Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about the safety, reliability or efficiency of your water heater? Check out our collection of frequently asked questions, below. These represent the more common questions our services advisors hear about water heater rentals.

The answers provided are direct from our in-house experts. If you have a different question, or would like more information, call a Utilities Kingston service advisor at 613-546-1181, extension 2285. We’d be glad to assist.

My water heater is 15 years old. It is still functioning well, but I am concerned about its efficiency. Should I switch to a new water heater?

Water heaters account for 17 per cent of the energy consumed in the average Canadian home. However, newer models of traditional water heaters have improved their energy efficiency by only about five per cent. There is little in the way of energy savings to be gained by switching to a newer model.

There are, however, many effective free or inexpensive measures you can take to save on water heating energy consumption. To learn ways you can start saving today, check out the FAQ that follows.

How can I save on water heating energy consumption?

There are many effective free or inexpensive measures you can take to save on water heating energy consumption.

  • Insulate water pipes.
    • Install pipe insulation on an electrically-heated tank around as much of the incoming cold water pipe and the outgoing copper hot water pipe as you can conveniently access.
    • Gas water heater pipes should only be insulated by a professional.
    • Never insulate plastic water heater pipes as they can overheat.
  • Maintain a moderate tank temperature.
  • Insulate an electric water heater tank.
  • Use off-peak electricity to heat water.
  • Turn off your water heater if your home will be unoccupied for an extended period of time.
  • Reduce the amount of heated water consumed by your family:
    • Take a shower instead of a bath.
    • Reduce the water flow while you soap up or apply shampoo.
    • Turn the hot water down or off while you shave or wash dishes.
    • Wash and rinse clothes in cold water.
    • Fix hot water leaks.
    • Install water-saving shower heads.
    • Install water-saving aerators on the kitchen and bathroom faucets.
  • Be aware: know how your household uses hot water and then view our energy and water conservation tips

To learn more ways to save water, energy and money, contact a Utilities Kingston conservation expert today. Just call 613-546-0000 and say “Conservation”.

Will I save energy by switching to a tankless model?

A tankless water heater consists of either an electric element or a gas burner that heats flowing water and does not have a storage tank. 

If you’re concerned about the heat dissipating from a traditional tank that stores hot water, consider that in Canada, during 6-8 months out of the year, this heat is dissipating into a space that you are trying to heat up anyways.

Also consider: a tankless water heater uses more British thermal units (BTUs) than traditional tanks. If turned on and off frequently in a day, a tankless water heater can be more energy draining and costly than stored hot water tanks.

Learn more about choosing a water heater that's right for your family water heating needs. 

Is the venting pipe for my water heater up to code?

Gas- and oil-fired water heaters require proper venting to safely remove combustion gases. Sidewall venting vents horizontally through an outside wall and may be either direct vent or power vent (fan-assisted).

When we install a water heater, our certified installer ensures that the venting is safe and up to current building code. However, when it is time to replace your water heater, your venting may be updated to System 636 PVC flue gas venting, in accordance with provincial natural gas code.

What’s the deal with this mixing valve?

In accordance with Ontario building code, when a water heater is changed out, a mixing valve is to be installed at either the outlet of the heater, or at each individual fixture. The device is intended to cool the water as it leaves the device, to prevent occupants from scalding.

This required plumbing fixture is included in the price charged by the water heater installer you choose. Maintenance is not covered under our rental agreement.

Are there any fees not included in the installation of my water heater?

Utilities Kingston provides an installation allowance for water heater rentals.  

Ask your installer up-front to provide you with any costs that might not be covered by the allowance. Additional costs may incur for the installation of the venting pipe and mixing valve.

It takes a long time for my shower to heat up. Is there something wrong with my water heater?

Typically this is due to the location of your water heater with respect to your shower. Often water heaters are installed in one end of the house, while bathrooms are located in the opposite end of the home. It takes time for the hot water to travel from your water heater, through your home’s plumbing before it reaches your shower.

If you are involved with new construction, carefully consider the location of your water heater.

Where can I find a list of local installers?

A list of installers used by Utilities Kingston is available from our website. You may wish to contact an installer yourself, or alternatively, we can book the install for you. Call us at 613-546-1181, extension 2285.

How do I determine the right size water heater for my household?

The most effective method to determine the right size of tank is to consider if your existing tank meets your needs. If it does not (there are times when you run out of hot water) or if you do not have past experience to guide you, try to estimate your hot water needs.

Hot water use varies depending on the number of people in your home and the types of appliances that are installed, as well as how your family uses them. Some types of appliances, such as large soaker tubs and whirlpool tubs require a lot of hot water when they are used, but they may be used only infrequently.

Learn more about choosing a water heater that's right for your family water heating needs.

Contact a Utilities Kingston services advisor for help choosing the right water heater for your needs at 613-546-1181, extension 2285.