Birmingham Home Inspectors Blog

November 5th, 2018 9:12 AM

Like many items in the house, water heaters are not designed to last for the life of the house. So inevitably one day everyone’s water heater will need replacement. So, what water heater should you use to replace it? There are many different options today to change the water heater out with. Let’s look at some of the different type of water heaters we commonly see installed during our inspections.

Gas hot water heater: We find this style of hot water heater all day long and this probably makes up the bulk of what we see. One downside to this style is that energy is lost by keeping the water heated in the water heater all day and night. The upside however, is the price of gas is relatively inexpensive so this amounts to little money every month. A common problem people run into when replacing their hot water heater is that there are inevitably issues with the flue pipe or chimney. This can sometimes increase the cost of replacement for a standard gas water heater substantially.

Electric hot water heater: Next to gas water heaters, this is the style we find most commonly installed. These can be very easy to install as there is no flue pipe to deal with. Commonly, when there is a flue pipe issue a solution might be to come back with an electric water heater. While electric water heater are typically more energy efficient, electricity being more expensive than gas causes them to be more expensive to run every month. The recovery time on electric water heater typically lags behind that of gas ones as well.  

Powervent hot water heater: These are gas hot water heaters that essentially utilize a fan to push the hot water heater gases through a plastic flue pipe. The biggest advantage to these guys is the flue pipe does not have to go out through the roof. It can go straight through the side of the house to discharge to the exterior. These can be a great option when trying replace an existing gas water heater that has expensive issues.

Tankless hot water heater: These guys are all the rage these days and capture the most attention from our clients. They are usually gas and are highly efficient. They only heat the water used instead of the older style which constantly heats 40 gallons (or more depending the time you use) thus saving you money. Unfortunately, this water heater can be triple the cost of a traditional water heater installation. Sometimes it can take several minutes for the water to turn hot. The benefit claimed by manufacturers is unlimited hot water. However, there is research questioning how many fixtures can be turned on simultaneously or what temperature you need to have the hot water heater set too, to maintain the designed temperature or the amount of fixtures running.

These are all the different options for some commonly found hot water heaters. There are other styles of course but these are the ones we find the most. As you can tell, it really depends on the installation and house hold for which one would fit you the best.   

Posted by Edward Griffith on November 5th, 2018 9:12 AMLeave a Comment

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Five Gifts For The New Homeowner This Holiday Season

One of the many great things about being a Home Inspector in Birmingham, Al is the ability to test out so many of the years great new gadgets that pop up. We get to see the new stuff in the houses and then put it through the ropes. The following are some of the cool things that we have started seeing that would make great gifts!

1. WIFI Thermostat

    We cannot say enough great things about WIFI thermostats. I can hardly remember what life was like before mine. The idea behind this feature is that your thermostat connects to the internet and then, using an app on your phone, you can control the temperature of your house from anywhere you have service. It is a great feeling to be driving home from Christmas tree shopping and be able to turn the heat on before we get there.

2. Ring Doorbell

   This one is more modern than the WIFI thermostat. The Ring Doorbell has a camera, speaker and motion sensor in the doorbell. When the doorbell is rung or the motion sensor activated a message gets sent to your phone. From your phone you get a live stream of who is at your door and even talk to them if you wish. Pretty useful for the times you aren't expecting company.

3. Little Giant Ladder

   These ladders are fantastic. They can help you get into some really tight places. Because they can configure into so many different sizes you really only need the one ladder so you don't have to worry about storing a variety of size ladders anymore. We use this ladder all day everyday for work and it just keeps on ticking. We give this ladder huge applause and they are must haves for any homeowner.

4. Patio Heaters/ Fire pits

    Patio heaters and fire pits make fantastic gifts in the Christmas season as the weather starts too cool down. Fire pits are great fun to hang out around in the back yard during football season. Patio heaters put off a surprising amount of heat making the short winter spell that we have in Alabama all that much more tolerable while outside.

5. Cordless Drill

   Last but not least is the cordless drill. The advances in cordless drill technology have been great. The batteries have gotten better and better allowing for some pretty significant usage before recharge is needed. This is a must have for any new home owner, especially first time ones.

Posted in:General and tagged: Birmingham Home inspector
Posted by on November 30th, 2017 3:12 PMLeave a Comment

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