How do I Keep my Pipes From Freezing?
The coldest part of winter is usually between November and April. During these months, temperatures are often below zero Fahrenheit. If you live in a city or town where it snows, then the snow will make things even colder!
A good way to stay warm during those frigid winters is with an insulated water heater. Water heating systems are essential to keeping your home warm. They use electricity to generate steam which turns a turbine and creates hot water for drinking, cooking, washing up and other uses. When the electric current passes through water molecules, they vibrate at different frequencies causing them all to move in slightly different directions. These vibrations cause heat energy to be transferred from one place to another.
An insulated water heater works just like a regular one except instead of using electricity to create steam, it uses electricity to turn a generator. The difference is that the water inside the boiler is heated instead of cooled. That’s why an insulated water heater keeps your house warmer than its non-insulated counterpart.
Insulation helps prevent condensation forming on the outside of your pipes and prevents ice crystals from forming on them. This process is called conduction. Heat energy travels from the warmer area (the water) to the cooler area (your body). There are two main types of water heaters used today: electric and gas. Gas water heaters work by using a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen to create bubbles inside a metal container, which causes the gases inside to expand creating pressure that pushes air out through holes in the top of the container. The hot gases are then channeled into the bottom half of the container where they heat up water that is being held there. As the water gets hotter, it rises up to meet more hot water coming in from a pipe coming from the bottom of the container. A pipe at the top of the container allows excess water to flow over and out of your house. The whole process works like a self-regulating machine, with more gas being forced into the container when the water is being heated up and less when it isn’t. A metal pipe comes out of the container at the top and goes through a hole in the ceiling or roof where it spouts out like a fountain. In the summertime, gas water heaters can be extremely expensive to run because you not only have to pay for the gas to heat it but also to keep the house cool as well because the process of heating water creates a lot of heat. This is why in the summertime, some people will switch their water heater off completely and just use electric hot water bottles or an electric coil system.
Electric water heaters work in a similar way except they use an electric instead of a gas flame to heat the water. An electric current is run through the metal container creating an even boiling process inside. These containers can be made of either steel or fiberglass and have a life span of about 10 to 15 years.
The average American household uses approximately 34 gallons of hot water every day. Behind the refrigerator and the clothes dryer, it is the third highest consumer of energy in a home.
The average person takes between 7 to 15 minutes to fill a bathtub and uses 40 gallons of water. The average cost for this with a gas heater is 33 cents, with an electric heater it is 48 cents. If a family of four took one bath a day, 5 days a week for 50 weeks at 40 gallons per person, the annual cost would be $72 for a gas heater and $120 for an electric heater.
The average annual water heating bill for a family is between $100 and $300. If a home uses more than this, then it would most likely be cost effective to install a tankless water heating system. This type of system is more expensive to install but the energy cost savings would quickly recover the initial outlay.
The tank itself is contained within a cabinet, which can be either mounted on the floor or on the wall. There are some models that can even be mounted under the counter, like a dishwasher. Most tanks hold between 30 and 80 gallons but on average most homes need at least a 40-gallon capacity.
Most models can be installed so that the tank is either above or below ground level, so this could be used as a reason to build it into an enclosed cabinet, giving it more protection from potential burglars. If the water is going to be stored below ground then the cabinet will need to have a concrete base with a hole cut into it so that the tank can be fitted and secured into place.
All water tanks need to be fitted with a cover, which has a hole in it for the fill pipe to go through. This helps to prevent dirt and debris from getting into the tank, which could cause a blockage later on. Most covers just sit on top of the tank but some you have to fit onto the top of the tank first and then slide down over the sides.
The ones that sit on the top of the tank can be secured in place with a few screws through the tank itself. Before you can fit a cover though, you need to make sure that there is a fill pipe and vent pipe through it first.
Before installing the tank you will need to check where the water source is because not all homes have a water line close by. You may have to have a line run from the nearest water main. The company that does this is called a plumber and they will charge you a few hundred dollars for the service, which can be expensive.
The other option is to drill a well. You can rent or even buy your own drill, which has to be deep enough to reach water. This will require some basic knowledge of drilling machinery and you will also need to be aware that you may not find water, which would mean that you have to pay for a plumber anyway.
You need to make sure that the tank is firmly secured into place and this can be done by either bolting it to the floor or wall of the cabinet or sinking it into a pre-made concrete base. The other thing you should do is make sure that the water level in the tank does not exceed the fill pipe. If it does, then any additional water pressure that builds up could cause the tank to split apart.
A water tank needs to be inspected once a year and the inside of it should be painted with an anti-corrosive paint once every 5 years. You can do this yourself or have it done through a maintenance company. If you do it yourself then you should consider investing in a good quality respirator to prevent you from inhaling the paint fumes.
Water Treatment System:
The first decision to make is whether you want a whole house or a point of use water treatment system.
Most people opt for a whole house system. These have filters that can either be removed for cleaning or they have membranes that regenerate automatically. The membranes need to be replaced every 2 to 5 years and the filters need to be cleaned or else they can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Having this type of system installed is more expensive but requires less maintenance.
Most point of use systems just attach to your tap and make it possible to get drinkable water from the faucet. These systems can be a little more expensive up front but they require very little maintenance. The filters need to be replaced every year or so depending on how much you use it but that is all.
Another decision to make is whether you want active or passive filtration.
Most whole house and most point of use systems have a mix of both types.
Most point of use systems rely on a cartridge filled with an active charcoal substance that removes chemicals, bad tastes and odors from the water.
Active charcoal filters can transform horrible tasting tap water into something that is actually quite acceptable.
You might find that the water from your tap has a slight chlorine taste and smell. If you do then you really need to install an active charcoal filter or else your water is going to taste quite horrible.
If the water is also cloudy then you should also install a sediment filter. These are less effective than the chlorine filters but are much cheaper to buy and maintain. You change these about twice a year.
If your water does not have a noticeable chlorine taste or smell then you can get away with just installing an activated carbon filter. These only need replacing every 2 years or so and they are quite cheap to do.
You can buy all of these filters on Amazon.
If you have very bad water then you might need to buy a reverse osmosis filter. These are quite expensive to initially buy and install but they remove the vast majority of all impurities found in water. They do require regular maintenance in the form of changing the filters, which are also expensive.
You should change them every 6 months or so depending on the quality of your water supply and how much you use the system.
You can buy these on Amazon.
If you live in an area with very bad water then you might want to seriously consider having a whole house water filtration system installed. These systems are quite expensive to buy and install but they can remove almost all impurities found in water. You can get them with both active and passive filters included as well as a reverse osmosis filter.
They require very little maintenance and can last upwards of 20 years.
If you do opt to have a whole house system installed then please make sure that the company installing it is reliable and has done this many times before. This is not a job to be taken lightly as getting the water pressure wrong can and does result in water gushing out and flooding parts of your house.
That’s everything I have to say on the subject. I hope this helps.
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