If you’re thinking of updating your house to be more energy-efficient, whether to save money or save the environment, you should consider a tankless water heater installation. It is a wise investment that can save you time, space, and no small amount of cash. But before taking the plunge — especially if you’re considering a DIY tankless water heater — here are a few things you should know.
What is a Tankless Water Heater?
Classic water heaters are large tanks that heat water slowly and then store it, ready to use. Tankless units are just that: tankless. Instead of storing already heated water, they heat up water only as needed, either through an electric element or via a gas connection. Using their flow sensing devices, the tankless units are only in use when the hot water is turned on, turning off when they no longer need to be working.
Why Install One?
Perhaps the most obvious draw of a tankless water heater installation is the promise of unlimited hot water. Unlike typical water heaters, these units aren’t dependent on a certain tank size. Any time that the hot water is turned on, the system heats only the amount of water necessary, no more and no less. This also translates to a lower overall cost. With a traditional tank, homeowners are paying to heat water that they’re not using.
Tankless units are especially practical for the homeowner looking to save some real estate with their square footage. For smaller homes or those with limited storage, a tankless water heater could mean the difference between a half bath or a full. And, along with these other benefits, the tankless water heater is a better choice for the environment as well, with its energy efficiency and small physical footprint.
Tankless Water Heater Installation
Before ripping out your old unit and installing a brand new tankless water heater, there are some considerations to be taken. First and foremost: This is not a beginner’s project. A tankless water heater install requires a lot of tools, skills, and time to make sure it’s done properly and safely. Before deciding to do it yourself, shop around a little bit. Contact a local expert and get a quote. Sometimes it’s actually more cost-efficient to hire someone to do it for you than it is to buy the necessary equipment, learn the techniques, and take the time to install it yourself. The most successful homeownership is finding the balance between doing it yourself and knowing when to bring in outside help.
DIY Step By Step
If you’ve decided to take on the task yourself, here is a basic guide to installing your own tankless water heater:
- Disconnect and remove your old water heater. Besides turning off the water, you’ll need to turn off the gas and power before completely draining the tank of all water and removing it from the space.
- Chances are the new water heater will need a larger gas line than your traditional tank used. You will need to get the correct width and length in order for the line to reach from the water heater to the gas meter.
- Install new hot and cold water lines that will connect to your home’s existing water lines. You can use a copper pipe to run the new lines to the water heater. Once the lines are tied, make sure to securely fasten your pipe against the wall with bell hangers before soldering the pipes together.
- Make sure to mount your tankless water heater about four inches from the wall. You can use 2X4’s to build a mount to hang the heater on. Ensure that the location is somewhere that ventilation won’t be a problem.
- Once securely in place, connect the water heater to your gas line. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully in regards to the plumbing and piping of the equipment. Fasten securely and then check for any leaks.
- Make sure that the tankless unit is close to a good ventilation spot, and then install the vent. If an exhaust hole isn’t already there, make sure to check for wiring before cutting into your walls.
- Turn her on! Once everything is set up, try it out and make sure everything is running smoothly. Check for leaks and make sure the water runs hot.
- Insulate the piping and wires, replace any shingles or drywall that needs patching, and stand back to admire your handy work.
Tankless water heaters can be an expensive and time-consuming investment, especially if you install it yourself. But the long term benefits of this new water heater, including financial savings, space savings, and environmental savings, should make it a strong consideration when the time comes to replace your current tank.
Do you ever find yourself using a hair dryer, watching a show, or warming up by a space heater just to be met with a localized blackout? When your breaker keeps tripping, it can be annoying and sometimes impossible to complete your daily routine. If your breaker keeps tripping, read on to know what it means, what’s causing it, and how to fix the problem for good.
Why do Breakers Trip?
The first thing to know is that a breaker tripping means that you’re being kept safe. The purpose of a circuit breaker is to help control and regulate the electrical flow in your home. If there is a chance of overheating, the breaker will trip, essentially stopping all of the power flow through that circuit. This helps to prevent blown fuses, damage to your wiring, or even potentially dangerous fires. So while it is certainly annoying to deal with, it’s also a relief to know that you’re being kept safe.
What Causes a Breaker to Trip?
Even with that being said, if your breaker keeps tripping it’s signaling that something is wrong with your electrical set up. There can be a number of reasons that prompt immediate action from your breakers to shut off and keep you safe. Some are quick fixes that involve adjusting your behavior or habits from within the house while others involve more extensive maintenance and electric work done by professionals. If you can’t confidently pinpoint why your breaker keeps tripping, always err on the side of caution. Call an electrician to evaluate the situation for you.
While it is definitely safest to consult an expert, there are some pretty common triggers for these annoying blackouts and being able to identify what’s causing the problem can aid in a quick (and hopefully inexpensive) fix.
Common Reasons that Breakers Trip
The electrical set up of any home can be complicated, especially for those without any formal training. But there are three very common causes that may explain why your breaker keeps tripping.
1) Overloaded circuit
Meaning: The most common culprit and, thankfully, the easiest to remedy, is simply having an overloaded circuit. This means that there are too many devices running too much power through the same circuit. This often happens when a hair dryer, which uses a relatively large number of amps to run, is plugged into the same circuit that other large appliances are using. Air conditioners, refrigerators, televisions, vacuums, and space heaters are common culprits.
Fix: The easiest solution is to turn off and unplug the item that is using too much power. If you have to dry your hair, turn off the heater. If the air conditioner needs to be blasting, dry your hair in another room that’s not on the same circuit. Time your day so that multiple appliances aren’t being used at the same time. An overloaded circuit could also be caused by an appliance that is overheating or working too hard due to a fault — like an air conditioner working overtime in the middle of August. Check the integrity of larger appliances to make sure that they’re working at their most efficient before plugging them back in.
2) Short Circuit
Meaning: A less likely but more dangerous explanation for a tripped breaker is a short circuit. Unlike an overloaded circuit which can be remedied by unloading some of the power running through that line, a short circuit is a wiring mishap. It happens when one of the hot wires touches a neutral wire in the outlet. This creates a huge surge of energy that flows through the circuit, overheating it, and causing the breaker to trip. It can be caused by old wiring, a broken appliance or plug, or animals chewing on the wiring.
Fix: First, you’ll need to find where the short circuit is. Identify which plugs have been affected and look for a dark discoloration around the outlet or even smell for smoke or burning. Even though the breaker is tripped, it is still dangerous to mess with faulty wires, so make sure to consult a professional electrician to help you rewire the outlet.
3) Ground Fault
Meaning: The third most-common cause of a tripped breaker is a ground fault. Instead of the hot wire touching a neutral wire like a short circuit, in a ground fault, the hot wire touches the bare copper of a ground wire or part of the box connected to it. This happens when the electrical equipment is faulty and prone to unexpected and uncontrolled contact.
Fix: Like a short circuit, a professional should definitely be contacted. A ground fault is very dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that many areas have strict requirements to keep homes safe when it comes to the grounding of certain circuits and outlets. If your outlets look normal and there is no overloading, contact an electrician to look for a possible ground fault.
A tripped breaker can be annoying and potentially dangerous. Before running straight to the breaker panel and flipping that breaker back to “on,” make sure that you discover the cause of the power overload and consult a professional if necessary. After all, electricity can be tricky, and safety should always be your number-one priority.
A flooded basement is a real concern for many homeowners. Descending your cellar stairs to find an indoor swimming pool can lead to worries of water damage, mold, and ruined personal belongings. And standing water is a breeding ground for some pretty nasty bacterias and fungi. It’s not necessarily a lost cause, though.
The first step to take when you notice a flooded basement is to turn off the electricity that may be affected by the water. You and your family’s safety is the number-one priority. Next, determine where the water is coming from. If it’s a broken pipe from faulty plumbing, shut off the water. If it’s from a storm, wait until the storm is over to attempt any kind of cleanup.
Once you’ve stopped the water (or Mother Nature has), get rid of that standing water. Some foundations have a drain built in to help minimize damage during a basement flooding. If your basement has one but there is still water, check to make sure it’s not clogged by debris. This is a quick and efficient way to rid the area of unwanted water. If there is no drain, then the water needs to be pumped out. A sump pump or pool pump can help to get the water out. You may have a sump pump already installed or could get one from a local hardware store. If it’s a relatively small area with a manageable amount of water, a wet/dry vacuum or simple mop could be sufficient. No matter what method you use, make sure to wear waders, gloves, and face masks to keep yourself safe. Once the water is more or less gone, it’s time to take inventory, asses any water damage, and establish the next best step.
Save Your Belongings
Because many people use their basement for storage, a flood can jeopardize the integrity of a lot of personal belongings. Once the water is gone, quickly remove everything from the wet area and place it all in a preferably sunny, warm, and dry environment. Books, clothing, and pictures can be placed on blankets in front and backyards. Generally, a solid 48 hours in the sun is best when drying out smaller items. If the flood has affected anything electronic, like a television or stereo, do not move those outside. For safety reasons, allow them to dry completely in place before attempting to move or asses damage.
Once you’ve cleared the flooded basement of water and personal belongings, it’s time to clean it up. If your basement is carpeted, rip up any area that was affected. Carpet can trap in water and create harmful mold if left untouched for too long. Remove any drywall or insulation that was underwater as these can also become infected with harmful bacteria and mold. Air circulation is the best way to dry out the space. Open any windows you can, use fans to get the air moving, and use a dehumidifier to help get rid of any excess moisture. A flooded basement will usually bring a lot of dirt, mud, and grime with it. Once the water is out, make sure to clean the floor and the walls thoroughly so that restoration is clean and safe.
The water is out, your belongings are dry, and the damaged flooring, walls, and insulation have been removed. Now comes the most daunting part: damage restoration. Before paying for expensive repairs or putting in a lot of work yourself, make sure the problem is fixed. Consult your insurance company and let them know what’s happened (A simple “my basement is flooded” may be the best way to start that conversation). If you have flood insurance they will be able to help with any costly repairs, but even if you don’t, it’s good to touch base to see exactly what kind of help you can expect. Finally, fix any broken plumbing issues, or contact a waterproofing specialist to ensure that your basement is fully waterproof in preparation for the next incident.
Home ownership is a challenge, but a rewarding one. Preparing for the storms is just as important as knowing how to clean up after them. Don’t let a flooded basement scare you away from buying a house. With these tips you’ll be able to handle anything thrown at you.
Before you take the plunge and purchase a home, here are some stats on home ownership you’ll want to keep in mind.
- The average lifespan of a clothes washer and dryer is 13 years (Nationwide)
- The average lifespan of a dishwasher is 12 years (Nationwide)
- The average lifespan of a stove is 20 years (Nationwide)
- The average lifespan of a water heater is 11 years (Nationwide)
- The average lifespan of a refrigerator is 14 years (Nationwide)
- The average lifespan of a furnace is 18 years (Nationwide)
- The average lifespan of a central air system is 11 years (Nationwide)
- Homes that use ENERGY STAR appliances save an average of $80 per year (Nationwide)
- ENERGY STAR appliances consume 10-15% less water and energy than standard models (Nationwide)
- The energy used in homes accounts for the third largest use of energy in the U.S. (Connect4Climate.org)
- 65% of residential energy consumption is used and 35% is wasted (Connect4Climate.org)
- In 2017, the average time a home was on the market fell to a record low of only 3 weeks (National Association of Realtors ®)
- In 2017, first-time home buyers accounted for 34% of all home buyers (National Association of Realtors ®)
- Home remodeling only increases home value by 57% of the average project’s costs
- The home remodeling upgrade with the largest return on investment is the kitchen (Remodeling Magazine)
- The average cost of a bathroom remodel is $10,500, and the average ROI is 102% (DRM Investments LTD)
- 13% of pre-owned homes are “for sale by owner” (DRM Investments LTD)
- Two thirds of the cost of home improvement projects goes directly to increasing the home’s value (HGTV)
- In 2016, 88% of recent home buyers financed their purchase, and the average financed amount was 90%. (National Association of Realtors ®)
- In 2016, 66% of recent home buyers were married couples, 17% were single females, 7% were single males, and 8% were unmarried couples (National Association of Realtors ®)
- In 2016, 2% of recent home buyers are active-duty service members, and 18% are veterans (National Association of Realtors ®)
- In 2016, the usual buyer was 44 years of age, with a median household income of $88,500 (National Association of Realtors ®)
- In 2016, two-thirds of recent buyers were married, 17% were single women, and 7% were single men, with 8% being unmarried couples (National Association of Realtors ®)
- In 2016, 11% of home buyers bought a multi-generational home in order to care for elderly parents, save money, and house older children (National Association of Realtors ®)
- Households in the U.S. expended close to $15.9 billion on gardening and lawn care services in 2015 (LawnStarter)
- 57% of Americans erroneously think that if a lawn is not green, it means it is not healthy (BusinessWire)
- Around two thirds of all water use in every household goes to watering the lawn (Plowz & Mowz)
- It’s said that turfgrass can boost a home’s property value by 15 to 20% (Plowz & Mowz)
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend 73 hours each year doing yard work (Bankrate)
- Nearly 65,000 people have to go to the hospital each year due to lawn-mowing related injuries (Plowz & Mowz)
- Retail sales of lawn and garden supplies in the United States are expected in 2019 to reach $6.6 billion (LawnStarter)
- As of 2018, it’s estimated that the landscaping and lawn care market is at $88 billion in revenue (IBISWorld)
- The average cost to hire a weekly lawn mowing service is around $53 (Pro Referral)
- Pest control costs anywhere from $50 for animal removal to $1,200 or more for termite extermination and repair (Fixr)
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the standard U.S. family spends an average of $2,060 annually for home utility bills (Energy Star)
- Ceiling fans help save on utilities by enabling you to keep your thermostat two degrees lower in the winter and two degrees higher in the summer (The Simple Dollar)
- Replacing a home’s five most used light bulbs with Energy Star varieties could save you up to $75 each year (Energy Saver)
- In 2017, an estimated 273 billion kilowatthours of electricity were used by the U.S. residential and commercial sectors for lighting (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
- Implementing upgrades suggested in a home energy audit could save you 5 to 30% on your utility bills each year (Energy Saver)
- In 2016, there were around 70.8 million smart electricity meters installed in the U.S. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
Real Estate Market
- In 2017, more than 5.5 million existing homes were sold (National Association of Realtors ®)
- In 2017, 612 thousand newly-constructed homes sold (U.S. Census Bureau)
- In 2016, the median new home size in the United States was 2,467 square feet, 61% larger than 40 years ago (The Wall Street Journal)
- Median home has increased every decade in the U.S. since 1940 (ActiveRain, Inc.)
- Those purchasing a new home often pay 2% to 5% of the overall purchase price just in closing costs (Investopedia)
- The all-time high for mortgage rates was a whopping 18.45% in October 1981 (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)
- It’s estimated that the U.S. has 5 times more vacant houses than homeless people (Truthdig)
- Two-thirds of United States homes are occupied by their owner, with all the others being rentals (ActiveRain, Inc.)
- In 2018, mortgage rates at one time averaged 4.33% on a 30-year fixed mortgage, which was among one of the lower mortgage rates in history (Interest.com)
- In 2009, the United States recorded more foreclosures than marriages (Hartford Courant)
- The FHFA states that the average price of a home in the U.S. increased by 34.71% from 2013 to 2017 (Investopedia)
- The median home price for a married couple in 2016 was $208,500 (The New York Times)
General Home Maintenance
- In the United States, homeowners spend an average of $9,080 on hidden expenses that like home improvement and taxes (MarketWatch)
- Home maintenance costs including heating and A/C maintenance, gutter cleaning, pressure washing, yard work, and carpet cleaning cost an average of $3,021 per year (Zillow)
- The National Fire Protection Association says that improper dryer cleaning may lead to the 15,000 annual dryer fires they respond to (National Fire Protection Association)
- A leaky faucet can result in a gallon of wasted water per week (Oliver Heating & Cooling)
- Homeowners spend an average of 1 to 4% of a home’s value each year on repairs and maintenance (U.S. News)
- U.S. households spend on average $1,506 per year on home furnishings like carpet, flooring, appliances, and furniture (The Nest)
- The average cost of appliance repair in the United States is $170 (HomeAdvisor
- It costs a minimum of $2000 to have professional roofers replace your roof, with prices reaching upwards of $8500 (Angie’s List)
- To replace your home’s foundation it’ll cost an average of $4,436, with maximum prices being more than $10,000 (HomeAdvisor)
- The national average for water damage repair and cleanup is $2,599 (HomeAdvisor)
- The national average for wind damage repair is $7,229 (HomeAdvisor)
- The national average for fire & smoke damage repair is $12,727 (HomeAdvisor)
- 37% of realtors say their clients see smart home devices or locks on as very important (National Association of Realtors ®)
- A slim 15% of American households have a home security system, and only 54% of those homes understand how to use them (Statistic Brain)
- In the United States, a burglary happens every 15 seconds (Jacksonville State University)
- Burglaries often occur at a higher rate in summer and a lower rate in winter and spring (U.S. Department of Justice)
- The average estimated monetary loss resulting from a burglary in the United States is a little more than $2,000 (Jacksonville State University)
- In 28% of burglaries a member of the household is present (U.S. Department of Justice)
- The risk of your residence being robbed is higher for rental properties than properties owned by occupants (FBI)
- It’s expected that by 2020, there will be 22 million people using smart security (NextMarket Insights)
- According to the FBI, the number of burglaries reported in the United States decreased by 28% from 2006 to 2015 (FBI)
- Of burglaries reported in 2015, 72% were on residential property (FBI)
- The most common way burglars enter is by destroying or removing a door (U.S. Department of Justice)
- Home security systems that use a GSM chip cost $40 to $60 per month (ProtectAmerica)
Home Ownership Benefits
- 88% of people who currently own homes say homeownership is a positive experience (HouseLogic)
- 86% of homeowners say the income tax benefits of home ownership are a key reason to buy (ActiveRain, Inc.)
- It’s estimated that a homeowner’s net worth is 34 times higher than a renter’s (HouseLogic)
- 9 in 10 homeowners believe that owning a home is part of the American Dream (National Association of Realtors ®)
- 72% of renters agree that over a time span of many years, it is smarter to own a home than to rent (HouseLogic)
- Those who own homes are reported as healthier physically and psychologically than non-owners (National Association of Realtors ®)