DENVER WATER HEATERS: PASSIVE SOLAR WATER HEATERS

denver-thermosiphon-solar-water-heaterColorado is known for its sunny weather, and now is the best time to put that sunlight to good use. Energy costs fluctuate constantly, while sunlight will always remain free, making solar water heating an excellent economic choice.

There are two types of solar water heaters: active and passive. Both rely on the sun to heat the water in your home, but what distinguishes the two is how the water is moved toward the sunlight. Active systems rely on a pump to manually move the water to the roof or solar collector, whereas a passive system does not. In this article we will be discussing passive solar water heaters. All Solar water heaters have two basic parts. These parts include an insulated storage tank and a solar collector. A solar collector is the unit where the water is moved to and heated by the sun. Solar collectors come in several varieties; however they all absorb the energy from sunlight and transfer that energy to the water or another heating medium. After the water is heated, it must be stored until it is used. An insulated storage tank is most commonly used. This tank closely resembles a tank type water heater, and performs many of the same functions.

Passive solar water heaters are slightly less efficient than the average active solar water heater. However, what a passive solar heating system lacks in efficiency it makes up for it in reliability and long life. Passive heaters are typically less costly than an active system as well.

Passive solar water heaters come in two varieties: integral collector storage (ICS), and thermosiphon (sometimes spelled “thermosyphon”) systems.

Integral collector storage systems keep the water storage tank located below the solar collector. Cold water flows into the solar collector, where it is heated by the sun, then drawn down into the storage tank below. Integral collector systems work best in areas where the outside temperature rarely falls below freezing. They are also best suited for households with daytime and evening hot water use.

The second type of passive solar water heater is the thermosiphon type. In contrast to integral collector storage systems, thermosiphon systems keep the storage tank located above the solar collector. How does this type work? The answer is due to the fact that cold water sinks and hot water rises. When the water is heated, it will move upward, into the tank, while the cold water will leave the bottom of the tank where it is heated by the solar collector below. This method moves the hot water into the tank and the cold water out without using a pump.

With every solar water heater, a backup heater is needed for very cloudy days or days when a large amount of water is required. This is most commonly done by a tank type water heater, but could also be done with a more efficient tankless water heater.

Call 303-421-2161 to reach YOUR Denver Plumbing Company: Blue Sky Plumbing.

We service Applewood, Cherry Hills, Arvada, Golden, Evergreen and the entire Metro Denver area.

DENVER WATER HEATERS: ACTIVE SOLAR WATER HEATERS

denver-solar-water-heaters-installation-repair-replacementNo matter where you live there is at least one energy source that will always be free. It can’t be stored and no one can own it or supply it. That energy comes from the sun. So if it’s free, why not use it to heat your water? Solar water heaters do just that.

There are essentially two types of solar water heaters: passive and active. The difference between the two types is how liquid is circulated. An active system has circulating pumps and controls, while a passive system doesn’t. In this article, we will be discussing active solar water heaters.

Active solar water heaters also have different types. The two types are direct and indirect. The difference between the two is how water is heated. Both systems consist of a solar collector and an insulated storage tank. In a direct system, water is pumped up into the solar collector on the roof. The solar collector looks similar to a solar panel and is located on the roof of your home where the most sunlight is available. The solar collector is made of various material and come in a variety of setups, each one with its own unique abilities. When the water is moved into the solar collector, heat is transferred from the solar collector to the water. The water is then moved into an insulated storage tank inside the house, where it awaits use. Because the water travels outside the house during this process, his system is best suited for areas where the temperature doesn’t fall below freezing.

The second type of active system is an indirect system. Here, water is heated indirectly through a heat transfer fluid. This system resembles the direct system in every way aside from what liquid is being pumped. In lieu of water, a heat transfer fluid is sent through the solar collector and is then moved to the storage tank. However, instead of moving into the plumbing system, the fluid is run through pipes inside the tank, heating the water inside. This method allows for heat transfer to the water, without the water actually moving to the roof where it can become frozen during cold weather.

Most solar water heating systems require a backup conventional water heater. This allows for hot water at nighttime, on days which are not sunny, and on days where the hot water demand is greater than what the solar heating system can provide.

Due to the energy savings that they provide, solar water heaters usually pay for themselves within 4 to 8 years. After that, your solar water heater will produce nearly free hot water. Solar water heaters may also qualify for federal tax rebates as well as Colorado GEO rebates.

Call 303-421-2161 to reach YOUR Denver Plumbing Company: Blue Sky Plumbing.

We service Applewood, Cherry Hills, Arvada, Golden, Evergreen and the entire Metro Denver area.

DENVER PLUMBER EXTRAORDINAIRE: MATT GLICK

denver-faucet-fix-repair-installationRunning a restaurant is no walk in the park. There are hard-to-please customers, unforgiving owners, lousy cooks at times, and on some days, long hours with few tips for those you oversee. The competition is fierce, the margin for error narrow, and the rewards can be sorely disappointing.

Late one night coming home from a shift, having had enough, he resumed dreaming about what he really wanted to do. “I’ve gotta get out of this, and somehow work with my hands, making a marked difference in people’s day, and lives.” Pulling into the driveway, he made a decision. Soon, Matt Glick would enter into the work he’d envisioned, the very thing that caught his particular interest, the role he longed to play: that of all things, a plumber.

“I wanted to get out of restaurant management, so I answered an ad for a plumbers apprenticeship”, he sighed, not knowing much about the company or the plumbing industry. Though he was mechanically inclined since youth, finding the right kind of engineering fit was a journey, something he had to discover over time. “As the apprenticeship progressed, I discovered that me and plumbing ‘clicked’ “, Matt said, and out of that experience, realized his dream of becoming a licensed master plumber.

The track record of expert workmanship, quality training for its plumbers, and relentless dedication to truly serving and taking care of the customer, was exactly what impressed Matt upon joining their team in 2010, and continues to be the hallmarks of Chaput Rootmaster. Family owned since 1945, and recognized within the last decade for their record period of no complaints, they take pride in every aspect of their business. Technicians wear shoe covers every time, always use drop cloths, and intentionally finish their work with cleanliness. Accurate and precise pricing is accomplished before any work begins, and all the technicians are certified before taking on jobs.

Every plumbing project requires a different set of problem-solving skills, some being fixed with only the turn of a wrench, others with the collective plumbing heads all coming together when facing more complex projects. But there are times when a plumber is on his own, and has to brave the elements in a tough situation. “Probably my most memorable and challenging job was this one I did during the wintertime”, Matt began. “I was working at an apartment complex, at a time when the temperature was below freezing for weeks. Working in a three-story skeleton of a building proved to be quite difficult.”

Braving those tough times provided the right environment for him to thrive. Many people have had that boss that doesn’t care, the training that just wasn’t enough, or the one pipe that wasn’t screwed on tight enough. Just as Matt knows what it means to be with the right plumbing company that fits him perfectly, Chaput knows what it takes to do the job right and make great plumbers in the process. “Simply, they care. They care about the client,….the employee….and the job being done right. That’s the reason I’ve stayed.” And to top it all off, the respect and deference swings both ways: “There is ongoing training, both technical and customer-based, and support from the owners in everything I do.” Plumbing that works is the one thing you’ll never need until you don’t have it, and you can count on Chaput to make both its customers and employees satisfied. And that satisfaction often comes with a challenge, Matt says.

“I’m most happy when the answer is not immediately apparent. I may have to think deeper or try to look at something in a way that I haven’t looked at it before. Even if I have to ask for help, I will, because at the very least, I will learn.”

Call 303-421-2161 to reach YOUR Denver Plumbing Company: Blue Sky Plumbing.

We service Applewood, Cherry Hills, Arvada, Golden, Evergreen and the entire Metro Denver area.

HOT DAWG SPACE HEATERS: A GREAT SOLUTION FOR YOUR DENVER GARAGE

hot-dawg-heater-denver-garageAs we’ve seen from our recent snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures, Colorado winters can be pretty tough. Nothing makes working in your garage more uncomfortable than working in the cold. A Hot Dawg space heater is the perfect solution, making winter garage work in your Denver house much more enjoyable.

The Hot Dawg space heater comes in a variety of sizes each made for a different application. Whether you have a smaller one car garage or a large commercial garage, Hot Dawg has the right size space heater for your needs. The BTU/Hr input ranges from 30,000 BTU/hr for a one car garage, to a heavy duty 75,000 BTU/Hr for a commercial application. For Colorado’s high altitude, a high altitude kit is available. The Hot Dawg’s neutral color and lightweight design allows it to be mounted easily away from your workstation, making it nearly invisible. Due to the fact that the Hot Dawg uses propane or natural gas, even if the power goes out, you’ll be able to enjoy the heat expelled from this unit.

The Hot Dawg comes in two different models. These include the power exhausted model, and the separated combustion model. The power exhausted model draws air from the space being heated. For example, in a garage, air would be taken into the heater directly from the garage, heated and then pushed back into the garage. This model is ideal for a garage or similar area with no large airborne debris. This ensures absolute safety by not allowing any combustible materials like sawdust enter the heater.
However for areas with a large amount of airborne debris, a different model is necessary. For an area like a woodshop, the separated combustion model is best. This model takes its air supply from fresh outside air. This allows the unit to require less maintenance in dusty environments, and gives greater durability in hostile applications. This model also has thermostat and gas connections for greater ease of use.

hot-dawg-space-heater-denverAs for maintenance, it couldn’t be easier. The unit includes a permanently sealed and lubricated motor for trouble free dependability. The heater also comes with a two year warranty on materials and workmanship on all parts aside from the heat exchanger, which has a ten year warranty. The unit is coated in electrostatically applied and baked polyester-powder paint for durability as well. Every Hot Dawg heater also includes advance diagnostic controls that monitor all of the primary functions. If your heater doesn’t start, a led light will flash, making the problem easily fixable. Perhaps one of the most important features of these heaters is that they are certified for residential, commercial, and industrial uses.

A Hot Dawg space heater could be just what your Denver garage needs during our cold Colorado winters. Contact us today and we can see if the Hot Dawg space heater is a good solution for your Denver home.

Call 303-421-2161 to reach YOUR Denver Plumbing Company: Blue Sky Plumbing.

We service Applewood, Cherry Hills, Arvada, Golden, Evergreen and the entire Metro Denver area.

COLD WEATHER TIPS FOR YOUR DENVER HOUSE

colorado-wintersColorado winters can get pretty chilly, and you need to make sure your Denver house is prepared. Here are some tips for making sure you’re ready for those cold winter nights:

  • If you have pipes that are susceptible to freezing, now is the time to take care of them. Heat tape can be used to keep them warm.
  • Have a technician come find and fix any possible leaks in your house’s duct work. Doing this can boost your furnace’s efficiency by up to 30%.
  • Learn how to shut off your main water valve if a water break should occur. If your pipes do freeze, time is important. The quicker you can shut off the water, the better chance you have to prevent the pipes from bursting.
  • Window panes, chimneys and pipe entrances in your walls can develop small air leaks over time. Check these areas for leaks and patch them up with caulking or weather stripping.
  • Your house’s insulation packs down over time. Check your insulation in places like your attic to make sure it’s still sufficiently deep, and order a refill if needed.
  • Install storm doors on top of your regular house doors to add an extra layer of insulation. These also work well in the summertime, when you can leave your main door open with the storm door closed to let in additional sunlight.
  • Put up window insulation plastic on your house’s windows. The space between your window and your insulation plastic acts as an additional insulating layer on all your windows, and is virtually invisible.

If you’d like to know additional ways to keep your house warm and safe for the winter, give us a call.

Call 303-421-2161 to reach YOUR Denver Plumbing Company: Blue Sky Plumbing.

We service Applewood, Cherry Hills, Arvada, Golden, Evergreen and the entire Metro Denver area.

PROTECT YOUR DENVER HOUSE FROM CARBON MONOXIDE

denver-carbon-monoxide-detectorFEEL LIKE YOU HAVE THE FLU? SO DO PEOPLE WITH CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING!

Here’s how to tell the deadly difference…
Imagine a killer in your home. You can’t see him. You can’t smell him. You can’t hear or touch him.But you know he’s there. And you’re breathing him in. Wait…breathing him in? Yes—because the killer is Carbon Monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless poison emitted by fossil fuels that do not burn completely.

Each year an estimated 500 people in the United States lose their lives to this invisible killer and thousands more suffer from symptoms including nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, and disorientation. Any appliance in your home that uses natural gas, oil, kerosene, coal, or wood may be producing carbon monoxide and you may not even know it.

So what can you do to keep you and your family safe?
As of July 1, 2009 Colorado requires certain homes to have carbon monoxide alarms. The new law relates to houses that are for sale and rental housing such as apartments that are leased to new tenants plus building permits issued for upgrades to an existing home.

Problem solved, right? Not quite. Now the issue becomes which detector to use and who should install it.

Devices are available at your local hardware store, as well as the super stores, but there can be several drawbacks. Many of these monitors do not indicate CO levels at less thanparts per million, or alarm occupants at levels belowparts per million. But “the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues a health hazard alert when the outdoor concentration of CO rises above 9 PPM for an extended period or above 35 PPM for one hour”.

Here are Chaput we have access to top-of-the-line Carbon Monoxide monitors that can detect levels of CO at 10 parts per million and provide visual as well as auditory alarms. These monitors will alert you before your family experiences any of the effects from CO.

For more information on Carbon Monoxide and the possible dangers in your home, give us a call.

Call 303-421-2161 to reach YOUR Denver Plumbing Company: Blue Sky Plumbing.

We service Applewood, Cherry Hills, Arvada, Golden, Evergreen and the entire Metro Denver area.

YOUR DENVER HOUSE PLUMBING’S WATER PRESSURE: WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

plumbing-water-pressureWhat makes the water come out of the sinks, bathtubs, or showers in your house? Simple: the water in your house’s plumbing is pressurized. If your house follows the standards set in the Uniform Plumbing Code, it will be pressurized to about 50-70 pounds per square inch (PSI). If you don’t know your home’s water pressure, you can measure it with a water pressure gauge. These can be purchased at most hardware stores, and will attach to one of your faucets.

If you get your water from a city or other municipality’s water grid, the water actually comes to your house at a higher pressure than your home plumbing can handle. If you were to connect your house’s plumbing directly to the city’s water supply, it would soon destroy your water pipes and appliances. So how do homes handle this? They need a pressure reduction device installed between their internal plumbing and the city water pipes — this device will reduce the water pressure to an acceptable level for your home.

Conversely, if you get your water from a well, the water pressure is much too low for your house. Your well will simply pull the water out of the ground, but it won’t pressurize it at all. If you hooked your home plumbing directly into your well, you would get little more than a trickle out of all your faucets, bathtubs and so on. If your faucet was physically located above your water store — say, on the second level of your house — you wouldn’t get any water out at all! So instead of the pressure reduction devices that your city friends’ houses need, your house will actually require a pressure addition device. This device is basically a large tank that fills up with your well water and increases its pressure to the correct level for your home plumbing.

Pressure reduction devices and pressure addition devices, like any other piece of home equipment, will eventually wear out over time. If your pressure addition device starts to wear out, you will begin to notice reduced water flow in your household’s faucets, especially on higher floors. If the problem remains unchecked, it will put additional stress on your well pump, which will eventually cause it to burn out.

If you have a pressure reducer device that is starting to wear out, the water pressure in your home plumbing will start to increase beyond its recommended levels. One of the first victims of this increased pressure are your appliance pipes and any other soft, non-metal pipes — they can burst and flood your home. The increased water pressure will also cause leaks in your pipe joints and toilet valves. In a worst-case scenario, even the metal pipes in your house can burst.

If you need to inspect, repair or replace your house’s water pressure device, it is better to call a licensed plumber than to try and do it yourself. Licensed plumbers will be familiar with your region’s water pressure regulations and can examine your home’s internal water pressure specifications. Then, whether you need a repair or complete replacement, they will be able to plan and implement a solution that is appropriate for your personal housing situation.

Call 303-421-2161 to reach YOUR Denver Plumbing Company: Blue Sky Plumbing.

We service Applewood, Cherry Hills, Arvada, Golden, Evergreen and the entire Metro Denver area.

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS FOR DENVER WATER HEATERS?

shower-head-water-heatersIs it time to replace your water heater? Or perhaps you’re considering a more energy efficient water heater. A water heater is one of the most important appliances in a household and you’ll be amazed at the amount of money an efficient water heater can save you in energy costs. There are three main types of water heaters to choose from, each with their own unique benefits and abilities.

The first and most common is the tank type water heater. Also called storage water heaters, this type of water heater is available in both gas and electric fuel sources. In a tank water heater, cold water is moved into the tank and is then heated by the fuel source the tank uses. The hot water is then stored in the insulated tank, awaiting use. If the water is stored for an extended period of time, the water heater will re-activate and heat the water to the desired temperature. This method results in a constant supply of affordable hot water, which accounts for its popularity. Tank type water heaters have the advantage of consuming energy at a relatively low rate, and then storing it for later use.

The second, and increasingly popular, type of water heater is the tankless water heater. This type of water heater is approximately the size of a small cabinet, and can be installed virtually anywhere. This allows the unit to be installed closer to the point of use, therefore decreasing the wait time for hot water. As opposed to a tank type water heater which stores hot water as it awaits use, tankless water heaters activate only when needed, making them an energy efficient choice. This is because their unique design does not waste energy in continuously heating a large tank of water. This water heater type often qualifies for utility company rebates and/or state and federal tax credits.

The third and final type of water heater is the solar water heater. The primary benefit in using this type of system is that it uses a completely free energy source: the sun. In a solar heating system, heat is transferred from a solar collector either directly or indirectly to the water, causing it to become heated. The water is then stored in an insulated storage tank where it awaits use. When the sun is not shining, hot water is supplemented by a secondary conventional water heater. This creates a steady supply of hot water regardless of the weather. In a direct circulation system, the water flows directly through the solar collector. In an indirect circulation system, a non-freezing liquid is pumped through the solar collector, where the heat is transferred to the water. This prevents freezing on days of harsh weather. As the sun is a constant and free supply of energy, this type of water heater will protect you from fuel price changes and/or shortages, making this unit a wise investment. And with an average of 300 sunny days per year, Denver is one of the best locations in the country to install solar water heating. Solar water heating systems may also qualify for utility company rebates/and or federal tax credits.

Would you like to replace your current water heater with a more energy efficient unit? Studies have shown that replacing your current water heater with a more energy efficient unit can save you hundreds of dollars each year.

Call 303-421-2161 to reach YOUR Denver Plumbing Company: Blue Sky Plumbing.

We service Applewood, Cherry Hills, Arvada, Golden, Evergreen and the entire Metro Denver area.

DENVER WATER HEATERS: TANK HEATERS

shower-head-tank-heatersStorage water heaters, best known as tank heaters, are an excellent choice for both household and commercial use. They are by far the most popular water heating unit in America today, because of their unique features. Here are some of the many benefits of installing a tank type water heater.

The first, and most attractive benefit of storage water heaters, is their ability to keep a large amount of water heated constantly. A tank water heater may vary in size from about 20 gallons to as large as 100 gallons. What’s the reason for the size difference? The answer is quite simple. The size of the tank is directly related to the amount of water that is available in a given period of time.

What size water heater is best for you? The answer depends on a few different factors. The first factor to take into consideration is the number of bathrooms and water using appliances. The second is the size of the bathroom. Does your bathroom include a large tub and or shower? Often, a larger tank size is necessary to provide for the increased water use. Finally, the size needed will often depend on the fuel source. Electric water heaters heat water at a slower rate than gas heaters, so they require a larger tank to ensure a reliable supply of hot water.

The second advantage of storage water heaters is their ability to use energy at a relatively low rate. Unlike tankless water heaters which use a larger amount of energy in a shorter period of time, tank heaters heat the water gradually, and then store it for later use. While the water is being stored, the temperature is also being monitored by the thermostat. If the water is held in the tank for an extended period of time, the water is then re-heated to the correct temperature, ensuring the most reliable temperature control.

Finally, the tank type water heater is able to provide a more constant temperature over a longer period of time than a tankless heater. This benefit is most prominent in shower use, where a steady supply of hot water is vital to a luxurious shower. In a tank heater the hot water output is a constant temperature with no cold spots because the water is constantly monitored to maintain a continuous temperature.

Storage water heaters may qualify for an energy rebate. To see if you qualify, contact your energy provider.

Would you like to replace your current water heater with a larger or more energy-efficient unit? Studies have shown that replacing your current water heater with a more energy-efficient unit can save you hundreds of dollars each year.

Call 303-421-2161 to reach YOUR Denver Plumbing Company: Blue Sky Plumbing.

We service Applewood, Cherry Hills, Arvada, Golden, Evergreen and the entire Metro Denver area.

DENVER WATER HEATERS: TANKLESS WATER HEATERS

fire-tankless-water-heatersAre you tired of running out of hot water in your shower? Would you like to decrease the wait time for hot water in many of your appliances? If so, a tankless water heater is the choice for you.

The most obvious difference between a tank type water heater and a tankless water heater is that a tankless heater does not store heated water in a tank. Instead, a tankless water heater heats water only when it is needed. This results in a large energy savings because it does not waste energy heating water when it isn’t being used. Take a tea kettle for example. If you wanted to have hot water for tea at any time of the day, you could leave the tea kettle on the stove top all day, creating a steady hot water supply. Clearly, this method is reliable, yet not energy efficient.

However, what if there was another option? Suppose that there was a different type of tea kettle that heated water much faster than an average tea kettle. And suppose that whenever you wanted hot water, the kettle heated only the water that you needed, and it did it very quickly. That would use much less energy, and save you a lot of money. This is essentially what a tankless water heater does.

Another benefit is the ability to decrease wait time for hot water. Have you ever turned on the hot water faucet on you sink and waited for hot water to come? This is because your water heater is located far from your faucet. In some homes, the only place for the large tank heater is in the basement or the garage, far from the showers and appliances in the house. After you have used hot water, the water that was not used stays in the pipes where it cools down. Suppose after your initial use, you leave and come back to the same faucet. When you turn on the faucet again, the water will be cold, because it has cooled down, and it will continue to be cold until all the water that was sitting in your house’s pipes has been pushed out by the newly heated water from your tank type water heater. Because a tankless water heater is about the size of a suitcase, the water heater can be placed virtually anywhere, decreasing the distance the water has to travel.

So not only does a tankless water heater save you from paying high energy bills, it may also save water that would otherwise be wasted while waiting for cold water. Tankless water heaters may also qualify for a federal tax credit, Colorado GEO rebates, and utility company rebates.

Call 303-421-2161 to reach YOUR Denver Plumbing Company: Blue Sky Plumbing.

We service Applewood, Cherry Hills, Arvada, Golden, Evergreen and the entire Metro Denver area.