Water Heaters
Rudy’s is devoted to providing top Quality Products and Service
toward the goal of complete Customer satisfaction. 

Water Heaters come in several shapes and designs to accommodate a wide variety of situations.  Generally, they can be broken down into 2 main categories:  Tank or Tankless and they can be run on either Gas or Electric. 

Gas Tank Water Heaters:  Tank models have been the mainstay ever since their invention back in 1889 by Edwin Ruud (yep, the same Norwegian guy that created Ruud furnaces, etc…).  Basically, these operate on a standing pilot that drives a valve which fires up the burner as hot water is used from the tank.   Tank heaters are made in B and Direct Vent, depending on the application.  Gas is usually the cheapest way to heat anything and the really nice thing about them is you can still take a hot shower during a power outage – even if it is by candlelight.

Electric Tank Water Heaters:  These models require no venting, and work by supplying current to one or two heating elements located inside the tank (think like a really big aquarium heater).  These are only recommended if gas is not available (electricity can cost about 4-5X more to operate), or the heater closet was originally located in the middle of the house (and designed for electric use only).  This would make retrofitting it to burn gas and running a vent not very feasible. 

Tankless: These have been in use throughout Europe for a long time and it seems like the US is starting to latch onto this idea.  Tankless water heaters may take some getting used to, but if they are sized correctly for the application, they seem to work well.  If you're installing one of these in Tahoe (or other cold climate areas), be sure to get one that is freeze-protected!  Also, look for one that supplies a minimum of 3 GPM flow at a 70 degree rise at this altitude, or you may not get the flow you need.  A few other things to consider when deciding what's best for your home are listed in the table below.

Some of the Pros and Cons of Tank vs Tankless



Instantly supplies hot water to the tap - pipes are kept warm Take a while to heat the pipe up and provide hot water
Unit is nearly always using power to heat up water in the tank.  Some of this heat escapes.  These are called standby losses. Unit ONLY uses power when hot water is needed - no standby losses.  But unit has to purge 1/2 to 3/4" gallon of water from pipe to 'get to' the hot water
Work during power outages Require power from the electrical panel to operate
No rebate to replace As of 8-1-07, installation of an 80% efficient unit will gain the customer a $300 Federal Tax credit
Require a larger space Use very little space
Places a small demand pressure-wise on the gas line  ie. can operate with a normal house-sized gas supply Requires a dedicated gas line (usually 3/4") to operate
Low cost for a new unit or replacement one.  However, replacement of an old tank heater usually means Code upgrades which add to installation price Even though it may be 10-20% more efficient, unit is expensive and will take years to recoup cost of installation
Rudy's can help you decide what will work best for your home during a quick house-call Estimate.  It's FREE and will provide you with some valuable information to get the job rolling in the right direction.   Call us and schedule an appointment at the numbers listed below. 

Rudy's Plumbing & Heating
FULLY LICENSED & INSURED  *  FREE Estimates for Large Jobs
800 Emerald Bay Road  Bldg  G  *  South Lake Tahoe  CA  96150
530 541-3765  *  541-3353  *  CSL # 582785
Hours:  Monday - Friday   8-5  *  Saturdays Seasonally by Appointment
Serving the South Shore Area in California from Stateline to Emerald Bay
to Echo Summit (weather and traffic permitting)