hot water.
The pump does this by slowly pumping hot water through the pipes and back to the water heater, either through a dedicated line or the cold water line. Depending on the option you choose, the pump can run continuously or just when you turn it on and need the hot water.

Benefits of a Recirculation Pump

The most obvious benefit of using a recirculation pump is that you don’t have to wait for hot water to make its way to the fixture. By not running gallons and gallons of water down the drain waiting for the water to heat you will save money on your water bill.

Make Your Recirculation Pump Work Smarter

Be wary of using too much energy in your attempt to keep the water hot. Thankfully, there are a few ways to improve the efficiency of your recirculation pump.

Put the pump on a timer.

There are certain times of the day when you’re more likely to want hot water. Such when you’re getting ready for work and school. You can schedule the pump to only work when it’s needed, thereby reducing excess energy needs

Try a hot water demand pump.

A hot water demand pump might be your best choice to meet your desire for instant hot water while helping to maintain energy use. In this scenario, the water pump only comes on when you trigger it, usually by a button or motion sensor.

Then the pump turns on when triggered and off automatically when hot water reaches the fixture. The only energy you spend is on the heating of the water, which by some estimates is $1 a year in extra electricity.

Should You Get a Recirculation Pump?

There are two excellent reasons to invest in a recirculation pump: if you have a large home or a tankless water heater. In a large home, water needs to travel a longer distance to get from the water heater to the fixture you’re using, so that can take some time.
With a tankless water heater does not store hot water. The water heats when needed, adding time for the temperature to be just how you like it.

If you are in the market for a recirculation pump, talk to the experts at Forrest Anderson. We will discuss your options and install the best pump for you.

After all, why suffer through a cold shower if you don’t need to?

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Hot Water Problems

On a cold morning, not much feels better than a hot shower. When the air temperature drops, it takes forever for the water temperature to increase. You turn on the shower, grab your clothes, brush your teeth, and make the bed, yet the water has just warmed up. Why is that? Do you have hot water problems?

There are four main reasons your hot water could be running slowly:

  1. The distance between the heater and the final destination
  2. The diameter of the pipe
  3. Flow rate of the fixture
  4. How much heat the cold pipes siphon off during the water’s journey

Length of Pipes

Unlike architecture, plumbing doesn’t follow a set structure. Instead, the layout is at the whim of the installer. Your water could have quite the journey from the water heater to your faucets.

While your home may not even be that big, it’s a more direct route for you to walk from the heater to the bathroom than for the pipes to travel through the walls. So if it’s 30 feet for you, it might be 50 feet for the pipes.

Diameter of Pipes

Two variables determine the speed at which water flows from the heater to its destination: the amount of water and pipe diameter. And that flow rate is usually determined by the flow rate of the faucet of the fixture.

For the speed of the water, the building codes limit water velocity in the piping. The limit is set from five to eight feet per second to prevent erosion of the pipe and fittings.

Let’s say you set your water for 40 psi, and you have ½” diameter copper pipes that have 100 feet to cover. The water would have a flow rate of higher than six gallons per minute and a velocity of more than 10 feet per second.

That means it will take five seconds for hot water to reach your shower, which is fast! However, old pipes may not be quite as efficient, and you’re left waiting minutes instead of seconds for a hot shower.

Flow Rate at the Fixture

The flow rate of bathroom sink fixtures is limited to one gallon per minute or less. Showerheads run at one gallon per minute. If that’s the case, it will take your hot water 32 seconds to travel through 50 feet of pipes.

The Federal Energy Policy Act of 1992 required all faucet and shower fixtures to have a flow rate of no higher than 2.2 gallons per minute at 60 psi. The pipes have a higher flow rate, but the fixture flow rate limits water velocity.

Heat Siphoned by Cold Pipes

During the winter, pipes are just going to be colder and absorb the heat from your water. The slower the heat travels and the heavier the pipe material, the more heat absorbed.

This is why it feels like hot water takes forever to get to where you want it during the colder months. The time it takes for hot water to travel to the fixture can easily double due to the heat loss in the pipes.

So How Do You Get Hot Water Faster?

The fastest way to increase the speed of your hot water would be to install a recirculation system.

If you’re experiencing a delay in getting hot water to your sink or shower, contact the plumbing experts at Forrest Anderson. We can troubleshoot issues and provide some solutions that might work for your unique situation.

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