Information to help you choose and maintain your water heater in Savannah and the Low Country

broken water heater

Signs Your Water Heater Needs Repairs or Replacement

A water heater is a home plumbing appliance that we simply expect to work. We rely on them heavily to provide hot water for our various home chores and personal care. So when the water heater fails or is on the brink of failing, it can cause extreme stress in your home. No one wants to be surprised in the middle of a hot shower with the ice-cold sting of a broken water heater.

Here are some signs that your water heater needs repairs or replacement:

The Water Heater is Making a Funny Noise

Over the years, sediment in the water builds up at the bottom of the water tank. This sediment usually consists of harmless minerals that precipitate out of the water when it’s heated up. If you have hard water in your home without a water softener, you will increase the chances of these minerals building up. As sediment continues to grow in the tank, it will cause blockages, reduce efficiency and speed up the process of corrosion within the pipes.

This will eventually lead to the water heater making strange noises such as a rumbling or banging sound. If you hear this, chances are you will require service in the near future. As soon as you hear a strange noise coming from the water heater, call a professional right away to catch the issue before it becomes a more expensive repair.

How Old is the Water Heater?

Traditional water heaters are designed to last about 10-15 years. Tankless models will last about 15-20 years. It’s common during that time to require small repairs, however, if you notice that your water heater is getting around this age and it requires frequent service, it may be best to replace it completely. Older water heaters will also begin to lose efficiency and result in higher energy bills. Installing a new water heater will save you money in future repairs and reduced bills in the long run.

Is There Water Around the Tank?

Water dripping or pooling around the water tank points to a leak or fracture in the unit. This is common in older systems. If your water heater or hot water tank is leaking, you will want to replace it right away. Excess moisture around the tank will lead to water damage, mold growth and could cause dangerous electrical problems as well. A leaking water heater will also lose efficiency and result in higher bills and wasted water.

Rusted Hot Water is a Definite Problem

Are you noticing that your hot water appears to have rust in it? This usually indicates that the tank is rusting from the inside. A rusted hot water tank is prone to leak, which is why homeowners will need to deal with this issue right away. A professional plumber can quickly and efficiently determine if the water heater is to blame for the rusty water or if there is a different issue such as the pipes causing the problem.

Whether you notice your water heater not working properly, making a funny noise or if you notice water leaking from the system, the experts at Henry Plumbing can help. Call 912-352-9827 today for an appointment.

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Natural Gas Water Heaters

Atlanta Light Advantage Dealer

Henry Plumbing Savannah, GA is proud to announce that we are an approved Atlanta Gas Light Advantage Dealer. This means that we can provide comprehensive gas services for your home or residence and offer generous incentives when you switch from an electric to a natural gas water heater.

Residential Properties Get up to $500 Per Appliance When They Switch to Natural Gas

Get up to $500 per appliance when you switch a residence from electric to a natural gas water heater.  Homes using an electric water heater will get up to $400 per appliance when switching to a conventional tank-style natural gas water heater, and up to $500 when switching to a tankless water heater.

These savings come on top of substantial tax breaks for switching to a tankless natural gas water heater.  These tax incentives are only available for switching to a tankless natural gas water heater.  They are not available for an electric water heater or for a conventional tank-style natural gas water heater.

Commercial Properties Can Get Up to $600 Per Appliance

A commercial property can get up to $600 per appliance for switching from any electric water heater to a natural gas water heater.  Changing to a natural gas tankless water heater brings a rebate of up to $600 per appliance. Changing to a conventional tank-style water natural gas water heater brings a rebate of up to $500 per appliance.

About Atlanta Gas and Light

Atlanta Gas and Light is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the Southeast.  They provide natural gas delivery service to more than 1.5 million customers in Georgia.  Atlanta Gas and Light does not sell natural gas directly to customers.  They operate to maintain the infrastructure that delivers the gas to customers of certified natural gas marketers. Click here for a list of marketers who supply natural gas in the Savannah Area.

Tax Credit for Home Improvement

Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Water Heaters

Save money on your home energy expenses and on your taxes by switching to a tankless natural gas water heater. We mentioned saving money on taxes for having a solar water heater in an earlier blog article.  Here are some other ways to save money on your income taxes by making your home more energy efficient.

Energy Efficient Water Heaters

You don’t have to get a solar energy system to get tax discounts in 2016.  Electric and gas water heaters with an Energy Star certification qualify for a tax credit of $300.  The tax credit is effective through December 31, 2016.  In order to be eligible, your Energy Star water heater must be installed between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2016.

What is an Energy Star Qualified Water Heater

You’ve probably seen the Energy Star logo before on all kinds of products.

Energy Star

Energy Star is a program of the US Environmental Protection Agency. It partners with 18,000 private and public sector organizations to inform consumers of products that follow energy-efficient solutions.

Energy Star Qualified water heaters can be gas condensing, heat pump based, gas storage, solar, or tankless water heaters.  According to the Energy Star website, electric storage tank water heaters and even electric tankless water heaters can not earn an Energy Star qualification.  Electric tankless water heaters are more energy efficient than standard water heaters, but not “better enough” to qualify for the Energy Star rating. The best electric tankless water heaters will save you about 8.7% per year.

You can read more about the different types of Energy Star qualified water heaters on the Energy Star Qualified Water Heaters page here.  You can also call Henry Plumbing ask for one of our plumbers to help you select an energy efficient water heater for your home.

How to Get Tax Credit for Your Energy Efficient Water Heater

If you get an Energy Star rated water heater, or you had one installed between 2011 and 2016, you can claim your tax credit by filling out an IRS Form 5695 (don’t they give these forms the best names!).  You can see both the form 5695 and its instructions page here.

Signs Your Water Heater is About to Break

If you don’t think much about your water heater, that’s probably a good sign.  If you’re thinking about your water heater, it’s probably because something is not working right (i.e. yet ANOTHER cold shower). If you own a home, there are some water heater signs you need to be aware.  It can save you a lot of time, headache and a lot of money.   As Ben Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of remedy”.

Here are some indicators that your water heater is about to break.  


Your Water Heater is More than 10 Years Old

If you have a traditional tank-based water heater, you should expect it to last for about 10 years. Here is how to tell how old your water heater is:

Find the manufacturer’s sticker (usually somewhere towards the top of the unit)

This sticker should look something like this:water-heater-age

The label may or may explicitly include the date the unit was manufactured. In the case of this GE unit, the date is written explicitly and also encoded in the serial number.  The first numbers in the serial number are the month and date of the device’s manufacture (0911 for 09/11).  When the date is not written explicitly, it is often encoded in the serial number.  For example, a unit may have the serial number F051052638.  In this case, F corresponds to the month. F is the fifth letter of the alphabet, so it corresponds to May, the fifth month. 05 refers to the year the unit was manufactured (2005).

Tankless water heaters usually last about 20 years, about twice as long as a traditional tank-based unit. If you have a traditional tank-based water heater and it is more than 10 years old, it is not a bad idea to start thinking about replacing it.  Even if there are no problems with the unit, it is sometimes wise to replace the unit before the problems start.

Rusty Water

If the rust shows up in the hot water but not in the cold, there’s a good chance that your water heater is rusting on the inside.  However, it’s possible that your water heater is okay, but your pipes are rusting (aren’t you relieved?).  

If you have galvanized piping, it’s possible that the rust is coming from those pipes, and not your water heater. Here’s how to tell: fill up three 5 gallon buckets of hot water.  If If the water is still rusty by the time you fill up the third bucket, the rust is probably coming from the water heater and not the pipes.

Rumbling and Other Noises Coming from Your Water Heater

This is pretty unpleasant for a lot of reasons, one of which is the Freddy Krueger-like images it may evoke.  

Freddy Krueger

The good news is that your basement is probably not inhabited by a demonic dream creature.  The bad news is that your water heater is probably dying a noisy death.  Here’s how it works:

Sediment from your home’s water builds up on the bottom of the tank.  The sediment gets heated and reheated every time the unit is working.  This makes the sediment harden and means that the heater will now have to work harder to heat water.  The extra heat needed to heat the sediment-heavy water will cause the tank to become more brittle and eventually lead to cracks and tiny holes in the unit.  If you see any of these holes or cracks, it’s probably time for a new unit.

Water Around the Water Heater

In Savannah we’re used to seeing condensation around cold bottles of water on a hot day.  But you should never really see water on the outside of your water heater.  If you notice water around the tank, it’s probably from some kind of leak.  If you see a leak in your water tank like this, it’s a good time to call Henry Plumbing.

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All About Your Water Heater

Most people think about their water heaters in 3 situations:

  • When you need to replace it 
  • When you run out of hot water
  • When it’s broken and you need to call a plumber

That’s cool.  That’s when we think about your water heater too.  If you’re in any of these situations, you’re probably ready to learn more about your water heater.  So let’s break it down by these three situations.

Need to Replace Water Heater

It happens to most home owners every 10 to 15 years: your hot water heater is busted and needs to be replaced.  You’re probably in a rush to get the system replaced as soon as possible. Your water heater is a pretty serious expense for most home  owners.  Before you choose what to buy, you’ll probably want to think about a few things:

  • Do you want to go with a tankless water heater or stick with a conventional one?
  • How much hot water do you need available at any given interval?
  • Are there tax incentives available if you go with a tankless hot water heater?

Henry Plumbing can help you answer any of these questions.  Feel free to look at our related blog articles about this as well.

You Keep Running Out of Hot Water

If you often find yourself running out of hot water, your water heater is probably either broken or too small for your home’s needs.  Here are the options for how to get more hot water in your house:

  • A tankless hot water system which delivers almost limitless hot water instantly
  • A larger capacity water heater

There are pros and cons for each system.   You can read more about them here: 5 Things You Should Know About Tankless Water Heaters.

Your Hot Water Heater is Broken, and You Need to Call a Plumber

If you don’t have any hot water in your house, you probably already know that your hot water heater is broken.  There are other less obvious signs you will probably want to know about though.  For example, if you notice moisture around your water heater, there may be a small leak somewhere in the tank.  The moisture can also be caused by loose fittings or loose connections from pipes to the tank.  In any of these cases, you will probably want to call a plumber.  It’s not worth risking your safety.  

Your hot water heater should last for at least 10 years.  If something goes wrong before then, it can probably be fixed or is covered by your warranty.  However, if your hot water heater is more than 10 years old, you should probably think about replacing it.  You can read more about warning signs that your water heater is about to fail here

Tankless Water Heater

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

Before we explain how a tankless water heater works, let’s talk a bit about how a standard/traditional “tank heater” operates.  Tank heaters have a large tank that holds and heats water (thus the term “tank heater”).  The tank continually heats water in order to maintain a constant temperature.  The energy used to keep hot water hot even when you’re not using it is called “standby heat loss”.  Here’s a good article about “How Standard Hot Water Heaters Work”.

Standby Heat Loss in Water Heaters

If you haven’t guessed it yet, the big savings from tankless water heaters come from eliminating standby heat loss.  in other words, tankless systems only heat water when you need it, so you don’t spend money to boil water for hours before you need it.  The tankless hot water heater operates efficiently to just heat the water when you need it.

Heat Exchangers in Tankless Water Heaters

Of course the tankless heater still needs to use energy to stay hot and be ready for your shower.  So here’s how that works: a tankless hot water heater uses something called a “heat exchanger”.  This device “exchanges” heat generated by electric coils or a gas-fired burner to the water which will come out of your faucet.  The exchanger is activated when water begins to flow into the system.  The incoming water circulates through the exchanger, which heats the cold water. So, the system only “turns on” when you ask it to being heating water. 

Types of Tankless Water Heaters

There are two types of tankless hot water systems: point-of-use and whole-house heaters.  A point-of-use system is small and only heats water for one or two faucets (like two sinks in your kitchen).  They can fit under a cabinet or in a closet.  Point-of-use systems can be more efficient since they reduce the time between when you turn on the hot water faucet and when the hot water actually comes out of the tap.  This saves water, since you’re not spilling cool water out of the tap while you wait for the hot water to come.  Whole-house-heaters are larger and can operate more tank one outlet at a time (thus the term “whole-house-heater”).
Point-of-use tankless water heaters are usually electric.  Whole-house systems are usually natural gas or propane.  There are a number of factors to consider when deciding how to power your heater and which model you should choose.  Henry Plumbing has tankless water experts happy to answer your questions and help you choose the right hot water solution for your home or business.  Call us at 912-352-9827.
Save Water in Savannah

A Tankless Water Heater for Earth Day

Cut Water Waste With a Tankless Water Heater

Water waste is a major issue in the United States. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average family uses upwards of 400 gallons of water per day. Roughly 27% of water usage originates in the bathroom. Leaving the faucet on while brushing teeth, staying in the shower too long, and taking frequent baths all contribute to such water waste.

The need to save water has never been greater. Statistics show that since 1990, US water-stress areas have risen from just 30 states to 45 in 2009.

Having just passed the 24th anniversary of World Water Day back in March, and with the Earth Day just past, many Americans are contemplating better ways to reduce water waste. The EPA recommends simple measures like turning off the faucet while shaving, using aerators for your showerheads and sinks, and keeping a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator to save hundreds of gallons of water each month.

In addition to these simple measures, there are more advanced home improvements that can make saving water easier.

One way is installing a tankless water heater in your home. Before you do, consider why you should in honor of Earth Day.

How Tankless Water Heaters Reduce Water Waste

Tankless water heaters prevent water waste in several ways.
The first way is by providing immediately hot water without wasting water. Most people will run the water through the faucet until the desired temperature is reached, which wastes water at a rate of 2 gallons per minute. With a tankless water heater, you can easily turn on the faucet and the temperature adjusts automatically with no wait period.

The second way they save water is through efficiency. Tankless water heaters limit the amount of water wasted on the whole, and therefore dramatically reduces water waste across the board. Performance is increased which reduces your need to consume or waste water.

Saving water and reducing your impact on stressed-water areas is made much easier with the right appliances. You can also add or install tools such as aerators, or simply look for WaterSense Labeled products which are proven to be 20 percent more water-efficient than standard models. They meet the EPA’s criteria for water efficiency and performance, so you can trust the results.

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home water heater

How to Choose a Home Water Heater

Before you get started in your search, it helps to know what types of home water heaters there are available:

  • Conventional– These will give you a ready-heated tank of hot water.
  • Tankless– These heaters will heat your home and they don’t need a tank at all.
  • Heat Pump– This will let you move heat from one place to another instead of generating it all at once.
  • Solar– Solar heaters use the sun’s energy to create heat.
  • Tankless and Coil– This will use the home heating system to heat your water for you.

There are plenty of heaters for you to choose from and choosing the right one can be difficult. Consider cost of installation, cost of fuel, and overall cost of ownership (how long it will last, etc.) and the comfort perks each system provides.

The fuel type you use will affect how much you pay overall and it will also tell you how efficient your system is as well. On top of this, you also need to think about the size, because if you want to provide your home with plenty of water then you will want one that is of an ample size or a tankless water heater. If you want to maximise the amount you save then you will also want to take a note of how energy efficient your system is as well. The more energy efficient your heater is, the more likely you will be to save money even when you do use water a lot in your home. If you want to make the next step up from this then consider using a drain-water heat recovery system in conjunction with your purchase.

If you are on a budget then you may want to consider going for a smaller heater but if you go for one that is only just big enough to meet the needs of your home then you could actually be wasting money. The main reason for this is because the heater will need to be working constantly in order to heat your water and this won’t be very energy efficient.  A tankless water heater is often the most efficient option, and offers a virtually unlimited supply of hot water.

Of course, if you have any questions then you can always contact Henry Plumbing. Our trained plumbers are always more than happy to help you find the water heater that gives you the comfort and value you are looking for.


Great Reasons to Want a Tankless Water Heater

Rinnai Tankless Water HeaterTankless Hot Water Heaters Use Less Energy

A tankless water heater will use 50% less energy and this could save you hundreds every single year. They also only heat the water when the tap is turned on, so you won’t be heating water that you don’t need and the water that you do need will be heated instantly.

Tankless Water Heaters Never Run Out of Hot Water

Yup.  No more cold showers after some family member has enjoyed the shower of the century or after bath time for all the kids, dog, neighbors, etc.  Tankless water heaters can give virtually unlimited hot water.

Tankless Water Heaters Often Have Longer Warranties

When you invest in a tankless water heater, you’ll find that they can offer you longer warranties and they can save you space as well. This is very beneficial if you want an all-in-one solution that won’t take up extra space and it is also ideal if you don’t want to worry about making repairs later down the line.

A traditional heater will probably come with a warranty for 6 years. A tankless heater on the other hand can last you for over 15 years in terms of the warranty so you can already see how you could reap the benefits of what financial security they can offer you and your home.

Contact Henry Plumbing to See if a Tankless Water Heater is  Good Fit for your Home

There are other factors that you need to take into consideration because not every home can have a tankless system. It depends on the space you have, the system you have installed at the moment and your budget. Contact us at Henry Plumbing if you want to find out whether you home would benefit from a tankless water heater. 912-352-9827

We are proud to carry both Rinnai  Water Heaters and AO Smith Water Heaters

Check out this recent article to learn more about How to Choose the Right Water Heater.

Tankless Water Heater

How to choose the right water heater

Tankless Water Heater

Homeowners question which water heater is right for their home, and with good reason. There are countless heaters available, with little to no clear direction on which one is right for their usage and budget.

Another issue that arises is selecting the correct brand. While some claim to offer more features or are better suited for particular environments, none are exempt from flaws. There is no “one size fits all” water heater. Instead, you have to analyze what’s available and see which one would be right for your home.

To give you a better idea of how to choose the right water heater, we’ve provided a brief overview of how the experts make their selection and how you can too.

Start With Capacity

The majority of water heaters are priced and sold according to how many gallons they hold in their tank. Some, like a two or four-person water tank, hold enough for three showers, a load of laundry, a load in the dishwasher and turning on and off the faucet several times. However, what you really need to look at is the first-hour rating (FHR) and the gallons-per-minute rating (GPM). The FHR for storage tank heaters and the GPM for tankless heaters, are more important because they show you how much hot water can be delivered with the tank. A professional can help you sort out these ratings.

Types Available

The core types of water heaters are storage-tank heaters, tankless heaters, hybrid electric heaters, solar heaters, and condensing gas water heaters. Once you know the capacity you require, you can look closer at the features available.

Storage Tank Water Heaters

For example, storage-tank heaters heat cold water that enters the tank via piping and then send it throughout the home through the plumbing system. Gas fuels the process, which means you’ll pay more for the unit. But once you make it past the initial price tag, you’ll save roughly 50 percent on your fuel costs according to national surveys.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless units are much smaller than storage tanks since they run on an instantaneous heating system. Using either a heating coil system or natural gas, they heat water via a heat exchanger. Their greatest selling point is the fact that your energy costs are lowered and there is no risk of tank failure. However, they can produce cooler water than one might like, and aren’t ideal for larger households.

Additional Factors to Consider

In addition to capacity and type, you also need to consider your daily usage, heating source, and extra features.

Obviously, your daily usage directly affects how well suited your tank will be for your needs. Consider how often you would be refilling a tank and the costs of doing so before purchasing a water heater.

Another helpful point to keep in mind is the heating source. If you opt for a smaller tank, you may end up refilling it several times a day, depending on usage. For natural gas, you can expect a more affordable bill. For electric heating, you will spend more on energy costs and less on the model. Your budget should ultimately decide these factors.


Choosing the right water heater may seem like a painful task, but if you do a bit of research and shop with a professional on your side, you can find the ideal water heater within budget and suited according to your needs.