Water Heaters

One of the last things you want to deal with is no hot water, or worse, a flooded basement. Water heaters are used daily by your entire family and Richfield Plumbing can work on ANY water heater and either repair, replace or upgrade your system.

What to look for

  • Water isn’t hot enough
  • Noisy while heating
  • Is there a floor drain nearby?
  • Water leaks or watermarks
  • Life expectancy vs water heater age
  • White corrosion around pipes
  • The time it takes to get hot water

So which type of water heater is right for you? Well, it depends on your current system. Here are the different types with helpful info to help make your decision.

Edmonton Water Heater Repair and replacement

Atmospheric Water Heaters

These are the water tanks found in your parents old house. They are the most common replacement tank and were a staple in homes built before 2005. The easiest way to identify this water heater is it has a grey metal vent pipe rising from the top. The advantage to having this kind of tank is that it is cost-effective to replace and repair and parts are readily available. The efficiency isn’t great and “eventually” the government will probably not allow manufacturers to make them as they did with mid efficient furnaces.

Life expectancy: 8-20 years. After 12 years we recommend replacing vs repairing typically. After 15 years, your tank has had a good life and it’s time to consider replacing BEFORE it breaks down and you are left with no hot water and a big mess.

Tip: These water heaters no longer like dirty or linty areas like a dirty mechanical room or laundry room, so if you have one of these areas, consider cleaning up the place or seeing if the manufacturer has a filter to protect it. If not, your burner chamber will overheat, and a sensor will shut the flame off.

Common Repairs:

  • Drain valve
  • Anode rod
  • Dip tube
  • Relief valve and drop tube
  • Gas valve
  • TCO switch
  • Cleaning air intake filter and combustion chamber
  • Thermocouple/thermopile

Recommended Replacement:

Residential(commercial grade)

Tankless Water Heaters

Do you have a special start – stop – start method of filling your tub with hot water? Many homeowners consider switching to a tankless system because they are tired of running out of hot water. These systems also show significant energy savings over tank-type water heaters and they are smaller in comparison to the tanks so they save space in your mechanical room as well. 

But is a tankless water heater for you? Some things you should be aware of are: 

  • You’ll probably have to upgrade your gas, venting and possibly reroute some waterlines which do cost more money
  • Tankless water heaters require annual servicing to be “flushed” to remove hard water deposits. We do offer cost-effective maintenance plans(link to club membership) to ensure this is done.
  • Speaking of hard water, it is recommended to get a water softener when installing a tankless water heater
  • You may have to limit the number of hot water fixtures being used simultaneously. Due to Edmonton’s really cold water, there is a large temperature difference that is required and there is only so much GPM of water the water heater can heat. We typically recommend the best tankless with an internal buffer tank which puts out approx 5 GPM of hot water in our coldest weather which will give you about 2.5 showers simultaneously so there is still lots but you may have to limit occasionally. 
  • More repairs. Anything with more bells and whistles will require more repairs. We highly recommend the annual maintenance as mentioned before.
  • The life expectancy is between 7-25 years. If it is doing other heating then it will lower the life expectancy. Did we mention you really NEED to do annual maintenance?

We don’t want to scare you away from tankless water heaters, we just want to provide the pros and cons and help you make an educated decision. Tankless water heaters are great to have continuous hot water, save space and save energy but once you get a tankless, gone are the days where you just look at your water heater when it’s not working or leaking.

Common repairs:

  • Flow switch
  • Flushing heat exchanger
  • Adding service valves
  • Clearing venting
  • Igniter
  • Cleaning air filter
  • Cleaning condensate trap/drain
  • Flue gasket repair
  • Control board
  • Cleaning water intake filter

Recommended Replacement

Navien NPE-240A for most situations

Power Vented Water Heaters

These hot water heaters use a fan to force the products of combustion through the venting of your house and safely outside. These come with a plastic-type of pipe. If you have one pipe, it’s called a power vented water heater and the tank uses the air inside your house for combustion air. If you have two pipes, it’s called a power direct vent water heater and the tank uses outside air for combustion air. They are built similar to an atmospheric tank except they have a fan on top. Same life expectancy, same efficiency(typically), same common repairs except more.

Life expectancy: 8-20 years. After 12 years we recommend replacing vs repairing typically. After 15 years, your tank has had a good life and it’s time to consider replacing BEFORE it breaks down and you left with no hot water and a big mess.

Common repairs:

  • Noisy venting
  • Flammable vapour sensor
  • Blower assembly
  • Pressure switch
  • Venting frozen
  • Igniter
  • Drain valve
  • Anode rod
  • Dip tube
  • Relief valve and drop tube
  • Gas valve

Recommended Replacement:

Standard
Hi Efficient

Electric Water Heater

These water heaters have largely been used in commercial applications but have been more common in residential as builders in new homes try to save costs and bump up efficiency ratings in the house. They are great for areas with limited areas for gas and venting and little use of hot water due to the low recovery rate. You can even get them to heat just one sink. 

Life expectancy: 12-25 years.

After 15 years we recommend replacing vs repairing typically. After 20 years, your tank has had a good life and it’s time to consider replacing BEFORE it breaks down and you are left with no hot water and a big mess.  

Common Repairs: 

  • Electric Elements
  • Aquastat
  • Temperature adjustment
  • Water odor
  • Anode rod
  • Relief valve

Recommended Replacement:

Indirect Water Heaters

The best water heater available in our opinion. There is one catch, you need a boiler to run it. We specialize in boiler systems so we have many customers that have these already installed. Older models didn’t last as long but now they are made of stainless steel and have a lifetime warranty and really, they should last a very very long time as there is little that can go wrong. Basically only the aquastat/sensor or a stainless steel manufactured weld(very rare) could require repair or replacement. It is tied into your boiler system so there are pumps and issues with the boiler that could go wrong but the tank itself is very efficient and long lasting.

Recommended Replacement:

Viessmann Vitocell 300

Solar Water Heaters

The best water heater available in our opinion. There is one catch, you need a boiler to run it. We specialize in boiler systems so we have many customers that have these already installed. Older models didn’t last as long but now they are made of stainless steel and have a lifetime warranty and really, they should last a very very long time as there is little that can go wrong. Basically only the aquastat/sensor or a stainless steel manufactured weld(very rare) could require repair or replacement. It is tied into your boiler system so there are pumps and issues with the boiler that could go wrong but the tank itself is very efficient and long-lasting.

Recommended Replacement:

Viessmann Vitosol

Temporary Water Heaters

Over the years we have had customers lose their hot water over the holidays, weekends or inconvenient times or wanted to upgrade their system and needed a little time to think and make the right decision and at the same time their family still needed hot water. So we came up with a solution to help our customers in this scenario. We bought a 30 gal electric water heater and outfitted it with temporary connections so it can be easily installed and removed. We offer this service at a minimal cost but gives our customers hot water in a pinch. That’s why we’re Your Friendly Neighbourhood Plumber!