Wooten Plumbing

Thinking About a Tankless Water Heater? Read this First.

Oh, hot water, we adore you. The steamy showers, the sanitized dishes, the miraculously-white-again t-shirts. But here’s the deal: We’re starting to think our love is unrequited. After all, you tend to disappear quickly. Sure, we just started both the dishwasher and a load of towels—but is that really an excuse to run out on our kids’ bubble bath? Don’t their chattering teeth make you feel a tiny bit guilty? Really, hot water! What’s your problem, anyway?

OK, OK—that’s a little ridiculous. When you “run out” of hot water when you really, really, really wanted it, we’re guessing your internal dialogue sounds a bit more… heated (buh-dum-dum-tss).

If you’re that frustrated with your hot water situation, you may have been talking with Google quite a bit, trying to come up with a solution. Sooner than later, you’ll find yourself wondering about switching from a traditional tank-style water heater to a tankless water heater.

That’s a terrific “I wonder” to entertain. We’ve installed hundreds of tankless water heaters for our Tulsa plumbing customers, and they’re often (but not always) a fantastic fix. Before you start tearing out that big silver cylinder in your basement, let’s just cover some tankless water heater basics. (And, regardless, please do NOT attempt a DIY water heater removal. Way too many things can go wrong!)

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

Unlike traditional water heaters that keep many gallons of water hot at all times—even when you don’t need it—tankless models heat water on demand.

Here’s how it works: When you turn on a faucet, a sensor registers the flow of water. It responds by sending a signal to a control panel that it’s time to start pulling in and warming up some air. As water flows through the unit, a heat exchanger transfers the warmth from the air to the water. (Yes, that’s a simplified explanation, but we thought we’d spare you the mechanical engineering/thermodynamics lecture.)

Poof! Hot water—when and where you need. Sounds dreamy, right? There’s more!

Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters have a couple of drawbacks, which we’ll get to in a minute. But first, let’s talk about why they’re great.

  • Speed. Tankless units produce hot water at a rate of 2-5 gallons per minute, and the hot water never “runs out.”
  • Cost-saving. Tankless water heaters are pricey (again, we’ll get to that in a minute), but over time the unit may pay for itself in energy savings. Typically, tankless units save homeowners between 8% and 24% on utility bills, according to energy.gov. You may also score a tax rebate for installing an energy-efficient appliance.
  • Shelf-life. Gas-powered tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years—twice that of traditional models.
  • No flooding. Tankless heaters don’t have… tanks. So, you’ll never have to worry about 50 gallons of water swallowing up your college momentos and those boxes of clothing you swear you’ll be able to get back into one of these days.
  • Energy-saving. Unlike traditional water heaters, the tankless versions use energy to heat water only when you need it.
  • Small footprint. Tankless units won’t gobble up a bunch of floorspace. In fact, most of them are wall-mounted.
  • Smart. Newer tankless water heaters allow you to adjust water temperature via a mobile app and will notify you when they need service.

Drawbacks of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are a great investment for many homeowners, but there are a couple of cons to consider.  And you can probably guess the first one.

  • Cost.  Tank-style water heaters run about $400; tankless models can be three times that. Sure, you’ll save some money on your energy bills—but it’ll take a good amount of time to recoup your investment. If you’re considering tankless to save money alone, you’ll likely be disappointed.
  • Installation. Whether you’re replacing your water heater with a traditional or tankless model, you should absolutely involve a professional Tulsa plumber. Installing a tankless water heater tends to be a bit pricier, especially if you need upgraded gas or electrical connections.
  • Capacity. Although you technically won’t “run out” of hot water, tankless water heaters still have some capacity considerations. They typically can’t support multiple hot water uses at once, but they’re compact enough to be installed at multiple places in your home.
  • Flow rate sensitivity. If you don’t have consistent water pressure, the temperature of hot water produced by tankless units may be inconsistent.

We Can Help With Your Decision

Considering making the switch to a tankless water heater? We’d love to offer a free estimate. Call us today to get started.

How to Hire a Plumber on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace Spoiler Alert: Don’t. Don’t do that.

cheap tulsa plumber

We know you want to be a responsible homeowner who takes good care of your investment. But we know something else, too: When your garbage disposal’s on the fritz or there’s a mysterious water stain on your family room ceiling, you’d really rather not pay a gazillion dollars to have someone fix the problem. You especially don’t want to pay a gazillion dollars if the job should’ve only cost half that much.

We get it. Feeling ripped off and taken advantage of is no fun. And even when a contractor’s price is totally fair, it’s still no fun to write that check. Quite frankly, even we—professional Tulsa plumbers—would rather spend our money on 632 other things.

Unfortunately, the desire to save money on plumbing repairs tempts many people to turn to places like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to find a not-so-expensive plumber. The problem is not-so-expensive plumbers are far too often not-exactly-plumbers. And that can lead to disastrous—even dangerous—results.

Here’s how this usually goes down: Someone’s water heater goes kaput. After the initial cussing, the homeowner does a bit of research and decides “real” plumbers are too expensive. So, they go scanning Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for “handyman” ads. They find someone who says, “Yeah, man. I can install a water heater.” And they can. But not correctly. So, the job costs far more than they guessed it would, and it’s done wrong. At best, the homeowner ends up with a leak. At worst—and we see this frighteningly often—it’s the wrong unit and/or it’s vented improperly, creating a deadly build-up of carbon monoxide.

To be clear, the chances of you finding a handyman who is intentionally trying to hurt someone are pretty slim. But if your primary concern is saving a little money, you’ll easily find someone whose primary concern is making a little money—doing things they’re absolutely not qualified to do.

You might luck out. Or, you might pay someone to make a repair—and then have to pay another someone to repair the repair. And, most importantly, you might be putting your family at risk along the way. It’s not worth it.

Four Ways to Identify a Qualified Tulsa Plumber

There’s no doubt you’ll pay more for your repair by hiring a real plumber than by going with a random guy you found online. But that extra expense is well worth the money. A qualified plumber will be:

  1. Licensed. States regulate plumbing licenses, and it’s not easy to get one. New plumbers spend several years as an apprentice and take an exam before they’re granted their own license. If someone’s not licensed, there’s no guarantee they know what they’re doing and, without the accountability of a licensing body, they may be more willing to engage in unethical business practices. You wouldn’t hire a doctor without a medical degree; why would you hire an unlicensed plumber?
  2. Insured. Don’t hesitate to ask for proof of insurance before signing a repair agreement. If a contractor gets hurt in your home, you want their deductible to apply, not yours.
  3. Bonded. While a contractor’s insurance covers them and their company, a surety bond covers you, the homeowner. For example, if a plumber causes damage to your home, a surety bond would take care of repairs, rather than your homeowners’ insurance. Also, only trustworthy companies can get bonded, so hiring a bonded plumber is just another layer of protection for you.
  4. Well-reviewed. A qualified plumber won’t hesitate to provide references, but it’s just as easy for you to do your own research. Visit the Better Business Bureau. Google the company and look for reviews. Do the same on Facebook.

Yes, of course Wooten Plumbing is licensed, insured, and bonded.

Using Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to find a plumber just isn’t worth the risk to your home, family, and wallet. Give us a call today.