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Make sure water heater is ready for cold days


As the weather gets colder, the demand for hot water in the home increases. Usually, the extra demand is used in the bathroom.

“We find that people use twice as much hot water in the winter as they do in the summer,” said Mark Ratliff of Hartford and Ratliff, Hartford and Ratliff, (248) 471-3110, “Most of that is from taking showers.”

Your hot water tank may not be up to the task of providing the extra hot water needed in the winter.

“Hot water may take time to reach your shower or faucets, especially if the shower is the farthest away from the hot water tank, like a second floor bathroom,” Ratliff said.

“To get your hot water to the faucet faster, install a hot water recirculation system from Grundfos ( and it costs around $600 to $700 for us to install,” he said.

Simple ways to increase the availability of hot water is to turn it off as quickly as possible when you are done using it, such as when shaving, washing your hands or rinsing the dishes. Use cold water when it will do the job as well as hot, when washing clothes.

Water heaters do need replacement over time, and getting a new, more efficient model may solve a lot of your hot water problems. Today there are plenty of options to consider when choosing hot water heating systems. The typical 40 or 50 gallon hot water tank is still the most common, and Ratliff said the 40-gallon models can be installed for around $1,100.

One option that you may want to consider for continuous hot water is a tankless water heater that heats water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit where it is heated and delivered to the faucet or shower. And they are more energy efficient than traditional tank systems.

While the tankless water heaters may look like the panacea of hot water systems, there are two things to consider. First, the idea that these systems provide “instantaneous” hot water is not true, because it can still take 15 to 20 seconds for the hot water to get to your faucet or shower head. Second is the cost.

“A tankless water heater installed starts at between $3,000 and $3,500, so that is more than double the cost of a 40-gallon standard hot water heater,” Ratliff said.

Manufacturers of tankless systems are Navien,; Rinnai,; an all-electric model is made by Trutankless,

After checking these facts, and you decide that it is time to replace your water heater, get one that will provide you with all the hot water you need when you want it.

Note: This article was accurate at the date of publication. However, information contained in it may have changed. If you plan to use the information contained herein for any purpose, verification of its continued accuracy is your responsibility.

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