Water Heater’s Underperforming? Troubleshooting Tips to Get It Back on Track

showerhead Long IslandCan you barely make it through your shower before the hot water is gone? Is washing dishes a challenge with dwindling hot water? Is “hot” water a bit of a misnomer at your house? If so, it’s probably time to take a look at your water heater.

While some water heater issues are best left to an HVAC professional, there are some things you can do yourself if your water heater’s underperforming.

  • Insulate the heater. Is your water heater located in an unheated basement area or utility room? If so, the unit is having to work hard during the cold winter months to deliver that hot water on demand. Save energy dollars and increase the amount of hot water available by insulating your water tank. Most home improvement stores sell specially-designed, insulated blankets that fit snugly over water tanks.
  • Don’t forget the pipes. In addition to the tank, your heated water may be losing its warmth traveling through cold pipes. If the pipes leading from the water heater are in a cold part of the house, consider buying special insulation wraps to help keep the water in them warm.
  • Is it the element? Your hot water challenges may be caused by a problem with the heating elements (on electric heaters), pilot light or thermostat. Have someone check these three essentials to make sure they’re functioning properly.

If you’ve checked these three common trouble spots and your water is still lukewarm at best, it’s probably time to call an HVAC professional to identify the source of the problem.

If  your water heater’s underperforming or you need help with  other mechanical systems in your Long Island home, give T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating a call. We’ve been helping homeowners throughout Long Island with their heating and cooling needs since 1934.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics,  download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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Placement Essential for CO Detectors

Homeowners who use fuel-burning appliances or gas heat should know that carbon monoxide detectors are essential for saving lives. The key to keeping your home and your family safe is knowing where to place the them, so that members of your family are alerted immediately, should there be a danger.

CO (carbon monoxide) may be generated in a variety of ways; open flames, water heaters, space heaters and chimneys that are blocked may be sources of this odorless, invisible gas that puts your family at risk.

Where should you place the carbon monoxide detectors in your home for the greatest protection?

  • If your home has more than one level, make certain a detector is placed on each floor.
  • According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, one detector should be placed in every bedroom in the home so that a sleeping individual will be easily alerted.
  • If you only have one detector, it is recommended that you place it near the sleeping area.
  • When placed on a wall, carbon monoxide detectors should be located about 5 feet above floor level on the wall, as CO may rise higher in the air when contained in warmer air emitted by home heating sources and other combustion appliances.
  • The ceiling is another good place for the device, because the gas does tend to rise.   Never place the detector close to a light source.
  • One place you want to avoid placing a detector is close to a fireplace or another fuel-burning appliance.   Some of these appliances emit a tiny amount of carbon monoxide when starting, such as a gas stove.   Placing a detector closer than 15 feet to these appliances may result in unnecessary alerts.

While placing carbon monoxide detectors in a hallway is something many homeowners do, it’s best to place the devices in the areas mentioned above.

T.F. O’Brien services the Long Island, New York area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about preventive maintenance and other HVAC topics, please download our free  Home Comfort Resource guide.