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15 Fun Facts: Water Heaters

What You Probably Didn’t Know

water heater

At Timothy Off, we install, service, and maintenance water heaters of all kinds, and we’ve learned a lot about them over the years. Here are some fun facts from our Chadds Ford plumbing team that you may not know:

1. About 25% of the energy used in your home goes toward heating your water.

2. Tankless water heaters will last about 18-20 years while tank water heaters will last 10-12 years.

3. The very first “hot water heater” was made by a man in England in 1868. He heated cold water by flowing it through pipes that were exposed to a burner of hot gas. The hot water then flowed into a sink or tub.

4. Natural, unheated water typically enters your home at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. By choosing a high efficiency water heater (instead of a standard water heater), you can cut your energy use by 10-50 percent.

6. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was the first area of the country to have water heaters. After Norwegian mechanical engineer Edwin Ruud created the first tank water heater, he brought the idea to U.S.

7. Caution must be taken around water heaters; human skin can suffer third-degree burns in less than fives seconds if it comes into contact with water that’s 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

8. In England, it’s typical to find sinks with separate hot and cold taps. This is because homes used to have separate water tanks that could get easily contaminated. If the cold water ran through the water heater, it would no longer be clean to drink, so they kept it separate from the hot water.

9. In some densely populated areas of other countries (like Finland), homeowners receive their hot water through district heating, which distributes heat generated in a central location.

10. Tankless water heaters can cost more than twice as much as traditional water heaters.

11. Before modern water heaters, homes would use a pipe loop called a water-back. It was connected to the stove and as water was heated, it would move through the pipe to a storage tank.

12. In the U.K., water heaters may be called “multipoint geyers” while in Australia and New Zealand, they may be called “instantaneous hot water units.” Argentina takes the cake with “calfones.”

13. Heat pump water heaters and solar water heaters are best used in homes with mild to hot climates.

14. A “cold water sandwich” refers to layers of hot and cold water in a home’s piping system. This happens when “off” and “on” water operations occur (like back-to-back showers or loads of laundry).

15. In the early 20th century, more than 150 manufacturers competed in the water heater industry. Today, there are only a handful.