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Is Your Gas Water Heater Safe from the Weather?

This is no coincidence. How can bad weather damage your instant gas water heater?

Two days of bad weather and this is the result!

Five units in just two days since tropical storm hits Auckland!

As the week went on, more and more instant water heaters have becomes victims to the weather.

Today we will be addressing why this happens and what you can do to safeguard your valued hot water appliance.

INSTALLATION SAFEGUARDS

It is needless to say that you require a registered plumbers and gasfitters to install a gas powered instantaneous water heater.

A Gasfitter will strictly follow appliance location as per standard AS/NZS 5601. Within you will find restrictions as where an external water heater can be located safely and compliantly.

Unfortunately despite having met compliance and safety the installer should take various other factors into consideration such as:

  1. High wind zones
  2. Exposure to environmental effects such as the sea where salt is carried by the breeze. It is a known fact that steel corrodes much faster in such environment.

POTENTIAL DAMAGE

First of all, we don’t want to worry any of our readers in case you do have an external water heater affected by one of the above scenarios. This information is more of an FYI and has become more relevant to the changes in our weather patterns over the last few year, especially given the high number of replacements that have taken place recently. We believe that installers should be slightly more cautious upon deciding where they will install an external instant water heater.

Whilst the appliances are I.P (Ingress protection rating) rated at IPX-5 (Protected against low pressure water stream from any angle) if positioned in a high wind zone, moisture may still find its way into areas that that includes electronics or if close to the ocean highly corrosion will create more risk especially if water finds its way into the flu which is made of very vulnerable metals. As you can see in the images above corrosion has been the main factor for the IP rating to fail which has led to the units EOL.

Further, in some instances and especially with gas powered hot water cylinders such as the Rheem Stellar high wind zones will cause ignition problems if the pilot light is affected.

TAKING PRECAUTIONS

So what can you do to safe guard your gas instantaneous water heater?

Once you have worked out where the unit is to be located, ensure it’s not a high wind zone. You can do this by using basic tools and in most cases common sense by evaluating the environment.

If there is a concern of high winds or high corrosion risk, then we recommend the unit is installed within a complaint box. This can be bespoke or something like the following example:

https://rinnai.co.nz/accessories/rinnai-infinity-metal-recess-box

The added benefit you will have is theft protection!

Whatever solution you find, your main objective is to ensure the installation is done by a registered tradesman and is fully compliant and safe. Hot Water Cylinders NZ has experience in both.

Give us a ring if you are after any solutions to safeguard your appliance.

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What is the Cheapest Way to Heat Hot Water?

Are you looking for the most efficient way to heat water? Are you struggling to choose between a gas or electric water heater? You’re not alone! Thousands of Kiwis share the same sentiment. Recognizing this problem, we thought of preparing a quick guide to discuss your options and the pros and cons of each type of water heating setup. Hopefully, by going through our discussion below, you can identify the best option for your property.

Gas vs. Electric Water Heaters

The debate between using a gas or electric water heater has been around for years. That’s because both options present varying benefits to potential users. If you’re not sure which of the two you should pick, here are the key factors you should consider when you go shopping:

  • Accessibility – This refers to the ease of using the water heater.
  • Size – When shopping for a water heating system, make sure you take into consideration the size of the tank. This way, you can increase you heating system’s efficiency and avoid producing too much or too little hot water for your home.
  • Efficiency – This aspect specifically looks into how well a water heating system operates and how much energy it uses to do the job.
  • Maintenance requirements – Needless to say, choosing a water heating system that requires little to no maintenance is the best choice.
  • Installation – The installation of both types of water heating options are straightforward. However, you may need to consider a few complications when switching from one system to another. Be sure to consider this aspect when choosing a new type of water heater.

Operational Cost: What’s The Cheapest Option to Heat Water?

Now that you know the basic factors to consider when choosing between an electric and gas heater, let’s deep dive into the operational costs involved. As you might already know, most homeowners base their decisions on the cost of running a water heater, simply because the expenses tend to add up to the monthly budget of families. In fact, water heating costs accounts for up to 30 percent of a household’s monthly electricity bill.

To help you choose between the two, here’s a breakdown of their average operational costs:

  • Gas Heater – Gas-powered water heaters come in two options. Between the two, most people opt for the gas continuous flow because of its high efficiency. On average, it costs between NZD 750 to 950 per year to run this type of heater for an small household if you have a natural gas connection. You may also use an LPG tank and pay around $850 a year. You can even reduced the costs if you have gas supply for other heating purposes.
  • Electric Heater Electric water heater installation costs are almost equal to gas water heaters. However, the running costs have a bit of difference. Notably, an average Kiwi household with three people spends about NZD 1000 a year to run an electric water heater. The cost may also fluctuate depending on the electricity rates and night tariff.

Gas Water Heating Remains the Cheapest Choice

Want to learn more about how gas-powered water heaters work? Would you like to install a gas water heating system in your home? Contact Water Heater Brokers at 0800 692 672 so we can help you figure out which type of gas water heater you should use and schedule your water heating system installation.

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Common Cold Water Expansion Problems. Leaky Hot Water Cylinder Valve.

Do you have a mains pressure hot water cylinder? Is the overflow constantly draining? Or the relief valve leaking water? In other words, do you have a pipe sticking outside the house maybe going into a gully/ drain that is always dripping water? If so, it will be an issue with one or both of your relief valves.

What is a relief valve?

A relief valve is the most important part of the mains pressure hot water system, it protects the tank from over pressurizing. When hot water is used and the element or gas fire starts up to begin the reheating process, the heat increases, and so does the pressure. In order to prevent the tank from bursting, the excess pressure caused by heat needs to be removed from the tank. This is where relief valves come into play. The relief valve will open when specific conditions are met, which is usually when the pressure increases to a point which the valve is designed to open or if the temperature increases too much

Cold Water Expansion Valve (CWE) does all the day to day reliving of pressure, the valve is fitted to the cold water inlet of the cylinder. The CWE is the first valve to relief pressure on a mains pressure system, it will be set to relieve at a lower pressure setting when compared to the TPR valve, they are designed to be the first to relieve because they are fitted to the cold water inlet, this means all the day to day relieving of pressure is through cold water, and not hot water, this in turn will save you money on power as it will not be wasting hot water.

 

Temperature Pressure Relief (TPR) is designed to be a secondary back up if the cold-water expansion valve fails but also relives water in the event of overheating. If your system is fitted with a cold water expansion valve, and the TPR is dripping water, that will mean there is an issue with the TPR valve and should be replaced.

Check out one of our older blogs to find out more about cold water expansion valves here and the benefits of having one if you do not have one already.

Importance of maintaining relief valves

There are several things that can cause issues with relief valves, and if regular maintenance is not performed, you could be left with higher water bills, higher power bills and even a flooded house in extreme cases. For this demonstration we have cut an RMC Cold Water Expansion valve in half to help show the way the valve works.

Continuous water dripping through overflow or relief drain

Debris or sediment, If you live in an area with lots of building and road works going on, or even if you have an old style water main that may be falling apart internally, this can cause large amounts of debris to make its way into your homes water supply, this debris gets stuck in seal of the relief valve will cause the valve to never be able to shut properly, this will cause a continuous flow of water, this is an issue that should be addressed immediately as the continuous flow of water through the valve will cause holes in the brass and can even cause the water to spray from the brass of the valve itself causing a flood inside the house, in some cases you may be able to avoid the need to call a plumber by simply flushing the valve on a regular basis (recommended every 6 months) otherwise the valve may just need a good clean to repair the issue.

Old, expired cartridge, with age the rubber will become brittle and will start to deteriorate, in some cases you are able to simply replace the cartridge, like with the RMC Cold Water Expansion valve, which is easily, and inexpensively replaceable, other causes could be that the return spring has lost its “springiness”, so it is not able to fight the pressure to close again properly

Hard water conditions, sometimes the water supply you get is not ideal, it may contain things that could corrode these valves or even appliances using the water in a short amount of time. If you believe this may be your issue, we recommend getting your water quality tested to ensure.

Preventative measures