North Metro water heater users are you ready for the cold weather that is on the way? The extended subzero temperatures over Christmas 2022 weekend are something Georgia residents will never forget. Many businesses, government buildings, and homes were ill-prepared for the icy temperatures. As a result, plumbing and water heating systems from Monroe to Buford to Norcross took a beating.
The deep freeze led to burst pipes, damaged tank and tankless water heaters, and massive amounts of water damage. As a result, calls to emergency plumbers skyrocketed from those left without working plumbing. The Anthony Wimpey Plumbing 24/7 emergency plumbing team helped their customers on Christmas and holidays.
With cold weather on the way, it is essential to know how to prepare for it. Whether you have a traditional storage-tank water heater or a tankless water heater, learn how to ensure you have hot water no matter how cold it gets outside.
With winter coming, Anthony Wimpey Plumbing urges homeowners to prioritize water heater maintenance to prevent costly water damage caused by frozen pipes. Many homeowners overlook the importance of water heater maintenance until it is too late. With freezing temperatures just around the corner, the Gwinnett County plumbing company encourages homeowners to protect their water heaters from damage.
Anthony Wimpey Plumbing suggests four water heater winter protection tips that homeowners should follow to prevent their water heating system from freezing. These include adding insulation, installing a recirculation system, flushing and draining the tank, and dripping faucets on frigid nights.
1. Insulate The Water Heater’s Tank
Insulating your water heater’s storage tank is a fast, simple, and effective way to prep for winter. A hot water heater blanket wraps an extra layer of fiberglass insulation around the tank. The additional layer reduces stand-by-heat loss.
2. Install Hot Water Heater Blankets
Water heaters can use a lot of energy even when not using hot water. A common culprit is stand-by loss, which occurs when heat escapes through your water heater’s walls. One way to combat this is by using a water heater blanket, which adds a blanket of fiberglass insulation to reduce standby heat loss. To determine if you need a water heater blanket, place your hand on the tank itself. The tank should be at room temperature. If the tank is warm or hot to the touch, you need to install a water heater blanket.
Water heater blankets come in kits that contain a blanket, straps, and tape for approximately $20. The straps hold the insulation for the water heater, and the tape seals the seams to the insulation.
3. Insulate Water Heater Pipes
Along with insulating the tank of conventional water heaters, insulating bare water heater pipes enables the system to heat water faster and keep it hot more efficiently. In addition, insulating a water heating system helps prevent frozen and burst pipes.
Insulate hot-water outlet pipes and cold-water inlet pipes for the first 3 feet from the water heater or more.
Also, consider insulating the pipes that connect to your water heater. Suppose there are uninsulated water pipes in or near exterior walls along the perimeter of your home. In that case, they can burst in freezing weather, which can be catastrophic.
For electric water heaters, pipe sleeves made with polyethylene or neoprene foam are the most used insulation.
On gas water heaters, insulation should be at least 6 inches from the flue. If pipes are within 8 inches of the flue, your safest choice is to use fiberglass pipe wrap without a facing at least one inch thick.
4. Install A Recirculation System
Installing a recirculation system allows homeowners to have hot water at a fixture when they desire. And with recirculation, pipes stay warm, preventing water lines from freezing.
5. Flush Tank Water Heaters
Flushing a water heater eliminates corrosive sediment buildup from the tank. Without sediment, water heaters rust less and last longer.
6. Drain Tank Water Heaters
Homeowners planning to be away for several weeks this winter may want to drain their water heaters. Emptying water from the tank eliminates the risk of freezing, which can damage internal components and ruin the whole unit.
Water left sitting in the tank can freeze. So, drain water from any unit going unused for a period, just like uninsulated pipes. Freezing, in this case, can damage internal components and ruin the whole unit.
7. Drain Tankless Water Heaters Before Icy Weather
Even a tiny amount of water inside a tankless water heating system can freeze. Ice inside the unit can damage internal plastic components, rendering the unit needing a replacement. Drain standing water ahead of inclement weather as a precautionary measure.
By using the hot- and cold-water line valves, water removal from some units is possible. The ability to do this depends on the unit you have and whether there are water shut-off valves underneath. When in doubt, refer to your tankless water heater owner’s manual for additional freeze-prevention steps, including draining the unit.
Installing solenoid valves can make draining water even more manageable. The valves have a speedy response time and will self-drain internal water when the power source shuts off. Again, if power outages are common where you live, installing solenoid valves is a good option.
8. Insulate With Electrical Heat Tape
Insulation can protect your tankless water heater and plumbing pipes, which are highly susceptible to freezing during frigid temperatures. Fiberglass and heat tape are both excellent options.
Heat tape comes in many distinct types and materials so that you can find the best suited for your winterizing needs. Applying the tape on pipes connected to the water heater can ensure the cold water coming into the unit and from your unit does not freeze. However, while heat tape is excellent for protecting other water pipes outside of the unit, it also only works when there is power.
Electrical heating pipe tape kits will include tape or cable in varying lengths, an adjustable thermostat, and an electrical cord. The heat tape or cable wraps around plumbing pipes to warm them when the thermostat detects a temperature drop as freeze prevention.
9. Allow Water To Drip
When temperatures drop into the single digits or lower, let one or two of your faucets drip overnight. That prevents water from freezing in your pipes or water heater. Keep the sink cabinets open so warm air can circulate the pipes.
By implementing these simple tips, homeowners can protect their water heaters from damage and ensure they are working efficiently throughout the winter season. Winter temperatures can drop well below the freezing point of water. If this happens, your water heater is at risk of damage. A frozen and burst pipe can also damage your water heater, so it is important to consider protecting your entire plumbing system.
Tankless water heaters are no exception to the systems that frigid weather can impact. Fortunately, there are precautions that you can take to mitigate, if not eliminate, the problems. Winterizing your tankless water heater can help minimize adverse reactions if Mother Nature strikes again.
10. Carefully Choose Tankless Water Heater Placement
Because cold temperatures can disrupt these units, we install tankless water heaters in warmer areas of homes and businesses. Although the winter weather in Gwinnett County and the surrounding area is not constantly freezing, it does happen. A heated space such as a garage or basement can help prevent freezing.
When indoor placement is impossible, our plumbers position outdoor tankless heaters on the walls of heated indoor spaces. Instead of facing open air, this placement decreases the likelihood of freezing. Areas with an indoor tankless water heater should stay at or above 32F.
11. Consider Backup Power For Freeze Protection
As mentioned, electrical freeze protection solutions need power to protect your plumbing. But what happens when you need freeze protection during a power outage?
One solution is to add a battery backup to power freeze-protection devices. That way, when temperatures drop into the danger zone, your protection will kick on and begin warming. The tank or tankless water heater, pipes, and system will avoid freezing damage. There are tankless water heaters that have built-in electric heaters. These heaters, when plugged into a nearby outlet, provide automatic freeze protection.
If frequent power outages of only a few minutes are expected, then a battery backup makes sense. Otherwise, more extended power outages of hours or days can get support with a gas generator. Gas generators can run freeze protection devices for water heaters along with lights and other electronics during power outages.
Contact North Metro, Gwinnett County Water Heater Specialists
If you need assistance with your tankless water heater or preparing for winter weather, please get in touch with Anthony Wimpey Plumbing. We offer water heater repairs if the cold temperatures cause damage to your plumbing. Are you not in need of water heater services today? Our water heater maintenance, repair, and replacement professionals ensure you have it all year. You can also rely on us for drain cleaning, sewer, and general plumbing services. If you are a business owner in the local area, you can count on us for commercial services. For more tips on protecting your home’s water heater this winter, contact us.
Please do not wait until it is too late. Schedule a winter water heater maintenance appointment with Anthony Wimpey Plumbing today to avoid water damage from frozen and burst pipes. We are the plumbers near me in North Metro. For more information, call 770-415-8133.