Tag Archives: home improvement

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Why Does My Water Meter Spin Backwards?

There’s a good chance that you’ve never really taken a good look at your water meter. Or at least, not in a long while, and maybe only when you’ve suspected there was a leak. The truth is that not everyone is familiar with their water meter, how to read it, and how it should function. We’ve recently had one of our clients call stating that their water meter was spinning backwards, and they weren’t sure what that could even mean. If you’re also wondering, “why does my water meter spin backwards?” read on to find out more.

1. Improper Installation

This is the first in our list because it’s also highly probable. We’ve seen a lot of weird things, and a water meter that was improperly installed wouldn’t be the most surprising on the list. For reference, the meter should be installed so that the arrow on the meter is facing the direction of water flow.

2. Backflow

Let’s assume that your water meter is indeed installed correctly. If the meter is still spinning backwards, what then? It could be indicative of a larger problem – backflow. Backflow is when water flows incorrectly in the wrong direction. This would definitely make the meter spin backwards, and warrants a call to your local plumber. Backflow can occur due to either back pressure or back siphonage, which are essentially too high or too low of pressure in the system.

3. Broken Water Meter

Let’s not forget that aside from the issues outlined above, water meters do sometimes break. If you’ve had your water meter properly installed and there’s no backflow situation going on, then it could be that your water meter is broken. Contact your local water supplier and explain the issues. They’ll be able to send someone out to inspect your water heater and advise you on what to do next.

If you’ve been wondering why your water meter spins backwards, it’s important that you take note of our advice above. Don’t let the problem go unsolved – check for a backflow issues, or have your water meter fixed sooner rather than later.

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Tips for Buying a New Water Heater

Tips for Buying a New Water Heater

If you’re looking to purchase a new water heater, then you probably already know that there are a ton of options out there. Whether you purchase a water heater yourself from some place like Home Depot, Sears, or Lowes, or you get your water heater repair specialist to order one for you, you’ll need to know exactly which water heater will be best for your home or business needs. We’ll give you some tips for buying a new water heater that should help you choose between tanked or tankless, gas or electric, and more.

Know Your Required Gallon Capacity

One of the first things you need to know is what size tank you’re looking for. The gallon capacity new hot water heater being installed by worker(or the hot water flow rate, if you choose a tankless water heater) determines how much hot water you can use at a time. If you’re living in a home with just 1-5 people, your recommended tank size will be a whole lot different than if you were looking for a water heater to satisfy the needs of a 20-person business. Below are the general recommendations for the appropriate gallon capacity based on household size:

  • 2 or fewer people: 23-36 gallons
  • 2-4 people: 36-46 gallons
  • 3-5 people: 46-56 gallons
  • 5+ people: 56+ gallons

And if you choose to use a tankless or point-of-use water heater, you’ll need to consider the possibility of needing more than one unit in different areas of your home.

Here are a few other questions you should consider when determining the size of your new water heater:

  1. How many showers do you have? How many bathrooms?
  2. Does everyone in your home shower at the same time? If so, this would require a larger tank size (or more tankless water heaters, once for each bathroom)
  3. Do you tend to run multiple appliances at the same time (like your shower, dishwasher, and clothes washer)? If so, you’ll need a bigger gallon capacity, or else to change your habits so only 1-2 appliances use water at once.
  4. Do you have a large tub, whirlpool, or Jacuzzi? If you want to fill the entire thing up with hot water before you soak, then your hot water heater’s gallon capacity will need to be at least as large as the tub.

Know the Trade-offs Between Fuel Type and Energy Efficiency

The final weigh-in on which water heater you should get might very well be the energyworker installs new hot water heater at home efficiency – and this goes hand-in-hand with which fuel type you choose. While gas water heaters might be more common and less expensive to install, it’s possible that an electric water heater would save you money, especially if your utility company offers lower off-peak prices.

Different Fuel Types

  • Electric

Electric water heaters have a good number of high-efficiency options, and they are usually cheaper to install than the other types. Check with your utility company to see their rates and whether you can get better prices during off-peak hours.

  • Gas or Propane

Gas and propane water heaters tend to be more energy-efficient than electric ones, but they do cost a bit more up front to install. You must also be careful about what you store near these water heaters, and have them regularly inspected for gas leaks.

  • Heat Pump or Hybrid

These hybrid water heaters are becoming more and more popular for several reasons. They are more energy-efficient, they cost less to run, and they can stand alone or be added onto an existing water tank.

  • Solar

We expect to see solar water heaters gaining in popularity in areas like the Southwest where sun is abundant (but in the Midwest, not so much).

The main takeaway we want you get get is that you need to do your research. Look at your local gas and electricity rates, the cost to install each unit, and see if over a 5-10 year period you could see significant savings with one fuel type vs. another.

Know Your Budget

Keeping in mind the above information, you also need to know how much you are able to spend on a new water heater. Are you able to afford multiple tankless water heaters? Can you spend a few hundred extra dollars on a high-end hybrid water heater? See the average cost for different models below:

  • Electric – $300 – $600
  • Gas – $300 – $800
  • Tankless – $300 – $1500
  • Hybrid – $1000 – $1400

Keep in mind that even though a hybrid water heater might be more expensive up front, you’ll need to factor in utility cost savings for the life of the unit as well.

Did you recently buy a new water heater? Share your own water heater buying tips and tricks with us!  And if you are ever in need of water heater repair and installation give us a call.

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Let’s Cut Your San Diego Water Usage Bill in Half

Water isn’t free, just check your bi-monthly water usage bill. The average water bill in San Diego can range from $75 to over $200 every two months depending on how large your family is. There are generally about $50 of water service related fees and the rest of the bill is based on usage.  What if you could take that water usage cost and cut it in half without changing anything about your daily routine? You’d be looking at savings of between $150 and $300 a year.

Stop Flushing Your Money Away

We’ll look at your bathrooms first. This is where about 75% of all indoor water usage happens. The toilet is the major culprit in most homes. If you have the original toilets that were installed when your home was built, they could be using between 3.5 and 5 gallons of water per flush. For the average family of four, that’s up to 60 gallons a day or 1800 gallons per month. Installing low flow toilets can cut this usage to 1.1 to 1.6 gallons per flush. That’s more than 50% less water use. Low flow toilets can cost as little as $79 at the home-improvement store.

Don’t Get Soaked by the Shower

The next place to look is at your showerhead. Older showers use 5 to 7 gallons of water per minute. Switching out these heads with new, WaterSense approved shower heads that flow at 2.5 gallons per minute eliminates at least half of your water use in the shower. You could shower for twice as long or keep your showers shorter and bank the savings. A family of four taking 15-minute  showers every day will save 130 gallons of water per day – 3900 gallons per month.

Retrofit the Faucets

Kitchen and sink faucets also waste up to a gallon of water per minute they are in use. Installing aerators on each of them could save up to 30 gallons of water every day in the typical home. That’s another 900 gallons of saved water every month.

The Water Usage Savings Are In…..

In total, the average family will use 6600 fewer gallons of water every month. In terms of your bill, it would break down like this. Water bills are measured in HCFs (hundred cubic feet). 1 HCF = 748 gallons. The average family saves 6600/748 or 8.8 HCF.

The water cost schedule for San Diego in 2014 is as follows:

  • 0 – 8 HCF used are billed at $3.64 per HCF.
  • 9 – 24 HCF used are billed at $4.08 per HCF.
  • 25 – 36 HCF used are billed at $5.82 per HCF.
  • Each HCF used after the initial 36 HCF is billed at $8.19 per HCF.

The savings on the average family bill could then range anywhere from $30 to $40 per month or $60 to $80 per billing cycle. If you make all the suggested changes to your home, the initial cost should be recovered in less than two years.