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Water Heater Frequently Asked Questions*

*These optional WorryFree Replacement Services are only available to customers in PSE&G’s service area and you can find other providers in the Yellow Pages.

Does PSE&G Replace Water Heaters?

Yes, PSE&G’s WorryFree Replacement Service* does include the replacement of water heaters. PSE&G will send an authorized licensed plumbing contractor to replace residential water heaters. Under New Jersey regulations companies replacing water heaters must have a Master Plumber’s License or use Licensed Contractors to install water heaters. Since PSE&G is not a Licensed Master Plumber, we use authorized licensed installers to provide the optional WorryFree Water Heater Replacement Service.

*The WorryFree replacement program is not a part of the WorryFree Service Contract offer.

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How do I know when to replace my water heater? 

Age is one factor, when a water heater is over 10 years old you may want to consider replacement. If the water heater is leaking or you get only one hot shower these are two other signs of failure. Other indicators are slow recovery, noisy operation, calcium buildup, or no hot water. You can call one of PSE&G’s water heater experts at 1-800-240-3609 to help you.

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Do I have a high recovery water heater? 

Fast recovery water heaters will have more than 40,000 BTU input. The ID plate will note high or fast recovery.

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What size water heater do I need? 

Here is a quick test give one point for each: How many people in the home? How many bath tubes/showers? Add one (1) for each automatic dishwasher washing machines. Total this number and check the chart below.

Gas Water Heaters:

If the total is: Gallon Capacity Needed
4 or less 30 Gallon
5 - 7 40 Gallon
8 - 9 50 Gallon
10 or 12 75 Gallon

Make sure the BTUs of the new water heaters is equal to or greater than the one being replaced.

Electric Water Heaters:

If the total is: Gallon Capacity Needed
4 or less 40 Gallon
5 - 6 50 Gallon
7 - 8 66 Gallon
9 or 10 80 Gallon
10 or 12 120 Gallon

Never replace an electric water heater with a unit smaller in capacity than the one being removed.

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How do I find out what BTU my gas water heater is? 

This can be found on the manufacture’s ID plate on the side of the water heater…remember that is not the big yellow sticker that shows the energy efficiency but is a smaller plate that shows the gallons, serial number and BTUs.

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What does Energy Factor mean? 

EEF is an abbreviation for Energy Efficiency Factor. This is an indicator of the combined thermal efficiency and stand-by efficiency of a water heater. EEF ratings can be used to determine the availability of any efficiency rebates. These rebates are subject to change, for the most current information, please review the following link: Rebates available

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Water heater draw efficiency means what? 

Draw efficiency is the quantity of hot water available to the homeowner before the outlet water temperature decreases 25 degrees F.

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Can I spread the payment of a new water heater out over time? 

Yes, a Water Heater replaced under the WorryFree program can be paid for in 12 equal monthly payments on your PSE&G bill.

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Do I need a permit to replace a water heater? 

Yes, all towns in New Jersey require a Plumbing permit. The licensed installer as part of the WorryFree Replacement Program, will get all permits required and these will be included in your final PSE&G bill.

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Does PSE&G replace electric water heaters? 

Yes The PSE&G program covers both electric and gas residential water heaters.

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When you talk about water heaters what does Thermal Efficiency mean? 

This is the amount of generated BTUs which enter the water and the percentage of the total BTU passing out through the vent pipe. BTU or British Thermal Unit is the heat required to raise 1 pound of water one degree F.

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How can I get information about PSE&G’s water heater program? 

Call 1-800-539-7734 24 hours a day to get a Water Heater Specialist.

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How long does a water heater last? 

This is a very hard question because it depends on the quality of the water and the quality of the water heater. Water heaters in PSE&G’s service territory typically last between 10 and 12 years.

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My temperature and pressure relief valve is weeping, what could be the problem? 

You may have a defective T&P valve or your water company may have installed a meter with a check valve. Higher water pressure sometimes causes this problem. A PSE&G Service Tech can come to your home and diagnose the problem.

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I have brown rusty water coming from the hot water tap, what is the problem? 

You may need a new hot water heater, there could be bacteria in your system or your anode rod may have failed. You need a service call to diagnose the problem.

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What brand of water heater does PSE&G install? 

A.O. Smith is the brand PSE&G recommends. They manufacture a high quality unit that meets all of PSE&G’s requirements for long life and safety.

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How much does it cost to run my water heater? 

Water heating accounts for about 15% of an average home’s energy bill. It is important then to buy the most energy efficient unit you can afford.

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My kids take their showers and I never get a hot bath what is the problem? 

The recovery rate of your water heater is too slow and the size of the tank is too small. If space allows you should increase the size of the tank. You may also want to install a high recovery water heater that is designed to heat faster.

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How can I find out more about A.O. Smith Water Heaters? 

Their web site can help you at or you can call their Technical Information Center at 1-800-527-1953.

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Does PSE&G dispose of the old water heater? 

If you have PSE&G replace your water heater the removal of the old water heater is covered as part of the WorryFree service.

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What does an anode rod do in a water heater? 

This rod made of aluminum or magnesium is installed by manufactures to extend the life of the water heater, sacrificing this soft metal the tank corrosion is reduced.

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Water heater tanks are made of steel so what keeps them from rusting besides the anode rode? 

A.O. Smith water heaters are glass lined and this lining is fused to the internal surface of the tank at 1600 degrees providing corrosion protection.

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Dip tubes inside the water heater serve what purpose? 

This long plastic tube guides the cold water supply allowing the water to run down through the hot water to be deposited near the heating source.

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I drained water from my water heater and this white stuff came out what is it? 

Over time sediments or deposits of calcium and magnesium salts build up. If too much sediment builds up and adheres to the bottom of the tank the water heater may need to be replaced. These deposits rob you of both hot water and make it more costly to heat the water.

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How much clearance do I need around my gas water heater? 

You need 24 inches of service clearance in front of the heater and 2 inches from combustibles on the back and sides.

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How much combustion air do I need for a gas water heater? 

For every 1,000 BTU of fuel, you need 50 cubic feet of air. Safety is very important so always get a permit and have any new installation inspected.

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Does PSE&G replace mobile home water heaters? 

No, this type of water heater requires special equipment and you should use an plumber that specializes in that type of installation.

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Does PSE&G offer commercial water heaters? 

Yes, PSE&G’s installers provide complete commercial replacement services for businesses who are PSE&G customers and the installation is inside PSE&G’s territory.

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I have a WorryFree Replacement Parts Service Contract on my water heater does this cover the replacement labor for a new water heater? 

The PSE&G Replacement Parts Service Contract covers the labor to install parts not the installation of a replacement water heater.

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When the installer was rolling the new water heater into my basement I heard a rattling sound what was that? 

That is the sound of the flue baffle, which slows the exhaust gases down to increase the heat transfer inside the water heater. This baffle hangs inside the internal flue and makes the rattling sound when the Water heater is moved.

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