Monday, February 28

Water Woes

I am writing to tell you about my 'water woes' - this is no DIY post, but I felt it was necessary to share this especially with my clients who are first time home buyers :)

Last Thursday I found a pool of water in my basement.  It was right after heavy rains in Halifax so I was convinced the basement walls were leaking.  As the day went on and the temperature dropped (no melting snow) more water kept coming in.  After a thorough investigation in the basement it turned out the culprit was the hot water heater.  What a relief! (From a home owner's perspective)

Below you can see where pressure was causing it to burst open at the seam on the left side.

I called my dad in a panic, who explained how to shut off the water and power...not a good combination.  As you can see there aren't that many valves but I highly encourage everyone to be familiar with their plumbing and know where the water and power shut-offs are.

Luckily I had a slow leak.  I would have noticed the water squirting out sooner if it wasn't for the damn energy-saving blanket smothering the tank.  Due to the telling of this story, I've since been educated on thermodynamics...the heat will still escape blanket or not.  Unfortunately it's another piece of garbage to add to our Earth's landfills...not impressed with myself.

Anyway, in North America traditionally we have used energy-hungry water heaters and replaced them (ending up in the landfills once again) with new ones every 15-20 years.  I've found that what used to be a choice between buying a 40-gallon tank or a 60-gallon tank has expanded to tank-less!  The tankless water heater system has huge energy savings and saves valuable space for us city dwellers.  Tank-less water heaters are capable of providing an instant, endless supply of hot water.

These systems function on an on-demand basis; therefore they don't store pre-heated water.  No storage of water means that tank-less water heaters have a life span twice as long since there is less risk of rust and corrosion.

After many phone calls and research on Friday...I didn't get the tank-less version :(   The catch was in my electrical panel needing to be minimum 200 amp service.  When hot water is in demand the tank-less heater can use 120-150 the math - not much else can be running concurrently.

Although I have a 200 amp service coming in, my electrical has been split into 2 - 100 amp panels, 1 for upstairs, 1 for downstairs...gotta love old homes.  I suspect that mine was an over/under at one time.  If my panel wasn't split I would have 100% gone tank-less.

Tank-less water heaters and combi-boiler systems are the norm in other parts of the world. A natural gas tank-less water heater is an option for me however the cost plus installation is off the wall.  I'm disappointed I couldn't have tank-less but at least I tried.  You live, you learn. 

P.S - Thanks to all my friends who offered their ablution facilities!

1 comment:

  1. Ha! great blog, I too had this problem. Moreover, I run off a well here which produced about a 100lbs of sediment in my tank (over 11yrs) which has made it a permanent fixture in my 120yo basement/cellar :(

    thought about the tankless... a no-go as my electrical could not handle it...


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