Water Heater Services in San Rafael
We Specialize in Energy-Efficient Water Heating Systems
Every home has its own preference for heating water, but the one thing that remains the same is that homeowners want an energy-efficient water heater. John Owens Services, Inc. is your best resource for all water heating needs throughout Marin and Sonoma counties. Whether you are installing one for a newly built home or need a replacement for an aging unit, we can help. Our local company is a proud dealer and installer of Rinnai water heaters, guaranteeing high-performing and energy-efficient systems every time.
Take a look at your options for water heaters below:
- Gas tank water heaters
- Electric tank water heaters
- Heat pump electric water heaters
- Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters
- Hybrid tank/tankless water heaters
- Solar water heaters
- Indirect tank, which is heated by a radiant heating boiler
Water Heater Rebates Available! Anywhere from $400-$1,500. Click Here for More Information
Conventional Gas Tank Water Heaters
Gas tank water heaters have been the most common source for heating water in Marin County and the Bay Area for decades. Gas is still a very affordable fuel compared to electricity. Older water heaters often lasted 20 to 25 years. Unfortunately, our newer replacements have on average 6-year pro-rated warranties and may not be manufactured to last much more than the warranty period. Energy efficiency is usually from 53% to about 62%, which means up to 47% of energy goes up in smoke. Energy Star conventional gas tank water heaters have a minimum of 67% efficient. These are not so common and can have slightly longer warranties.
The State of California is an ultra-low emission or an ultra-low NOx state when it comes to gas water heaters. Very few states are ultra-low NOx, and unfortunately, conventional gas water heaters have not adapted easily to the ultra-low emissions standards. Changing to Ultra-Low NOx and trying to squeeze more efficiency out of old technology has not produced reliable water heaters. Tank water heaters are more reliable and simpler with 53% efficiency.
Electric Heat Pump Tank Water Heater
A heat pump has a compressor just like your refrigerator, and it is basically an air conditioner or refrigerator in reverse. Heat pumps are usually 250% efficient and the technology is reliable. They are regarded as a green appliance. If you are forced to have an electric water heater, or you have solar energy and want to conserve, this is a great choice.
Here are some of the brands available at John Owens Services, Inc.:
- Kenmore A.O. Smith
Can I Use a Tankless Water Heater for Radiant Heat?
Absolutely! Using a tankless water heater for radiant heat is an economical choice that will provide your home with excellent comfort while saving you money.
Tankless water heaters are great for radiant floor heating because:
- Tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand, so they work instantly and eliminate the need to have your water heater running non-stop.
- Tankless water heaters have excellent heat exchangers and temperature sensors, providing more precise temperature control.
- With well-designed systems, you can control everything from your home thermostat.
Tankless Water Heaters in San Rafael
Gas-fired tankless water heaters range from 84% efficient to 96% efficient. If you convert from a conventional gas water heater with 62% efficiency to a tankless water heater with 96% efficiency, you could reduce your household energy bill by up to 6%. That could be hundreds of dollars saved per year.
Tankless water heaters are great. However, they are not a good fit in all situations. If the house has long pipe runs and does not have a recirculating system, the user can get frustrated using a tankless. Retrofitting recirculating systems or on-demand recirculating pumps can be a solution to wasting water in any household and make a tankless water heater user-friendly in a not so well-plumbed house.
Tankless electric water heaters are also available. They are very common, ranging from tiny units for hand wash only (such as in public bathrooms) to units large enough for a household of four people. Whole-house tankless electric systems are a great option for a home that has a solar hot water system and a solar electric system. The sun does most of the work. The electric tankless is mostly a backup heater when there is no or little sun.
Many complaints regarding tankless water heaters are due to poor installation by unqualified installers. 90% of so-called “warranty calls” are due to installation problems and not the water heater. We have been a qualified Rinnai tankless water heater installer for 15 years. We are also official service providers for Rinnai tankless systems and carry a very large stock of the common parts.
Tankless water heaters require maintenance every 3 years to ensure they will last a long time. We have water heaters that are 15 years old and expect them to last 20 years. Some homeowners will buy three tank water heaters in 20 years, and not have the energy savings or reliability of a tankless water heater.
Hybrid Tank/Tankless Water Heater
The Rinnai RH180 is a 40-gallon storage tank with a tankless water heater attached. It is called the RH180 because it produces 180 to 190 gallons of hot water per hour if needed. A 50-gallon gas water heater normally produces 90 gallons in the first hour. Its thermal efficiency of 80% makes it 13% better than the Energy Star minimum standard. It uses a conventional ½” gas line, a conventional 4-inch metal flue, and is a direct replacement of any 40- or 50-gallon conventional gas tank water heater.
Other features and benefits of this hybrid water heater include:
- It works with any piping configuration or long pipe runs in a house.
- The tankless technology is well-tested and more reliable than the low NOx burners in conventional gas heaters.
- There is no flame to stress the storage tank which will increase tank life considerably.
- In the event of a severe earthquake, you would have 40 gallons of fresh drinking water in storage.
- Installation time is reduced because it is a direct replacement, and does not require a separate different flue, or new gas line (does need an electrical outlet).
San Rafael Solar Water Heaters
The most economical water heater to run is the one that is heated for free by the sun. Solar water heaters have been around for a long time. They were very popular in the 70s with the huge tax credits available. Interests in solar water heaters were revived with the passing of the California Solar Initiative Thermal Program, and rebates and tax credits have become available for replacing an electric, natural gas, or propane water heater.
Solar energy systems are generally “pre-heat systems.” The sun slowly heats a storage tank when sunlight is available. The pre-heated water then goes to feed another water heater before it comes to your faucets. In the summer months, the sun can heat 100% of the hot water; in the winter, the solar system partially heats the hot water. When no sun is available, the regular water heater can do 100% of the work. Solar energy systems that feed tankless gas or tankless electric water heaters are a great combination because the tankless is purely on demand and has no wasted energy when not used.
Indirect Tank Water Heater
An indirect tank is a storage tank that is heated usually by your radiant heat boiler. Most modern boilers are 95% efficient and make a very efficient heat source. Indirect tanks are very well-insulated and do not lose a lot of heat just storing the hot water. They are typically made of high-quality stainless steel and should last a very long time. The indirect tank has been used in Europe for over 50 years. Indirect tanks are an efficient way to heat hot water and store it.
There are also some downsides to this water heater. If your boiler breaks down, there is no hot water. Also, the boiler needs to exert more power than it would for other tanks, in order to effectively heat it up. On many occasions, it is better to choose a tankless gas water heater along with a smaller radiant heat boiler and keep the two systems separate.