Seattle Hot Water Blog. Info on water heater, boiler and radiant heating issues

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b2ap3_thumbnail_carbonmonoxide.jpgWe got called out to service an appliance that was red tagged by the gas company this week.

PSE had disconnected a Rinnai Tankless water heater that was discharging 435 PPM of CO into the OUTSIDE air. (400 PPM is the legal limit).

We had not run into this situation before. We know that CO is dangerous in the house but we had no idea that there were federal laws related to residential gas appliances and outdoor air quality.

Well, we contacted the manufacturer asking for the technical service specifications so we could fine-tune the appliance to comply with the EPA requirements. It turns out that the appliance was not adjustable. All we could do was insure that the unit was burning blue and had a clean combustion chamber.

We see some risk to our customers with some tankless water heaters that are not compliant with EPA air standards.The gas company may disconnect the appliance with no recourse except to replace the appliance with one that complies.

We are researching the options. It appears that some tankless water heater models should not be purchased.

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Service & repair of Bosch water heaters in Seattle is about to get a whole lot better. Seattle Hot Water is working with the factory and the local factory rep to get a more comprehensive support system in place to service Bosch water heater customers.

Technical training and local parts availability is important and Bosch is listening!  We love the Bosch water heaters because they are well designed and are durable high performance hot water makers. We should know as we are one of the few plumbing/heating companies that specialize in servicing hot water heating equipment.

Give us a call if you have any issues with your Bosch hot water heater here in Seattle. 206 281-1105

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2016 Update: Important!

Virtually All water heater models changed in May 2015 to meet new federal energy requirements. These are the changes that are most significant:

  1. Dimensions changed: They got wider and taller - This can be a serious problem in confined spaces like closets!
  2. Electric residential models over 50 gallons are no longer available - Heat Pump Electrics are now required
  3. The price of the water heaters has increased dramatically since 2014

Call us to discuss any concern you may have about these changes

Old    New

65 gallon and 80 gallon sizes in the Electric water heater tanks can be a serious replacement problem!

Call us for more information


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As of April 2015 the Federal Government mandated higher fuel efficiency for residential tank type water heaters.

Hybrid Electric Water Heaters in Seattle

The change with the biggest impact was on residential electric water heater larger than 50 gallons capacity. We can no longer get 65 or 80 gallon electric water heaters that use cheap replaceable heating elements. If you want a tank bigger than 50 gallons you are going to fork out a lot more money for the hybrid heat pump versions in those sizes.

An electric hybrid heat pump has the lowest operating cost of any electric water heater on the market, especially when installed in warm climates. (Seattle isn't that warm). They may also qualify for rebates and tax incentives. Go to for WA to see what’s available in Washington State.


  • Hybrids cost much more than a conventional electric heater.
  • The heat pump is taller (and wider in some cases) than your existing electric heater. Make sure the unit will fit.
  • Some heaters are “side-piped” to eliminate the possibility of heat pump damage caused by leaking pipes. On those models, you'll have to reconfigure the water pipes.
  • You'll have to clean the air filter regularly to maintain operating efficiency.
  • The heater needs at least 1,000 cu. ft. of air surrounding it, so it can't be installed in a closet.
  • If it needs repair - finding a qualified service tech can be difficult.
  • They are capable of cooling the room they are in - this can be useful if you have an overheated room with waste heat from your boiler but can be a problem if you are paying to heat the room with your furnace.

That being said, our suggestion is to have your hot water load needs carefully evaluated to make sure you need a water heater larger than 50 gallons. If you do, these hybrids are your only option (can you upgrade to gas?).

Give us a call if you would like to discuss your hot water needs. We like the Bradford White Aero-Therm...

Rheem Hybrid Electric Water HeaterRheem       Bradford-White Hybrid Electric Water Heater Bradford-White    AO Smith Hybrid Electric Water HeaterAO Smith


These are heat pump water heaters that heat the water with a reverse refrigeration type compressor. They take heat from the room they are in and put it in the tank. This is similar to what makes your refrigerator work. Consequently, you don't want to purchase the cheapest unit at the big box store. You want a good quality machine that does not require a lot of repair costs. Do your homework

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We are finding that the combustion chambers when not cleaned regularly can corrode and require replacement.

The residues from the fuel accumulate in the bottom and restrict the condensate drain. When this happens strong acids are formed which eat away the aluminum heat exchanger. This can be avoided by simply having the boiler serviced regularly by somebody that is trained on the unit.

Buderus heat exchhanger

This buildup can ruin the boiler!

Call us to clean and service Buderus GB142's   206 281-1105


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New Changes to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) to take affect April 2015


NAECA and Gas Products

Gas water heaters will require additional insulation, incorporate newer flue baffling technologies (including flue dampers), incorporate electronic ignition in lieu of the standing pilot, or any combination of these. One impact will be an increase in the overall product size, especially in diameter. For gas-fired products over 55 gallons (≤75,000 BTU/Hr.), fully condensing combustion technology will most likely be required. This will also mean that line voltage will have to be available as will a means for condensate disposal.

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

The Seattle Hot Water Company has been around a long time.

You wouldn't know it though as Yelp has tagged our listing on their site as CLOSED with a single negative review showing. It obviously isn't true.

Nobody can post positive reviews because of the closed tag. I can't remove my listing because Yelp claims that it is public property and they don't have to remove it.

A couple of customers have called asking if we were still in business as they saw the tagged listing there and thought that they would call to find out. I'm very glad they did.

There was no obvious way to edit or make the correction myself other than to "Claim" the listing which was ridiculous as I had claimed it years before. They knew who we were, where we were and they knew all of our contact information.

I believe some disgruntled Yelp ad salesman that couldn't take no for an answer simply tagged the listing as closed after leaving a single negative review up on the listing thereby preventing any other reviews from being posted.

Net effect: closed negative reviewed business. Another nasty example of Yelps attitude towards the businesses it strong arms into buying advertising.

It wasn't very nice. They have ignored my request to make the correction so far.


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Call us for an annual inspection and service of your water heating and furnace equipment before winter.

Call Evan at 206 281-1105 for an appointment.

Mention the website at get $10 off your service call.


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General Causes for Catastrophic Hot Water Heater and Home Heating Boiler Failures

  1. Improper adjustment of temperature and pressure controls
  2. Altered safety valves or relief valves
  3. Work performed by unqualified or untrained personnel Check a license!
  4. Lack of routine inspection and proper maintenance
  5. Improper installation
  6. Lack of proper controls and safety devices

What Home Owners Should Do To Minimize the Potential of a Catastrophic Failure

  1. Have your home heating boilers cleaned and services annually by qualified personnel..
  2. On hot water heaters, it is recommended to manually lift the relief valve every two months and at the least once a year to ensure they open freely. Due to the relatively low cost of safety valves for this service, it is recommended that a defective valve be replaced with a new valve if the valve does not open easily or close tightly.
  3. Make sure your hot water heater has a relief device that protects the heater from excessive pressure AND temperature. Pressure & temperature relief valves (commonly known as P&T valves) are noticeably different from a regular relief valve due to its long protruding temperature element attached to the inlet of the valve.
  4. Regardless of the condition of the "P&T Valve", replace the pressure & temperature relief valve on your hot water heater every three years (This is pretty aggressive maintenance).
  5. Maintain a temperature set point not to exceed 180°F on any heating boiler or hot water heater. Water temperature should NEVER exceed 212°F on these units. Boiler or hot water heater failures with water temperatures exceeding 212°F can result in catastrophic explosions that can level homes. Note that most water heaters are typically set to run at 120°F or so upon installation.
  6. Your water temp at the faucet should never be more than 140°F even with only adults in the residence. If small children or the elderly are in the home never more than 120°F should be set on the temperature control.

Effects of a 5 gallon hot water heater explosion - Avon High School 5/11/00


Most water heaters are installed by those without a license in Washington State. Many advertise water heater installation and repair but are not licensed. Demand to see the plumber license required to be carried by every plumber. You will be glad you did!

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Bradford-White water heaters are the plumbers' water heater. Why? 

  1. Brass drain fitting
  2. Heat traps built-in minimizing migration of hot water when not used
  3. Large selection of models
  4. Large inventory in Seattle
  5. Multiple distributors in Seattle
  6. Better than average warranty service from the factory

Seattle Hot Water Company preferrs Bradford-White for these reasons.



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Posted by on in Uncategorized

Well to our new website. We have a new content manager that hopefully will be useful to our customers (and future customers).

This blog is brand new. I will start filling it with tips, tricks and news about the work we do with water heaters and boilers.

We are licensed plumbers and are familiar with all types of residential and commercial water heaters. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Free phone advice - always!


Thanks for checking us out!









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