Today I have a guest post for you from Mark Healey. We all want to save money and to conserve natural resources. A conventional water heater has it’s drawbacks, I will let Mark tell you about the options available to us.
Water Heaters Designed to Reduce
For most people looking to save money on utility bills, it’s easy to forget about the conventional gas or electric water heater hidden away in the basement utility room guzzling energy. Because nothing permanently retains energy, heaters with tanks require power even when they aren’t being used. Although insulated, these systems radiate heat away and when internal temperature drops below a threshold, the energy supply kicks back on to maintain a consistent temperature – just like your refrigerator.
So, if the shelf life of your current water heater is drawing near end or you’re building a new home and researching appliances, there are a few investment alternatives that can reduce your water-heating energy demand. However, as with anything, upfront costs may vary depending on what you’re looking for.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters or on-demand water heaters pump cold water through a heat exchanger where it is heated immediately and sent to its destination. As implied by their name, tankless water heaters do not use a water storage tank. Both gas and electric energy sources may be used to heat the water. And, as mentioned above, where gas and electric water heaters constantly lose energy due to standby losses, on-demand systems avoid this deficiency. By eliminating standby losses, tankless systems can reduce your water-heating bill by 10 to 20 percent.
Because tankless systems are much smaller than conventional units, they can be stored in smaller areas – like the walls of closets – making cleaning and maintenance easier to perform.
Who do tankless water heaters work best for?
If you live in a household with a large family or if you consume copious volumes of water, then a tankless system won’t do you much good (unless you’re looking for a supplemental supply of hot water). However, if you live alone or with one other person, you’re the perfect candidate for one of these units.
Hybrid Water Heaters
Hybrid water heaters combine technology from both gas / electric water heaters and tankless water heaters, hence the “hybrid.” However, these systems fall victim to deficits associated with both technologies. Although design elements differ from one manufacturer to the next, the principal heating methods remain the same. Hybrid units consist of a series of heated copper pipes and a storage tank. The heated copper pipes circulate water in multiple passes to heat the water quickly and efficiently. The storage reservoir serves to hold a backup supply of hot water in times of high demand. As a whole, hybrid water heaters can greatly reduce home energy expenditure all while meeting your hot water needs.
Who do hybrid water heaters work best for?
As stated earlier, tankless systems are great for people in small households with few residents. Conversely, hybrid units can stream larger quantities of hot water simultaneously to multiple destinations, meaning they work well in homes with several individuals. After all, no one likes jockeying for a hot shower.
Solar Water Heaters
Solar water heaters, the crème de la crème of green water heaters, use a tank much like a conventional system only the water is heated via solar energy. Contrary to popular opinion, if you live in a relatively cloudy location or think solar isn’t worth it because of its uselessness during the night, think again. Because we live in a world that allows for net metering, the needle on your home’s meter moves both directions. So, any energy you funnel back into the grid gets credited. As a whole, solar water heaters are 50 percent less expensive to run than conventional gas and electric units.
Who do solar water heaters work best for?
Put plainly, investing in a solar water heater will set you back with up front costs, but the system will eventually pay for itself. Plus, if you live in the states, you can receive a fairly substantial tax credit. In all, solar water heaters are great for homeowners who plan to stick around for 20 or so years.
For more ways to save, learn how to conserve water.