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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.

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.

Benefits of a tankless water heater in the restaurant business

If you manage or own a restaurant, you know that without a steady supply of hot water, you’d be out of business. Have you considered installing a tankless water heater? These heaters are useful in a variety of commercial settings.

There are many reasons why restaurants are using tankless water heaters. They’re a great option because they offer a steady supply of hot water for operations such as kitchen sinks, dishwashers, laundry machines, bathrooms, and more. Here are a few other reasons why restaurants are choosing tankless water heaters to meet their needs.

Avoid Downtime

Avoiding downtime in your restaurant is key to providing quality customer service. If your dishwasher runs out of hot water, it’ll instantly slow down your business, since you’ll run out of clean dishes to serve food. When your business depends on hot water, you simply can’t afford to run out of it.

A tankless water heater supplies endless hot water. The burners heat the water that flows through the unit. This means you’re only heating the water you need, when you need it. You could run your dishwashers and faucets constantly, and not worry about running out of hot water.

Conserve Energy

A tankless water heater only consumes energy when there is a need for hot water. A conventional storage tank, on the other hand, is continuously using energy to keep a reserve of hot water. According to manufacturers, replacing your old unit with a tankless water heater can yield up to a 30% savings on the water heating portion of your utility bill.

Save Space

Traditional water heater tanks are large contraptions that take up a lot of room. If you’re trying to minimize the amount of space your heater uses, a tankless water heater is worth checking out. Not only are they smaller than a traditional water heater, they’re also lightweight and can be wall mounted. You can have a tankless system installed in an inconspicuous place, such as a utility closet, basement, or even outside.

Maintenance Needs and Costs

Maintaining your water heater is important, whether you have a tankless or conventional unit. This can help prolong the life of your heater as well as prevent costly repairs. The good news about a tankless water heater is that if something goes wrong, many of the individual parts of the unit can be repaired or replaced. Compared to replacing a conventional water heater, this can save you a lot of money.

Maintaining a tankless water heater takes a little effort and requires the help of a professional. The team at Forrest Anderson is ready to help you care for your unit. We can:

  • Flush your system. The harder the water in your area, the more frequently you’ll need your unit flushed.
  • Clean and descale the inside of the unit. Regular cleaning will extend the life of your tankless water heater.
  • Clean the vents. Vents that are clear of debris and dust will allow the unit to function properly.

If you already have a tankless water heater, you know the benefits the system can bring. We’re here to help you maintain your unit and get the most out of it. If you haven’t taken the plunge yet and you’re wondering if installing a tankless system would be right for your restaurant business, contact Forrest Anderson today.

Maintaining a Water Heater

So there you are at the end of a long day. You’re all set to take a nice relaxing shower and go to bed. Maintaining a water heater is essential to making your nightly plan a reality. Proper care will prolong the life of the unit and take away any unwanted surprises. Take some time to make sure your water heater runs like new. Here is a helpful guide to maintaining a water heater to save both time and money.

Maintaining a Water Heater Step 1: Drain Your Hot Water Tank

One of the best ways to make sure your water heater stays at peak efficiency is to drain and flush the tank annually. By doing this you will be able to remove any sediments that have built up over the year.

  1. Before you get started with this essential step to maintaining a water heater, you need to make sure your heater is off. For electric heaters, you need to shut off the electricity, and for gas heaters, you need to turn the gas valve to the off position.
  2. Before draining the water to the tank, you first need to turn off the cold water supply. Next, attach a piece of garden hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank. Finally, open the pressure release valve and let the tank drain.
  3. Once your water tank is empty, turn on the cold water supply. This will flush out any remaining sediment. Once it is all gone, close the drain valve and allow the tank to fill back up.
  4. Before turning the power back on, make sure the tank is completely full. Turning electricity on too early might force you to replace your upper heating element. With a gas heater, you need to remember to re-light the pilot.

Maintaining a water heater is essential to keeping your home in tip-top shape. This important step will demonstrate how smoothly this piece of equipment can run when taken care of properly.

Maintaining a Water Heater Step 2: Adjust the Temperature

The right temperature for your water heater is often a matter of preference. However, when setting the temperature of your water heater keep in mind that hot water can burn or scold you. This is especially important if there are children in your home.

There is a temperature dial on the side of your water heater. This dial should be set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit for the best performance. To adjust the setting, all you need is a flathead screwdriver. Remove the cover to the temperature gauge and turn the screw until it indicates the correct setting. You also want to remember to turn the heat off if you are going to be away from your home for more than three days. This will save you energy costs as well as prolong the life of your heater.

Maintaining a Water Heater Step 3: When to Call a Professional

Maintaining your water heater is great for the well-being of your home. In addition to learning what you can do on your own, it is also essential to know when you need to call a professional. Your water heater is an expensive appliance and you should never attempt to fix something that needs an expert’s touch. Here is a list of warning signs you should look for.

  • Leaks from the tank or valves
  • Odd smells or odors
  • No hot water

Maintaining a hot water heater does not have to be stressful. As long as you know what to do and look for, this is one appliance that will last you a very long time. If you find yourself with any questions or concerns, contact us. We are always happy to help.

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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How to Light Your Water Heater Pilot

Things around the home fail from time to time. Bulbs and batteries need replacing and drainpipes need cleaning. But what about when your water gets cold?

If you have a gas water heater with a flame driven pilot light, the fix can be as simple as re-lighting your water heater pilot.

While you certainly could call a plumber, for most homeowners, this is an easy-to-do DIY task you can complete on your own.

First, Check the Pilot

Before you start fixing things, you need to be sure that an unlit pilot light is an actual issue. Look at your water heater, near the bottom, for an access panel. Remove that to see if there is a small flame burning. If not, the pilot light has gone out, and you’ve found your problem.

Most newer models of water heaters don’t use a flame to ignite gas, instead using a sparker or a heating element to ignite the gas. If your water isn’t heating up, it’s possible this element has failed, requiring a call to Forrest Anderson right away.

Look for Leaks

Before you start adding flame to the fire, you want to ensure your water heater is leak free. If there’s gas leaking, you’ll end up with an explosion on your hands. Lighting your pilot isn’t important enough to risk your family, home, and life.

This is how you can complete a simple DIY test for leaks:

  1. Sniff around, high and low, near the water heater. While natural gas doesn’t smell like anything, the gas company will add a scent, so you’ll smell sulfur or rotten eggs.
  2. Listen for hissing sounds around the heater. It sounds like air leaking out of a tire: slow and steady.

Don’t take any chances. If you suspect your water heater has a gas leak, leave the area and call the gas company for your next steps.

Follow Instructions

Water heaters have affixed, printed labels on the outside.

If there are specific instructions you need to follow, they will be there. While many heaters are similar, you should always look at the detailed directions for your particular model.

Lower the Temperature

Before you start the relighting process, you want to make sure you’re not about to face a huge flame. Reduce the temperature control setting to its lowest temperature. Usually, you’ll find the control on the front of the box, outside of the heater.

Look for the Regulator Valve

Usually located near the temperature control, the regulator valve regulates gas flow to the pilot. Turn that valve to the off position. Once you’ve done that, wait 10 minutes to proceed so that any gas remaining in the line has an opportunity to clear.

Light the Pilot

The type of water heater you have will determine how you do this. Older units will need an external lighter, whereas newer versions have a pilot light igniter. If you need a lighter, then grab a long-handled one.

Now find the pilot, probably with the help of a flashlight (a second set of hands will come in handy here). Once you’ve determined where the pilot is, adjust the regulator valve to pilot and push down. Alternatively, you may see a red button to push to send gas to the pilot. If so, press and hold. This button starts the gas flowing, so it will catch when you add a flame.

Next, you’ll light the pilot. You’ll need another person to help: one to hold the button and one to light. If you have a self-igniting pilot, this step is a little easier. If not, have the person with the lighter get down and put the flame to the pilot. It should catch pretty quickly.

Hold down the gas valve for a full minute after igniting the pilot light. By doing so, you will eat up the sensor that turns off the pilot if not engaged.

Confirm the Light and Clean Up

After you let go of the pilot or gas valve, double check to be sure the pilot light remains lit. If it does, close all the access panels you opened. Turn the gas valve back to on and reset the temperature to your liking.

If you have challenges with lighting your water heater pilot, then contact the experts at Forrest Anderson. We are an approved contractor with Southwest Gas and can assist you in keeping your family safe and warm this winter.

Consider an Upgrade

If you have an old flame driven water heater, it’s likely you should consider an upgrade.

Modern water heater systems don’t use open flames to ignite the gas and are often more fuel efficient, heating your home and water for less money. You’ll also waste less water waiting for the cold water to get hot.

An investment in a new water heat can quickly pay for itself in gas, water, and electrical costs.

If you’re considering an upgrade, call your Forrest Anderson team today and we’ll help you get started.

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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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Why Does My Water Smell Like Sulfur?

Have you noticed a strange smell when washing dishes, cleaning your face, or taking a shower? Sometimes, hot water can emit a rotten-egg smell, akin to sulfur. But why is that?

While there could be different reasons for that horrible smell, the most common reason is anaerobic bacteria in the water. They react with sulfur, magnesium, and aluminum sacrificial anodes in water heaters.

That chemical reaction results in hydrogen sulfide gas, the smell you’re trying to figure out. You’ll find this issue most often in well systems, whether that well is in your backyard or from the city.

How Water Heaters Play a Part

While it’s likely not a faulty water heater that is causing that rotten-egg smell, the heater does provide the perfect breeding ground. Sulfur bacteria grow and live in warm environments.

When It’s Not the Water Heater’s Fault

Sometimes, that sulfur smell has nothing to do with the water heater. It could happen in the groundwater or well instead because of decayed organic matter or chemical reactions with soil and rock that contain sulfur. In Arizona’s hard ground, we have all kinds of fun minerals that can add to that sulfur bacteria and create that lovely smell.

Pollution could also be the reason for the sulfur smell, and Phoenix has its fair share of that. Knowing what the cause of the smell is may be imperative for determining the solution.

Finding the Source

It’s pretty easy to notice there’s a problem when using the fixture. More often than not, the sulfur smell will be stronger coming from the hot-water side than the cold side. This is because the hot side vaporizes more of the gas. You may not even notice the smell most of the time, due to a bit of a dulling of your senses from smelling it all the time. It may not become noticeable until you’ve been away a while or when a friend comments on it.

If the smell is just on the hot side, it’s probably originating from the water heater. If you smell it from both faucets and you have a water softener, you might have sulfur bacteria living there. If you smell sulfur strongly when you first turn on the faucet there is sulfur bacteria in the well. If the smell is strong, then, you’re likely looking at an issue in the groundwater.

Solving the Problem

There are plenty of DIY solutions to the rotten-egg smell in your water, but perhaps the most common fix is to replace the anode in the water heater. So, if you have an older water heater, it’s probably ready to be replaced.

A way to solve this problem is by cleaning out the water heater. Other solutions include disinfecting the well, distribution center, or water-softening system

Your best bet is to call the plumbing experts at Forrest Anderson for a complete inspection of your plumbing system. Armed with comprehensive knowledge, you’ll be able to make the best choice for your home. Call us today to get started.

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