This site started out small and keeps getting bigger and bigger, with the result that it can be bewildering to newcomers. So if you just got here, or found yourself in the middle of the site from a search, this may help you get your bearings.
I tried to be coherent when I built it, so there IS a certain method to my madness.
At the top of every page, there is a multi-colored set of links to key places. There is also another set in small print at the bottom of every page. The latter include the usual stuff you find on websites: About Us, Contact Us, Resources...
On some pages, such as Lingo, my glossary, there are pull-down menus that will give you access to the rest of the entries in that section.
On many pages, there is a Home button, a Site Map button, and sometimes a button to take visitors back to the main page of that section. Those are at the bottom of the page. I realized recently that not everybody knows what a site map is. It contains a list of every link on the site. Since I also have a Spanish translation, there is a separate site map in Spanish for those pages. The links to the Spanish and French translations are at the bottom of each page.
The most important sections comprise The Basics, including Longevity, Preventive Maintenance and pointers on choosing your next water heater; Troubleshooting, Commercial Water Heaters; Products; and Fun Stuff. Let's take them in that order:The Basics: Longevity and Preventive Maintenance
The Basics link takes you into the realm of the nitty gritty on how a water heater is constructed, hidden killers of water heaters, Anodes (that's rust protection), Sediment buildup (that's efficiency and sometimes noise problems), Safety (a MUST read, since that could be Death) -- and hand in hand with that one: Emergency Preparedness. There is a page on tankless water heaters (overrated and very expensive, we think), then our recommendations, in two parts, one on choosing a heater, the other on optimizing it if you're in the market for a new tank. Then, preventive maintenance: both what it is and how to do it, Insulation issues, a couple of strategies for getting hot water quicker and more economically, a brief visit to the concept of life-cycle cost analysis, and Tools you might need to maintain your water heater. Finally there is Water Heating According to Larry, that being the legendary Larry Weingarten, who started all this stuff about making water heaters last longer. And Tell Me Which Water Heater to Buy. This last falls into the category of Larry's motto: Just causing trouble. Because we WON'T CHOOSE FOR YOU. It's just not that simple, and this site exists to help you educate yourself so that you can make an informed choice today, do maintenance tomorrow, and never again replace a water heater. But read it anyway because it tells you how to figure out for yourself what water heater to buy.Troubleshooting
A lot of people come to this site because they have a problem. This section is where they need to be. It comprises a few links to the more common complaints, such as Not Enough Hot Water and Stinky Water, as well as Quick, quick fixes to a handful of problems. There is also Lingo, my glossary of esoteric water heater terms, which it is well worth reviewing if you're planning on posting a question on my bulletin board, The Tank. Otherwise, the other contributors to the board and I may have no idea what you're talking about! There is also Tanklets, comprising recurring issues that turn up in The Tank. That is worth checking out if you're in a hurry. You might think posting in The Tank is quickest. Well, getting an answer depends on when we get around to checking it, and some days, we're pretty busy. Be warned....Commercial Water Heaters
Many people showing up on this site are homeowners or renters, but everything that applies to them applies many-fold to apartment owners and managers, who may have hundreds of residential heaters or very expensive commercial water heaters with recirculation systems. If you have boilers and storage tanks, the latter can be easily serviced in the same way as water heaters. Thus, there are discussions of Optimal Installation of Commercial Water Heaters, Optimal Installation of Residential Water Heaters in Commercial Settings, Inspections, Service, and Recirculation Pump Valving. Pay heed to this last, since if you do it wrong, your pump will burn out. Then again, and again.The Future of Water Heating
You may not know it, but there are people out there having discussions about where water heating is going and how to make water heaters, plumbing systems and buildings more energy-efficient. Thus, this section has links to presentations from a couple of such gatherings, as well as essays on this site itself, about such things. A few among the topics are The Future of Water Heating, What's Possible?, The Most Ignored Residential Appliance, and Forget That Hover Car -- Finding a Sustainable Future Through Water and Energy Codes.Products
Some stuff you can buy at the local hardware store. We mostly avoid that. Some stuff, you can't hardly find at all, and usually that stuff is what will keep your water heater alive. That's mostly what we sell. That includes sacrificial and powered anodes, sediment flush parts, AND Larry and Suzanne Weingarten's Water Heater Workbook, the bible of water heater maintenance and pretty entertaining in itself.Fun Stuff
The idea that anything about a water heater could be fun is fun in itself. Like, "Let's have fun with sewers." Huh? But once you've viewed the Weingarten Collection, you might change your mind. You'll discover that both tank and tankless heaters have been around for a mighty long time.
If you enter the Closet of Horrors, beware; it's scary! In the Houdini Showcase, you'll discover there is no end to humans' penchant for weirdness. The House on Hummingbird Hill has little to do with water heaters, but it's still fun. And it has a LOT to do with the Weingartens.
I'm always trying to figure out how to make my site better and easier to navigate. I used to be an editor. A problem with editing is that when you get too familiar with the material, you no longer see mistakes. This site is so big now that I don't always catch mistakes, either. If you either see something that doesn't work, or something that could be done better, feel free to tell me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll listen and try to make it better.
-- Randy Schuyler