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Check the Energy Factor When Choosing a New Water Heater

Water Heater Efficiency

If you're planning on replacing your old water heater, one of the most important things to consider is how efficiently it will produce hot water. To make it easier for consumers to compare water heaters and select the most energy efficient model, the US Department of Energy has developed a standard for residential water heaters, call the Energy Factor.

As with cars and Miles Per Gallon (MPG), the Energy Factor (EF) rates how efficiently a water heater uses its fuel source. When comparing standard products of the same fuel type, a water heater with a higher Energy Factor rating uses less energy, resulting in both energy and cost savings.

The Energy Factor is determined by performing a 24-hour simulated test on residential water heaters. During the test a measured number of gallons of water are drawn from the water heater in six equally spaced draws that begin one hour apart. After the beginning of the last draw a standby period of 18 hours follows.

The result of the test is expressed as a decimal. For example, a gas water heater with an energy factor rating of 0.5 means it's 50% efficient. It will use 50% of the gas to heat the water, while the remaining 50% is heat going out the exhaust flue.

When comparing water heaters it's important to consider the fuel source. While an electric water heater may have a higher EF rating, electricity is typically more expensive than natural gas. Also, be sure to compare the EF for the same type of water heater, the EF rating for tankless and hybrid water heaters is measured differently than it is for conventional tank water heaters.

Have questions about choosing the best water heater for your home? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help answer all your questions.
Published in Plumbing
Heating water is one of most energy intensive tasks in the home, second only to heating and cooling. By changing some habits and performing a few simple tasks, you can reduce energy consumption from your hot water heater significantly.

1. Reduce Hot Water Usage At the Source. One of easiest ways to cut hot water usage is to install water saving shower heads. The minimum flow rate on a shower head should be no more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm). Many water conserving shower heads can reduce flow to as little as 1.6 gpm while maintaining acceptable water pressure. The water savings for a household of four could be as much as 14,000 gallons a year along with greatly reduced energy required to heat the water.

2. Insulate -  Even in a smaller home, as much as 10 percent of the energy used to heat water can be lost in the pipes that supply the hot water. Insulating hot water pipes is an inexpensive way to significantly reduce heat loss.

3. Use a Water Heater Blanket - While many new water heaters have sufficient insulation built into the tank wall, many older tanks will allow heat to escape. The larger the water heater, the more surface area that will allow heat to escape. Prevent heat loss by wrapping your water heater tank in an insulation blanket available from most home supply stores. Some manufacturers recommend against installing insulating blankets on their energy-efficient models, so be sure to read your owner's manual before adding a blanket.

4. Perform Regular Maintenance - Over time, storage tank water heaters can accumulate sediment that reducing heating efficiency. Flushing the tank annually will remove the sediment and make it easer for the burner or heating element to heat the water.

Have questions about your water heater? Call Maitz Home Services. We're here to help.
Published in Plumbing
Tuesday, 18 July 2017 08:51

3 Signs It's Time For a New Water Heater

A tank-style water heaters has a lifespan of around 10 years. Depending on the amount of use, the level of minerals in your water, and whether or not it has been regularly maintained, it could last significantly longer, or need replacement much sooner. So how do you know when it's time to replace the water heater instead of repairing it?

The Water Heater Is Leaking

Some water heater leaks may are the result of a faulty valve or leaking pipe. In this case, it could just need a simple repair to keep it operating. If the water heater is leaking because of corrosion, it may be time to replace the unit. Maitz can help determine the cause of the leak and recommend solutions to fix the leak.

The Water Heater Is Slow to Heat

First, check that the thermostat on the water heater is set high enough. If demand for hot water has increased, you may just need a larger capacity tank. If there are multiple sources that need water at the same time, considers a tankless water heater that heats water on demand. Slow heating can also be caused by a build-up up rust and sediment. Flushing the tank will remove the sediment. If the water heater is still not heating fast enough after flushing the unit, it may be time for a new water heater.

Malfunctioning Water Heater

In some cases the water heater may be have broken parts that need replacement. A plumber can check the heating element (electric water heaters) thermostat, gas burner and thermocoupler to make sure they are functioning. Consider the age of the unit against the cost of repairs when deciding whether to repair the unit.

Have water heater questions? Give Maitz a call. We are here to help.
Published in Plumbing
Tuesday, 11 April 2017 02:07

Why Isn't My Water Heater Hot Enough?

If your water heater is not getting hot enough or not staying hot for long, there are a number of possible causes.

1. The Dip Tube Is Broken
Cold water enters the water heater through the dip tube where it is forced to the bottom of the tank for quick heating. When the tube is broken the water remains at the top of the tank, where the hot water outlet is, causing it to return cold water with the heated water.

2. Sediment Has Built Up at the Bottom of the Tank
Over time, minerals in the water can build up at the bottom of the water heater tank where the burner is located. This causes a gradual reduction in heating efficiency that will make the water heater work harder and eventually resulting in less hot water. Flushing the tank annually will prevent sediment build up.

3. The Heating System Is Malfunctioning
Most water heater problems occur with these systems:
  • Thermal switch
  • Thermostat
  • Heating element
A licensed plumber should inspect the water heater and repair the pasts as needed.

4. Hot Water Heater Is Too Far From Where It's Needed

If the water eventually heats up, the problem is sometime a hot water tank that is too far from where it's needed. In the cold months in particular, pipes will cool the hot water before it reaches the faucet where it's needed. Insulating the pipes can help reduce heat loss.

5. The Water Heater Tank Is Undersized

If you have recently noticed that your water heater suddenly seems to supply less hot water, or runs out suddenly, it could be that your water heater tank is too small to keep up with demand. Installing a larger tank or tankless water heater will ensure that you have all the water your household needs.
Published in Plumbing
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