Hartford & Ratliff Co., Inc. has been servicing and installing residential and light commercial hot water heaters in the Metro Detroit area since 1955. Our Technicians have serviced thousands of units over the years and are familiar with most every brand and model. With this extensive knowledge and well stocked trucks, backed with a warehouse carrying thousands of parts, your unit can be repaired quickly and efficiently. Our Technicians will quote you a price prior to starting the work and inform you as the job progresses.
If your water heater is ready for replacement, whether gas or electric, we have several brands and models we have field tested to meet your needs effectively.
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When selecting the best type and model of water heater for your home, consider the following:
Fuel type, availability and cost. The fuel type or energy source you use for water heating will not only affect the water heater's annual operation costs but also its size and energy efficiency. See below for more on selecting fuel types.
Size. To provide your household with enough hot water and to maximize efficiency, you need a properly sized water heater. Visit the pages on different types of water heaters (linked above) for more on sizing.
Energy efficiency. To maximize your energy and cost savings, you want to know how energy efficient a water heater is before you purchase it. Visit the pages on different types of water heaters (linked above) for more on estimating energy efficiency.
Costs. Before you purchase a water heater, it's also a good idea to estimate its annual operating costs and com- pare those costs with other less or more energy-efficient models. Visit the pages on different types of water heaters (linked above) for more on estimating costs.
Also be sure to do what you can to reduce your hot water use. You may also want to explore other strategies such as drain-water heat recovery to save money on your water heating bill.
When selecting a new water heater, it's important to consider what fuel type or energy source you will use, including its availability and cost. The fuel used by a water heating system will not only affect annual operation costs but also the water heater's size and energy efficiency.
Fuel type and its availability in your area may narrow your water heater choices. The following is a list of water heater options by fuel or energy source:
Electricity Widely available in the United States to fuel conventional storage, tankless or demand-type, and heat pump water heaters. It also can be used with combination water and space heating systems, which include tankless coil and indirect water heaters.
Fuel oil Available in some areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage water heaters, and indirect combination water and space heating systems. Rarely used in the Metro Detroit area.
Geothermal energy Available throughout the United States to those who will have or already have a geothermal heat pump system installed in their homes for space heating and cooling. Initial expense can be high and you need space for the piping around your home. Best for area with large lots or acreage.
Heat Pump Water Heaters These are popular in warmer climates where the heater may be in a garage. Not practical for the typical basement application.
Natural gas Available in many areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage and demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heaters, as well as combination water and space heating systems, which include tankless coil and indirect water heaters. With natural gas available in almost all areas of the Metro Detroit area this is usually the best choice for a homeowner.
Propane Available in many areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage and demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heaters, as well as indirect combination water and space heating systems. An option if natural gas is not available.
Solar energy Available throughout the United States -- most abundantly in the Southwest -- for solar water heaters.
If you have more than one fuel type available in your area, it's a good idea to compare fuel costs, especially if you're building a new home. Even if you're replacing a water heater, you may find that you'll save more money in the long run if you use a different fuel or energy source. Contact us to help you make a wise fuel choice. The type of water heater you choose will also affect your water heating costs. One type of water heater may use a fuel type more efficiently than another type of water heater. For example, an electric heat pump water heater typically is more energy efficient than an electric conventional storage water heater. Also, an electric heat pump water heater might have lower energy costs because of its higher efficiency than a gas-fired conventional storage water heater, even though local natural gas costs might be lower than the electricity rates.
There is no structural difference between a Super and Standard water heater. The difference is in the insulation, components used, and warranty options. A Super-efficient tank will generally have a much higher efficiency rating, better components, and most likely a larger anode rod. The warranty will cover manufacturer’s defects for a longer period of time. Many energy companies offer a mail-in rebate if you buy a Super-efficient tank.
Tankless or “on demand” water heaters are a great option for some people. However, they won’t do well in many applications. Tankless units do not store heated water like a tank style, they heat the water seconds before it comes out your faucet. Many factors must be considered to determine if a Tankless style unit is right for you. We offer estimates to help you make an informed decision. Call today for more details
When water is heated it expands. If your system is “open” then water can back-flow into the water main and this extra expanded water simply flows out of your home back out your cold pipe.
More and more, home plumbing systems are being closed off and back-flow prevention valves are being placed between homes and the water main. This is done for a variety of reasons.
If your system is “closed”, then this means when you heat your water and it expands, this increased volume has nowhere to go. This causes sudden increases in water pressure which can damage your water heater, fixtures and other appliances.
A thermal expansion tank is a pressurized tank that sits on your cold line – typically near or on your water heater. The tank contains a pressurized bladder. As water expands, it pushes against this bladder giving the increased volume a place to go, preventing rapid pressure increases due to thermal expansion.
Expansion tanks are currently recommended by all major water heater manufacturers. In fact, expansion tanks are required by state code if your system is closed in most of the states where we work. Local enforcement of this code varies from city to city.
Our technician will test your system to determine if it is open or closed. If your system is closed, installing an expansion tank may lengthen – and in some cases double – the life of your water heater by preventing wear and tear. In addition, if your home has a history of leaky faucets or other appliances that wear out prematurely, an expansion tank may fix your problem.
Most manufacturers also make a gas water heater model that is called “High Input”. These models have a much higher BTU rating, which will substantially cut down the heating recovery time. We sell “Quick Recovery” and “High Input” water heaters. “Quick Recovery” water heaters usually refer to electric water heaters that are equipped with dual elements. This allows the upper element to heat a much smaller volume of water (about 1/4 of the tank’s capacity) before the lower element takes over. This provides a small amount of usable hot water quickly while you wait for the bulk of the water to heat.
Hartford & Ratliff Co., Inc. provides a basic, standard and best warranty. Our basic warranty consists of the manufacturer’s standard warranty which usually covers the tank against rupture for 6 years, parts* for 6 years, and labor for 1 year. Our standard warranty extends the manufacturer’s warranty to 10 years on the tank and parts* and 1 year for labor. Our best warranty option covers the tank and parts* for 15 years and labor for 1 full year.
When Hartford & Ratliff Co., Inc. installs a 15 year warranty tank, we also provide additional corrosion protection for the tank by incorporating a second anode rod. This will increase the lifespan of your tank and ensure that it will provide years of care-free service.
Our customer service representatives can help you select the best warranty for your home.
* “Parts” include water heater components only. Items like thermal expansion tanks, drain pans, shut-off valves, etc. are not considered components of the water heater and are covered under their own limited warranty. Ask your technician to explain the warranty on non-component items.
Easy. Contact us and we can help you find the age of your existing tank.248-471-3110.
Your hot water tank’s per hour hot water production depends on your groundwater temperature and the temperature degree rise that you require. A good rule of thumb is that a standard residential gas water heater will produce approximately 35-45 gallons per hour (GPH) of hot water. High Input gas models will provide about 50-60 GPH. Electric water heaters with 4500-watt elements heats approximately 18-25 GPH.
Your water heater’s dip tube is a plastic tube that sends the incoming cold water to the bottom of the tank to prevent it from mixing with the hot water going to your faucets. This helps the tank heat more efficiently and promotes energy efficiency. There was a period of time when dip tubes were defective (in particular for water heaters manufactured between 1993-1997).
Faulty dip tubes disintegrate slowly, and the particles and chunks clog up faucets, aerators and other plumbing fixtures.
If you experience this problem, we recommend that you replace your water heater tank as it can be very difficult to remove the disintegrated particles form the old tank and they can continue to clog up your plumbing fixtures.
The time it takes to get hot water from the water heater to the faucet depends on the distance the hot water must travel in the pipes. If you have a faucet that is more than 20 feet from the water heater, you may need to run water more than 20 seconds before it comes out hot.
This can be frustrating for a home owner and also wastes water.
To solve this problem, some homes have a built in re-circulation system which circulates hot water through the hot water pipes and back to the water heater. With a re-circulation system, you have hot water instantly when you open a faucet. If you are interested in a re-circulation system, Hartford & Ratliff Co., Inc. can help.
Prior to 2003, most gas water heaters had an open combustion chamber which allowed the owner to relight the pilot with a match. This presented a danger as hot water heaters in areas where other combustibles such as gasoline or propane caused spontaneous combustion and were a both a risk to your home and safety.
Residential water heaters manufactured after 2003 are “F.V.I.R.” (Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant) compliant. For the most part, this means that the combustion chamber is now sealed. In order to light the water heater, you must use the pilot mechanism and you can no longer use a match.
Due to this change, new water heaters are significantly safer than water heaters manufactured before 2003.
If you have a gas water heater, check to see if your pilot light has gone out. If so, try relighting the pilot, or call 248-471-3110 and one of our water heater experts would be happy to walk you through the process.
If you have an electric water heater, try resetting the unit or checking to see if your breaker switch has been flipped to the off position; you can also turn the breaker switch off and then on. If you need help determining what is wrong with your water heater and why you’re not getting any hot water, give us a call!
Try to determine where the leak is coming from. If it looks like it’s coming from the bottom of the tank, and not from anywhere on top, it could mean that your water heater lining has been compromised. Unfortunately, this isn’t an issue you can repair, so you may need to think about replacing your water heater. While some homeowners will let a tank leak slowly for several days to weeks or months before they replace the water heater, we advise taking care of the problem before it develops into a more significant leak.
What you’re hearing is a result of thermal expansion. Due to sediment that often settles at the bottom of your tank, heat has more difficulty leaving the bottom of the water heater. These sounds shouldn’t immediately concern you, but it does mean that the water heater is probably working harder than it should, which could shorten the life of the tank, and will definitely lead to a less efficient tank that costs more to operate.
High water pressure can damage water heaters, piping, and appliances. If the water pressure entering your home is above 80 psi, you should consider installing a pressure reducing valve to limit the incoming pressure. High water pressure is an unexpected but common culprit in reducing the useful life of your water heater.
Rust on the outside of your tank is often just an indication of an old water heater. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the inside lining of your water heater is compromised, but you might want to have it looked at. If it’s more than 15 years old, replacing your water heater can be a preventative measure to save you from a very messy (or wet) situation.
Homeowners and installers used to install blankets on water heaters to provide an extra layer of insulation, allowing the water heater to retain heat and operate more efficiently. These days, manufacturers are building extra insulation into the tank itself, so blankets are no longer recommended. And, more than anything, some consider them to be a fire hazard.
The first hour rating is a measurement of how much hot water you can get out of your water heater per hour (starting with a full tank of hot water). As you use hot water, your water heater is able to heat new incoming water at a rate known as the recovery rate. Typically gas water heaters have a much higher recovery rate than electric water heaters, so while a 40 gallon gas water heater can have a first hour rating of around 70 gallons, a 40 gallon electric water heater might only produce 50 gallons of hot water in an hour and have a 50-gallon first hour rating.
Whether you realized it or not, it’s highly likely that the foul-smelling odor you smell in your water is coming from your water heater. If there is a low amount of chlorine in your city water, there may be odor-causing bacteria that are producing this unpleasant smell when they encounter sulfates produced by corrosion. Sanitizing your water heater and piping, replacing old plumbing with copper, or replacing the anode rod could help, but you also need to consider replacing the water heater. It is possible that the odor-causing bacteria could cause health issues, so if the odor is particularly bad, consider getting some help from a professional.
Shutting off your water heater when you go away and taking shorter showers is the best way to save money and energy with regards to your water heater. Remember, you pay to heat the water you use in your shower, your dishwasher, and your laundry machine. Replacing an old, inefficient water heater with a new Energy Star tank or tankless water heater can help save up to $100 per year on the typical home’s water heating costs.
Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties in the Metro Detroit Area