1. What is included in the quoted price of a water heater?
This is a very important question and a key aspect of what sets us apart from many other companies. Quite simply, the price you are quoted on the phone is the price that you pay. We do not charge extra for items such as:
Installations or service on evenings, weekends or even holidays!
A vent upgrade from 3″ to 4″ if required
A new gas flex
Any materials, fitting, alterations or labour that may be required to install the water heater*
A gas permit on gas installations
A Manitoba Hydro inspection on gas installations
Travel charges (within the city of Winnipeg)
Disposal of the old water heater
In short, we don’t have any hidden charges that we surprise you with once we enter your home. The price you are quoted is the price that you pay! Simple.
*We are responsible for any materials and alterations to the following areas:
The hot water line back to the joist space or 4′ (whichever is less)
The cold water line back to the shut off valve or 4′ (whichever is less)
The gas line back to the shut off valve
The venting to the point where it connects to the homes chimney system
2. What is the most common type and size of water heater found in Winnipeg homes?
Approximately 80% of all homes in Winnipeg have gas water heaters installed with the balance of 20% being electric water heaters. However, almost 100% of new homes being built today will have either a 65 or 80 US gallon electric water heater installed. Our estimate would be that 75% – 80% of homes with gas water heaters have a 40 US gallon water heater installed with the balance being split equally between the 30 or 50 US gallon size.
In the 20% of homes with electric water heaters, our estimate would be that 75% – 80% of these homes are equipped with a 50 US gallon electric water heater. The balance of 20% – 25% will be split evenly between 65 & 80 US gallon electric water heaters.
4. How can I determine the fuel source, warranty, age and capacity of my water heater?
The model number and serial number found on each water heater can help us to answer these questions. These numbers can be found on the rating plate which is one of the many stickers that are applied to the side of the water heater by the manufacturer. Simply call our office with the model and serial numbers and we should be able to assist you in answering these questions.
5. Which water heater is more efficient: gas or electric?
While this is a fairly straightforward question, the answer is somewhat more complex. First off, an electric water heater is almost 100% energy efficient while a gas water heater is approximately 60% energy-efficient. Therefore, an electric water heater is more energy efficient.
However, gas water heaters are less expensive to operate compared to electric. Please view Manitoba Hydro’s operating cost comparison form. The reason for this is that gas water heaters typically heat water 3-4 times faster than electric water heaters. Therefore, energy is being utilized for a much shorter period of time to heat the same amount water. So in the end, even though electric water heaters are more energy efficient, gas water heaters are less expensive to operate.
6. What should I do if I am going on vacation?
When you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time, we recommend performing two steps:
Step #1 is to turn off the main water supply to your home which is located at your water meter. This way, should a washing machine hose, dishwasher, toilet or even the water heater start to leak, the amount of water entering your home will be kept to an absolute minimum.
Step #2 is to turn off the fuel source to your water heater. On a gas water heater, you should turn the thermostat to its lowest setting; it may even be labelled as “vacation”. On an electric water heater, turn off the breaker labeled “water heater”, “hot water tank”, “HWT”, etc.
With the thermostat set to its lowest setting on a gas water heater or the power turned off on an electric water heater, the tank will not needlessly fire up to maintain hot water while you are away. This in turn will save you money on your energy bill.
Upon returning from your vacation, simply turn the water back on at your meter and set the thermostat back to its previous setting on a gas water heater. On electric water heaters, simply turn the breaker back on. Once these steps are completed upon your return, you will have hot water within an hour.
7. How often should a water heater be flushed?
Considering that just a ½” of sediment on the bottom of a gas water heater will require 70% more fuel to heat a tank of water, the simple answer is “on a regular basis”. Flushing a gas water heater can greatly reduce its operating cost. Electric water heaters will not benefit as much from an efficiency standpoint since the elements are not on the bottom of the water heater.
While flushing of a water heater should be performed on a regular basis, the reality is that most homeowners never perform this preventative maintenance. Flushing a water heater can remove rust and sediment from the bottom of a water heater therefore extending its life and keeping it running efficiently. The timetable for flushing water heaters is as follows:
Self-cleaning models - Every 2-3 years
Non-self-cleaning models - Every year
8. How do I flush a water heater?
A person will often perform the flushing procedure by draining one or two buckets of water from the drain valve on the bottom of their water heater. While filling the first bucket they will notice that the water is very rusty looking and by the time they have filled a second bucket the water is usually running clear. At this point, they will stop the process assuming that they have removed all of the rust and sediment from the water heater. In reality, they have only removed the rust and sediment from the drain valve itself. The reason for this is that the drain valve is located about 1” above the bottom of the water heater and too high to allow the rust and sediment to flow out of it. As a result, the rust that was seen in the first bucket was actually the rust that was in the body of the drain valve and not from the water heater itself.
A better solution is to follow our City Wide Water Heater Service step by step instructions which can be found on at the following link: Flushing Instructions. In a nutshell, these instructions ask the homeowner to drain their water heater completely. Once it is drained, it asks them to open and close the incoming cold water rapidly for a few minutes. Since the tank is empty, the short bursts of water that enter will stir up the sediment and rust on the bottom of the tank and flush it out the drain. This method will remove more rust and sediment than the previous step but the results are still less than ideal.
The best option is to have City Wide Water Heater Service out to power flush the water heater. Basically, what we do during a power flushing is we drain the tank completely, insert a pressure washer type device into the water heater and power flush the inside of the water heater completely. This flushing will clean the bottom of the water heater, the walls of the water heater, and the flue. This process is performed while a clear hose is attached to the drain of the water heater so that we can actually see what is being removed. Once the water running through the hose is clear, we are done and the interior of the water heater is properly cleaned. The power flushing process removes almost 100% of the sediment and rust accumulated inside the water heater.
9. How can I prevent flood damage when my water heater starts to leak?
The two options that we recommended at City Wide Water Heater Service call for the installation of either a drain pan or a FloodMaster valve.
A drain pan is a round aluminum pan that is installed under an existing or new water heater. This pan has an opening on the side of it into which we attach one end of a 1¼” sump pump hose. The other end of this hose then terminates at the floor drain or sump pit. With a drain pan installed, if the water heater, drain valve, or relief valve were to leak, the water would be caught in the pan and it would exit through the hose and drain into the floor drain or sump pit. This will save the basement from becoming flood damaged and potentially ruining your valuable possessions.
A FloodMaster valve is a great option for whenever a drain pan installation is not feasible (the hose from a drain pan may be in a high-traffic area, it may have to run uphill, or a floor drain or sump pit may not be available such as in an apartment or condo installation). A FloodMaster valve is an electrically operated device that is installed on the cold water line of a water heater in addition to a drain pan underneath the water heater. The drain pan opening is plugged in these installations and a sensor from the FloodMaster valve is placed into the drain pan. Now if the tank relief valve or drain valve start to leak, the water is caught in the drain pan. Once the drain pan has about a half inch of water in it, the sensor activates the valve which closes the incoming cold water, stops the leaking and prevents flood damage.
10. What should my temperature be set to on my water heater?
This issue can be confusing. What is the best advice? What is the right answer? Our recommendation is to set the temperature to no higher than 130 F. In most homes, water heaters are set at approximately 140 F (60 C). For years, this temperature has been the standard. However, water at 140 F can cause third-degree burns within six seconds in most adults. Children and elderly can obtain third-degree burns in under one second due to the fact that they have thinner skin and slower response times. Third-degree burns are the most serious kind which damage all the layers of the skin.
However, in 2000, the Walkerton disaster sent out a wake-up call about the safety of Canada’s drinking water. To minimize bacteria contamination, we are now told that water must be stored at 140 F (60 C) or higher. For example, temperatures between 40 C and 50 C may increase the risk of Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia, due to bacterial growth in the tank. The bottom line is that water must be stored at a high temperature as a precaution against bacteria but it also needs to be delivered at a temperature which will not allow scalding.
How can this be achieved? The easiest solution calls for the installation of a mixing valve, which if required, can be installed by City Wide Water Heater Service. More information on mixing valves can be found by clicking on this link: tempering valves.
Below are some common sense tips which should be used on a daily basis:
Never leave a child alone while drawing water in a bathtub, and check the water temperature before putting your child in.
Test the water temperature before bathing or showering.
Turn the cold water on first, and then add hot water until the temperature is comfortable.
Teach children to turn the cold water on first, and the hot water off first.
If the water that comes out of your tap is too hot, you can install mixing valves in the plumbing lines to reduce the temperature of the water delivered at the tap by mixing in cooler water. The water in the water heater is still set at 140 F (60 C) or higher yet the water coming out of the faucets in the home cannot exceed your pre-set setting (approximately 120 F or lower).