There’s nothing like a nice hot shower on a frosty winter morning. So, when you turn on the taps and your water heater doesn’t deliver, it can be a frustrating way to start the day—especially when you check for obvious problems such as a fuel run-out. But freezing temperatures, combined with a few other factors, can prevent your water heater from working properly.
Here are three common reasons cold weather may be affecting your water heater—and how to prevent them.
Problem: If your water heater is in a poorly insulated area, such as the basement or garage, the water in the tank can get cold faster—it’s called “standing heat loss.” As a result, your water heater must work harder, and it takes longer to heat back up again.
Solution: You have a couple of options. One is to keep the space where your water heater is located warmer—55 degrees minimum is best. Depending on your heating system, you could adjust your thermostat, or add a heater to the space. Another option is a specially designed heater blanket, which will insulate your tank and prevent hot water issues without having to pay to heat an otherwise underused space.
Problem: If your pipes are old or exposed to the environment, the water moving through them will get colder before it reaches your faucet. In older homes that are less well-insulated, pipes that run in exterior walls, are prone to similar chilling, even if they aren’t fully exposed to the weather, compared to pipes that are running through interior walls.
Solution: If you can, insulate any exposed pipes. Covering exposed pipes with insulating wraps will help retain heat. You can purchase foam sleeves from most hardware stores and do it yourself. Or, if you’re up for a bigger renovation, you can investigate adding or upgrading your home’s insulation.
Problem: If you don’t insulate your pipes, you may find you have a bigger problem, which is frozen and cracked pipes. If it gets cold enough, water in your pipes will start to freeze—and expand. That creates pressure and can result in cracks or breaks. A tiny crack of just an eighth of an inch will leak more than 250 gallons of water a day and burst pipe will release a real flood.
Solution: If insulating your pipes isn’t practical—or temperatures are extremely frigid, leave a few faucets open to just a trickle. It doesn’t even need to be hot water, but the continuous stream of water, no matter how small, can keep the water from settling in your pipes and freezing over.
Tankless water heaters—also known as on-demand water heaters—instantly heat water when you need it, rather than keeping a large tank hot all the time. Imagine having virtually unlimited hot water, while seeing lower fuel bills!
There are a lot of benefits to going tankless, especially if cold weather and exposed pipes cause problems for you.
Want to learn more about the benefits of a tankless water heater for your home? The pros at Depew Energy can help you choose the best option for your needs. Enjoy energy efficiency and all the hot water you need with a new water heater! Contact us today and we’ll gelp you get started.