Heating Water

this old house, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning review-chapter nine

In this chapter of “This Old House, Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning,” the authors concern themselves with water heaters. It is explained that heating water in an efficient manner is a mark of a civilized society.

First, gas water heaters are discussed. The burner is located beneath the tank and natural gas is mixed with air to create the flame. In this type of heater, the thermostat will sense when the water requires heating. Water flows in from the bottom and the water is kept at an appropriate temperature.

Water heaters controlled and operated by electricity do not have burners. Electric elements are placed inside the tank either at the top or bottom. The heating element at the bottom of the tank does most of the work.

The reader is encouraged to maintain their water heater with a regular maintenance schedule. Water heaters can last many decades if maintained correctly.

Things to do for your water heater.

  • Maintain the anode.

  • Keep the tank free of sediment.

  • Test the T&P valve. (temp & pressure valve)

A very important subject covered by this chapter is also the conservative use of water. It is estimated that HVAC systems and water systems in a home are the primary users of electrical energy. The consumer is encouraged to change human behaviors and use any conservative means necessary to keep the energy bill down.

  • Things to do to conserve energy.

  • Lower the thermostat on the water heater.

  • Wrap the water heater with insulation.

  • Use low-flow shower heads.

  • Use low-flow faucet aerators.

  • Use cold water whenever you can.

  • Always completely load the dishwasher.

  • Use heat traps on the hot and cold water lines.

  • Install a time clock on your water heater.

  • Turn the water heater off when no one is home.

The rest of the chapter is dedicated to tips regarding how to purchase a new water heater, solar heating, heat pump and “on-demand” water heaters.