Can a Gas Water Heater be Eco Friendly?

Cutting the Carbon Footprint with a Gas Water Heater

Having hot water is a necessity in the modern world. Hot water is required to bathe, wash dishes, clean clothes, and sanitize items like baby bottles. To do this, you need to have a gas water heater.

Heating hot water with a gas water heater, however, releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the environment. This is part of your greenhouse gas emission, otherwise known as the carbon footprint.

If you are an environmentally pro-active individual - or even if you just want to save some money - cutting your carbon footprint is an important goal.

Consider this: the smaller your carbon footprint, the smaller your utilities charges. A win-win for both the environment and you!

Consider How Much Hot Water You Use

One of the best ways to shrink your carbon foot print is to consider how much energy you use. A good place to start is in your own home by focusing your hot water usage. Hot water is a large part of every day living.

It becomes routine. Paying your gas water heating bill becomes routine too. Thus, you probably haven't taken much time to consider just how much hot water you're using.

According to the EPA, an average American family of four will use 400 gallons of water in a single day! That's quite an impressive - and dismal - number. When 16.8% of this goes to showering, 15.7% to the faucet, and 21.7% to laundry, you start to gain an understanding of your usage.

Now consider that with every 20 gallons of hot water produced 13,211.95 BTUs of energy is burned. That's only 2% of your average daily consumption! This can get expensive.

The Consumer Energy Report indicates that a million BTUs of natural gas costs an average of $5.67, propane costs $13.92, and electricity runs about $34.03. There is definitely money to be saved and carbon to be cut, but how do we do it?

Cutting the Carbs


Right now, you are most likely using a traditional tanked water heater. You might think this is your only choice - it's not.

Today, there are tankless water heating systems available to help save some green for your wallet and the planet.

The University of Wisconsin's Solar Energy Lab calculated that a four-person household generates about eight tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year - double that of a typical car - just using a traditional electric water heater.

A traditional water heating unit generates two tons of CO2 annually. All of this is bad news for the global environment and household incomes. An economical choice is to switch to a tankless gas water heater.

Savings wise, you can achieve upwards of 50% when you switch!

Tankless Savings

There's a reason why this water heating unit is also called the "on-demand" water heater. Without a tank, water is heated on an as-needed basis.

There's no waste from thermal heat loss, either environmentally or monetarily. No water is kept warm while you're not using it. Just turn on the faucet and enjoy instant hot water using the new tank-free design.

If your family of four spends about $140 a month on natural gas, you're also leaving behind a carbon footprint of 0.15 metric tons of CO2.

Imagine cutting that bill in half each month and you could be looking at savings of close to 0.075 metric tons of CO2 and $900 a year! In other words, you just got a .50 cent raise at work.

Tankless Water Heater Lifespan

The initial cost of a tankless water heating unit can sometimes be a bit pricier initially, depending on the brand and special features. However, you'll be saving a great deal in replacements.

Traditional gas water heating units tend to rust and collect mineral build-up over time. This greatly shortens the product's lifespan which can cost you more overall.

If a traditional option lasts for approximately 10 years, a tankless unit can last anywhere from 14 to 20 years and in some cases even longer.

There also tends to be less hassle with maintenance using a tank-free option as the unit is easily accessible.

Cutback on Replacements

Reducing replacements prevents material waste from being buried in landfills. Consequently, this also prevents virgin materials from being used to create new gas water heaters. Plus, the smaller, more compact size of the tankless unit requires fewer materials to construct.

When the time finally comes to replace your tankless water heating system recycling is a great way to help the environment. A 2008 article by the UK Guardian found that recycling, even when shipping those materials overseas for processing, still produces more carbon savings than landfilling old materials and using virgin ones.

So don't feel bad if you have to drive a few extra miles to recycle, or if you know the material will be shipped half-way around the world, the carbon savings from recycling over landfilling wins hands down. The study discovered that 1.3 to 1.6 metric tons of CO2 was saved per ton of waste.

 It just makes environmental and common sense.

A Great Eco-Friendly Option

Investing in a tankless water heater is a smart choice for you and the planet.

You could be eliminating 0.075 metric tons of CO2 per year - greatly reducing the carbon foot print - without having to actively change your lifestyle.

When you do factor in lifestyle changes, such as purchasing Energy Star products, adjusting the thermostat, showering over taking a bath, and washing clothes on cold (heating water accounts for 90% of a washing machine's power consumption) the savings are tremendous.

Of course, all this translates into big cash savings! If you're eager to go green and do your part, this is a great way to get started.

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