FAQ

Click on a question to see the answer below.

There are many money-saving attributes in new water heating equipment choices including higher energy efficiencies. In commercial environments the options really depend on the needs of the business & the specifics of the building housing the water heater. The hot water demands of restaurants are very different than the demands of apartment buildings, as are their floor plans. Therefore the water heating options available to each can vary just as much. High-efficiency sealed-combustion water heaters have specific venting requirements and may not fit all environments. Learn about the differences between standard & high efficiency water heaters here…

We offer a free, no-obligation evaluation of your system’s specific needs and can provide specific equipment recommendations for your location, along with any energy-efficiency rebates available to you. Give us a call today at 1-800-356-1444 to find out what options make sense for your facility.

At Reliable Water Services we take “no hot water” situations very seriously. When you work with us there’s no need to worry about finding a properly trained plumber who can also quickly obtain parts and equipment on an emergency basis – we’ve already found them!

A simple phone call to 1-800-356-1444 connects you to our team of experts who are trained to troubleshoot problems quickly, assuring minimum downtime. Many water heater problems simply can’t be solved over the phone though, so we use a dedicated group of certified contractors and suppliers to assure timely and accurate service and replacement for our customers.

Call us at 1-800-356-1444 when you have a water heater problem and we’ll dispatch one of our trusted service technicians to take care of your emergency so you can take care of your business!

For a residence that’s probably fine but for a commercial setting that’s not the route you want to take. The boxed water heaters you can find at local retail stores are primarily residential-rated units, not commercial rated units. Taking the chance of installing a residential rated unit in a commercial facility will only lead to problems; primarily because insurance coverage can become null and void if the equipment in place is not appropriately rated.

There may be a limited selection of commercial units available, but without a proper evaluation of your facility’s needs, buying retail could lead to improper sizing or venting issues. For instance, installing an atmospheric unit in a location with negative air pressure can lead to potential safety hazards; installing it without a fire-rated room may invalidate insurance coverage or bring fines for code violations. While the wrong size water heater virtually assures you poor heater performance, as it can result in running out of hot water frequently or consuming too much energy – both of which waste money and lead to premature water heater failure. Learn more about the importance of accurate water heater sizing here…

Accurate sizing is critical to proper system performance, as improper sizing can cause various issues, including your water heater failing prematurely—either from running too frequently or too infrequently.

If you have hot water, but find that you tend to run out during those peak times when you need a lot of it, the issue may be due to improper sizing. In restaurant applications proper heater sizing is crucial because running out of hot water can quickly become a heath code violation. Not enough hot water in a hotel or apartment complex can lead to unhappy guests or tenants. An accurately sized water heater will be capable of producing an ample supply of hot water (at least 120° F) to all equipment and fixtures that demand it, at all times. Here’s a rundown on how water heater sizing works…

If you aren’t getting enough hot water, call Reliable Water Services at 1-800-356-1444 to get connected to one of our factory-trained sizing specialists who will work with you to determine what size is right for your location.

Water heaters were traditionally simple, similar to a pot with a flame under it. But in an era ruled by technology, manufacturers now use sophisticated electronic components to make higher efficiencies possible. This means the number of parts that can fail has increased, thereby increasing the need for specialized service technicians. Think of it like car maintenance. It used to be that anyone could work on their car, but that’s just not the case anymore. Here’s why…

We work with certified service providers trained specifically on the equipment we provide, which allows them to troubleshoot the equipment more efficiently because they know just what to look for. This means less down time for you. Perhaps more importantly, parts and equipment are available at a moment’s notice, so you can get up and running as quickly as possible. Learn more about the importance of using a trained technician here…

Access to our experience and services has allowed one of our customers–a major property manager–to operate with one less maintenance person, saving them quite a bit of money. See the math here…

While the cost of equipment increases with a high-efficiency unit, the amount of money saved on energy costs often outweighs the equipment cost differential. Standard atmospheric water heaters have an efficiency rating of about 80%. So, $0.20 out of every $1.00 in energy costs is literally going up and out the chimney. The high-efficiency sealed combustion units have an efficiency rating of 95%+, reducing the “up the chimney” amount by over 25%. However, not all applications are conducive to the use of this type of heater. Learn more about the differences between standard & high-efficiency water heaters here…

We also offer a free, no-obligation evaluation of your system’s specific needs and can provide specific equipment recommendations for your location, along with any energy-efficiency rebates available to you. Give us a call today at 1-800-356-1444 to find out what options make sense for your facility.

In addition to providing you with a better quality of water, softened (or conditioned) water saves you money on multiple levels:

  • Soft water can reduce your energy consumption by up to 30%, which can add up to significant savings by the end of the year. According to a study commissioned by the Water Quality Research Council and conducted at New Mexico State University, water heaters operating with hard water consume between 22-30% more energy than those that use soft water.
  • By not leaving mineral deposits behind to clog up your system, conditioned water dramatically increases the life of your plumbing fixtures, sinks, valves and pipes, as well as any water-using equipment (water heaters, dishwashers, laundry machines, etc.)
  • Soft water reduces the amount of soaps and detergents used in washing. When cleaning agents don’t have the hardness minerals to react with and fight against, they are able to lather properly and work more effectively with less.
  • Conditioned water also provides noticeably whiter linens, cleaner parts and spotless glassware and flatware, reducing the need for hand work.

Learn more about the damages hard water can cause to your system here…

City water suppliers are not required to soften the water; because of this, usually City water is only purified–not treated to remove any minerals (hardness). However, it is mandatory that your City make the water hardness test results available to you, so you may call the number listed on your water bill to get that information.

Soft water has 0 grains of hardness (measured in Grains per Gallon- GPG), which can only be achieved by using a softening system; any number above this would be considered hard water. Typically 1-3 GPG is relatively soft water and anything measuring 10 GPG or above is considered very hard water.

Actually this is a somewhat common problem when dealing with atmospherically vented water heaters. However, it’s caused more by the surrounding environment rather than the water heater itself. The heater is backdrafting as a result of negative air pressure in the room due to a lack of fresh make-up air.

There are three things that are needed to generate a flame – fuel (gas), oxygen (air), and a spark. A water heater is designed to fire with a delicate balance of all three, with the flame obtaining air from the easiest source – its surrounding area. A blue flame indicates a healthy amount of oxygen in the mix; an orange flame indicates a lack of oxygen. If there isn’t enough new fresh air going into the room, the flame will eventually use up all of the “easy” air, creating negative air pressure in the room. The starving flame will then try to pull fresh air from the next available source – the chimney. Meanwhile the exhaust gases are trying to get out of the chimney, so those gases get pulled back into the room with that fresh air, causing the flame to roll out from under the heater, charring the sides and dispensing exhaust particles in the room, resulting in soot. While this is still a safety hazard that needs to be resolved, the fix lies with the ventilation system rather than with the water heater.

The best and most efficient way is to bring more fresh air in with a fan or vent to the outside, cut into the wall of the controlled space. Code requires that you need 1 square inch of make-up air per 1,000 BTUs. You can add up the BTUs in the room to determine the size of the vent needed. Example: 1 water heater @ 199,000 BTUs + one boiler @ 499,000 BTUs = 698,000 BTUs. So 698 square inches of fresh air is consistently needed in room. A fresh make-up air vent, at least 24″ x 30″ (720 square inches), will be needed.

Or, a less expensive alternative option would be to install a draft inducer or power vent on the chimney flue, forcing the exhaust gases out with a much stronger force than the flame can pull back in. This will relieve the dangerous backdrafting symptom by preventing the harmful gases from entering back into the building. However, it will not cure root problem of lack of fresh air. There will still be an imbalance in gas-to-air ratio in the room, so the starving flames will continue to burn orange rather than blue, eventually leading to additional soot deposits in the room.

If the water heater is producing hot water (the hot-water outlet pipe will be hot to the touch), then it sounds like there’s an issue with the water getting to the entire facility timely – you probably need a circ pump. But before we make assumptions, let’s clarify… The complaining tenants are most likely the ones situated farthest from the water heater; it’s likely they have hot water, but they didn’t wait long enough for the water to arrive before reporting an issue.

In an apartment building or hotel, the distance water must travel from the water heater to all end users is much greater than in a typical residential setting. Due to the great distance between the water heater and the tenants’ fixtures, the hot water left in the pipes cools between uses. The next time a tenant calls for hot water, the residual cooled water has to get flushed out before the new hot water arrives; the further the tenant is from the water heater, the longer it takes to clear that water from the pipe.

The remedy is a hot water recirculating system or “circ pump” for short – a closed-loop system that uses a circulator pump to recirculate the residual water from the hot water line back into the water heater. This allows a small amount of hot water to circulate through the pipes 24/7, from the heater to the farthest fixture and back to the heater, ensuring anyone that turns on a faucet will have hot water within seconds, regardless of where they are located in the building. Any hot water that isn’t used ends up back in the water heater to be reheated, rather than flushed down the drain.

Many apartment complexes may already have a recirculating system installed and it’s just not operational, either because the pump was turned off or has failed and needs to be replaced. (We’d be happy to help with that!) If there isn’t an existing system, one can be installed. Some commercial buildings & multi-story facilities may already be piped with a dedicated hot water return line, so adding a circulator pump to that line is fairly straightforward. However, often in older constructions there isn’t a hot water return line present meaning one would need to be installed from the farthest fixture back to the water heater to create the closed-loop for circulating. Unfortunately installing new copper piping within existing structures can get rather costly, but advances in technology now allow for PEX tubing to be installed as a hot water return line providing a more flexible & therefore less-expensive option than the copper alternative.

In addition to saving the pain of waiting agonizing minutes for hot water, a recirculating system will also save you money on your water bill because tenants won’t be running their showers for 5 minutes to let the hot water reach them. With this system, the water is at their faucet, hot and ready within seconds.

Premature heater failure can be a painfully expensive problem. In most cases the cause is likely to be one of three problems: improper sizing, poor water quality, or water pressure spikes.

Gas water heaters come in a multitude of sizes, with gallon capacities ranging from 5 to 120 gallons. The gallon size of a tank is what most people think of in terms of sizing, but that’s really only half of the equation. The other essential factor in proper sizing is the BTU input per hour, which can range from 40,000 – 725,000. Essentially the BTU input indicates the amount of power the burner is capable of generating per hour, determining how quickly a water heater can turn the water within it from cold to hot; the lower the BTUs, the longer it takes to heat the water. It is crucial that your heater is sized to meet the demands of your building. While a smaller unit may be cheaper up-front, it can cost significantly more in the long-run because it’ll be over-worked and fail prematurely due to the constant expansion & contraction of the tank. Alternately, if your unit is over-sized it won’t fail prematurely but it could unnecessarily increase your energy use.

Poor water quality – typically described as “hard water” – is another killer. Water quality is measured by grains per gallon, where the “grains” are the mineral deposits present in the water supply; above 3.5 GPG is considered hard water. When hard water is heated the minerals are precipitated out and deposited throughout the entire plumbing system, but their first stop is the water heater leading to a continual build-up of sediment at the bottom of the tank. Your water heater has to work harder to heat through that sediment before it can heat the water above it. This excess heat generates a greater occurrence of thermal expansion, causing the tank to fail prematurely.

A lesser-known heater killer is water pressure spikes in the plumbing system. Water pressure is vital to any system but too much pressure is bad. The line pressure into a building differs based on municipality but typically should fall between 50-75 PSI – anything above 80 PSI is a problem. If the municipal supply has water hammer issues it causes waves of pressure spikes across the entire system, silently impacting end users via intermittent high-pressure spikes throughout the day. When that occurs, the water acts like a bullet hitting the inside of your heater (and your entire plumbing system), weakening the weld on the tank with each hit; the higher the spike, the harder the tank gets hit. Eventually that weld will break and that can’t be repaired. Installing a pressure-reducing valve on the incoming water supply line can prevent this issue. The valve is pre-set to a safe pressure level, controlling the pressure on the supply line to the pre-set level, regardless of spikes that hit the system.