What Are the Parts of a Gas Water Heater?

One of the many things in life we take for granted is our water heater. We usually only think about it when it leaks, stops working, or requires professional water heater repair. As soon as our shower water runs cold, we know we have to go inspect the water heater and see what went wrong. Unless you’re a trained water heater repair expert, you might know very little about how a water heater operates and how to fix it when something is wrong.

There are two main types of water heaters: electric and gas. Gas storage water heaters are the most common type of water heater in the United States. Gas water heaters have a lot of important components that all work together to bring you hot water. Understanding how your gas water heater works will not only give you a greater appreciation for it, but will also help you know how to better take care of what keeps you warm, especially during the cold Northern VA winters. Below is our quick guide to the most important parts of your gas water heater.

  • Cold Water Supply Line: This tube in your water heater tank brings cold water into the tank to be heated. There is a control valve that you can use to shut off the cold water in the event that your water heater stops working or has sprung a leak.
  • Gas Valve: This incredibly crucial part of your water heater supplies the gas that heats up the cold water. Like the cold water line, this can be shut off in case of emergency or for maintenance.
  • Gas Burner: A gas burner is the part of the water heater that heats up the water with a gas flame beneath the tank of water. This burner turns off once the water reaches a certain temperature to avoid overheating.
  • Ventilation Pipe/Flue: This pipe or tube removes combustion gasses from the gas burner and exhausts them outside of the tank.
  • Temperature/Pressure Release Valve: A water heater’s pressure valve is installed to get rid of extra pressure that builds up inside the tank. If your water heater starts to build up too much pressure, use the valve to release hot water.
  • Hot Water Outlet: Finally, the hot water outlet tube carries the heated-up water from the tank to other areas of your home like your shower and your laundry room.

Water Heater Trouble? Call R.A. Dobson!

Since 1975, R.A. Dobson, Inc. has provided water heater repair and water heater installation in Sterling, VA and the surrounding Northern Virginia region. We have a wide selection of electric and gas water heaters will keep you comfortable with hot water all winter long, with top-of-the-line brands like A.O.Smith, Bradford White, State and more.  Our installation and repair experts understand how crucial it is to have a properly functioning water heater. This is why we offer affordable pricing, quick and accurate installation, and superior customer service.

Contact us today at 703-982-0111 if you need water repair installation in Northern Virginia.

thermostat installation

How You Should Set Your Thermostat for Fall and Winter

Although fall and winter are exciting seasons for their holidays and warm clothing, some homeowners might be less thrilled about this time of year because of the incoming hefty monthly heating bills. Especially if you have old, drafty windows, cranking up the heat this fall and winter will not do your wallet any favors. You want your family to stay comfortable at home, but you also want to save money.

You can do both by adjusting the temperature on your thermostat at different times of the day. Here’s how you can save money by adjusting either a standard or programmable thermostat:


How to Set Your Standard Thermostat

Right before you and your family leave for work or school in the morning, set your thermostat 3 degrees cooler. Keep it at this lower setting all day until you return home. Lowering the temperature by this degree for at least 8 hours a day can save you around 10% of your annual energy bill. A good rule of thumb for setting your thermostat is to set it at 68 degrees when you’re not home, and even a few degrees cooler than that when you’re asleep.

Remember that turning up the heat is not the only way to keep warm during the chilly fall and freezing winter. While at home and awake, you should keep your home’s interior temperature as cool as possible without it being unbearable. You might have to bundle up a little with this lower temperature, but the energy savings are well worth the extra layers. Make use of that throw blanket, or buy yourself cozy slippers and sweaters for the holidays.


Programmable Thermostats Mean Both Comfort and Savings

A programmable thermostat gives you much more flexibility to change the temperature than a standard thermostat. With a programmable thermostat in your home, you can automatically adjust your thermostat to a certain temperature at a certain time. You can set a particular temperature while you’re away during the day or asleep at night, and program your thermostat to change the temperature back just before the time you usually return home or wake up. This way, you won’t have to suffer through a cold house until the heat kicks in again—it will have already started running at the time you designate.

Like a standard thermostat, it’s recommended that you set your programmable thermostat to be about 3 degrees cooler for the 8 hours you’re at work or school during the day. Many programmable thermostats can be controlled remotely through an app on your smart phone, which allows you to check, lower, or raise your home’s temperature if necessary when you’re not home.


Contact R.A. Dobson for Programmable Thermostat Installation and Repair

R.A. Dobson is proud to provide thermostat installation and repair in Northern Virginia. R.A. Dobson has provided heating, air conditioning, and plumbing services for over 40 years, and our highly trained employees provide unparalleled customer serve and quality work. We can help you choose the programmable thermostat model that’s right for you and will help keep your energy costs down.

Don’t pay a ridiculous heating bill this fall and winter season. Call us today at (703) 481-3700 or use our contact form for thermostat installation and repair in Northern Virginia.

It’s Not Too Late to Replace Your AC in Northern Virginia!

September is coming to a close, which means that fall is just getting started. Many of us in Northern Virginia are pulling our fall and winter clothes out of storage, helping our kids with homework, and dreading the upcoming weekends of leaf-raking that fall will require. However, we’ve still been experiencing some summer weather in the area, with quite a few humid, sunny days. Those of us who long for the chilly days of fall will hopefully get some relief soon, but for now, the weather outside is still toasty. And if your AC is malfunctioning or broken, you’re in for a long and sweaty wait.

There’s no reason to suffer until the weather gets cooler! You should have your AC inspected and/or replaced as soon as possible to remain comfortable during the last month before fall and on the occasional hot autumn day.

Unsure if your AC needs to be replaced? Unless your AC is simply not blowing any air whatsoever and your house feels like a sauna, you might not always be sure that something’s wrong with your AC. Here are a few signs (aside from uncomfortable indoor temperatures) that you need to repair or replace your AC before fall really gets started:

  • You’ve had your AC for awhile: An older AC unit is bound to have more operating problems than a newer model. It’s often cheaper in the long run to purchase a replacement instead of trying to repair an old AC unit. If your unit has been around for about 15 years or later, it’s probably a good time to retire it and get a new one.
  • You have an unusual energy bill: If your latest energy bill seemed a little off, either significantly higher or lower than usual, it could be a sign that your AC isn’t working properly. A high bill could indicate that your AC isn’t staying in your home and is escaping outside, using more AC power than necessary. A low bill (most likely in addition to a hotter house) indicates your AC isn’t working at full power.
  • Your unit makes a lot of noise: AC units are designed to operate quietly, so when your AC starts talking to you, you should pay attention. Noises to listen for are loud screeching, clicking, thumping, or rattling. These sounds usually indicate some piece of the unit’s internal equipment isn’t working properly, which compromises not only your comfort but your unit’s energy efficiency.

Trust R.A. Dobson to Repair or Replace Your AC!

R.A. Dobson has been serving Northern Virginia with expert air conditioning repair and replacement services since 1975. Our technicians are well-trained and certified and can accurately diagnose your unit’s issues. We understand how uncomfortable a house without AC can be, even during fall. This is why we will work to complete repairs or install your replacement with quality and precision as soon as possible. We stand by our expert services with our 1-year service warranty.

Don’t suffer through the remaining hot weather with a broken AC. Contact RA Dobson today!