How Cincinnati Homeowners Can Prepare Their Home Water Heater for Winter

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Taking the time to prepare a water heater for winter can save you money and prevent daily hassles with your hot water tap. The cold Cincinnati winters make it harder for your water heater to do its job. If you don’t help it out a little, it will use more energy than necessary trying to keep your water hot and it may not provide enough hot water at all.

Improve Insulation

If the water heater is warm to the touch, it’s wasting energy. To improve its energy efficiency, install a water heater insulating blanket. These are available for both gas and electric models. The utilities company may offer these at a low cost or you can find them at home improvement stores. Installation is simply a matter of cutting the blanket to size and taping it in place.

Cold pipes can also prevent you from getting sufficiently hot water out of your taps. If your pipes run through uninsulated or cold spaces, such as the garage or an exterior wall, insulate the pipes. Heat tape and pipe insulation tubing are both good options. This upgrade also reduces the risk of frozen pipes.

Upgrade Water Heater Location

Insulation will only go so far if the water heater is stuck in a cold room. For water heaters in garages, attics and even closets, this is often the case. Check around the room for drafts, particularly around exterior windows and doors, baseboards, electrical outlets and pipe penetrations. If find drafts, use caulk or weatherstripping as appropriate to seal the air leaks.

If there are no noticeable drafts but the room is colder than the rest of the house, consider adding insulation to the walls. By using loose-fill (blown-in) insulation, you can do this without having to tear open the whole wall. Routine water heater maintenance, such as flushing the tank, also keeps the water heating system efficient.

For more professional tips on how to prepare a water heater for winter and improve your home’s energy efficiency, contact us at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing in the greater Cincinnati area.

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"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
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