Water Heaters: Energy Efficiency at its Best
Everyone's trying to save a buck and one of the best ways to do it is to cut down on energy use. Think about where your energy dollars go. Lights, kitchen appliances, running the television, computer, air conditioning and heating are a few examples.
One of the most commonly overlooked expenses is the heating of water. In fact, 25% of each energy dollar goes to heating water. We use hot water throughout the day without even thinking about the expense. It's easy to forget there's a pilot light keeping the water in your storage tank warm.
Taking a hot shower, washing clothes, or running the dishwasher have become mindless chores. Having hot water handy is expected. We use hot water without considering how it's generated - until we receive the energy bill - a gentle reminder that we pay for the use.
It's important to remember that water heaters are one of our largest appliances. They operate all day every day, an expense that can be reduced. So what are your options? Install a tankless water heater. The one you're currently using is probably outdated, and with everyone going green, what's available today is much more efficient.
Like most appliances, water heating systems have improved over the years. Today, there are greener options available. In fact, when it's time to replace the one in your home, you'll be faced with choosing a model you've probably never seen before. This could be good or bad, depending on your perspective.
The drawback - new models are foreign, so it's not unusual to feel a little leery. Most people don't like change. The advantage - these new designs are cost-effective, and in today's world there's more variety than ever. They're growing in popularity and their efficiency is the reason why.
What are Tankless Water Heaters?
Tankless water heating systems - also called on-demand water heaters - provide hot water without the use of a storage tank. These units can supplement a regular water heater in a distant location, or it can meet all of your hot water needs.
There are two types of tankless models: point-of-use and whole house. The technology is the same. The type you choose should depend on your household needs.
Point-of-use models fit under a kitchen or bathroom sink. They're ideal for laundry rooms too. They are designed to enhance your existing water heater providing a little extra hot water where you need it the most.
One common problem with a tanked version is that the hot water runs out, forcing you to wait for more to be generated. Point-of-use designs eliminate the wait. Turn on the faucet and receive the hot water you need.
Whole house models are installed either in the garage or in the same closet that holds your tanked water heating unit. It's compact size, fits in small spaces easily, and it provides enough hot water for the entire household. A whole house option allows you to run the shower and dishwasher simultaneously without running out.
This type of water heating unit uses electricity, gas, or propane gas as a heat source. They take up very little space and heat water on an as needed basis. Initially, the entire process takes about 5 seconds.
In both cases water is heated when it flows over a heat exchanger or heating coils. As the water flows, it reaches the desired temperature. It continues to heat and flow until you turn the faucet off. When you shut the hot water off, the heating coils automatically shut off too.
How do They Save You Money?
Going tankless saves an average of 25% on monthly energy costs, perhaps hundreds of dollars in the long run. How you ask? Read on to learn more.
Consider this - some cars average 15 MPG, while others might average 25 MPG; still, more energy efficient vehicles, like hybrids, for example, can save even more money on gas. Like cars, some water heating units are energy efficient too. We buy the most efficient vehicle to get back and forth from work so why not buy the most efficient water heater for our homes.
Eliminate standby losses associated with traditional tanked models. Standby loss describes the energy wasted to maintain a specific temperature in the tank. Since tankless options don't store hot water, they can significantly lower energy costs. What would you rather spend money on? Would you rather pay a high energy bill or put money toward a yearly vacation?
Tankless water heating units are the most efficient option on the market today. The initial cost and installation fees might be more than the traditional tanked system, but overall savings and operating costs are considerably less.
- Compact in size
- Eliminate standby losses
- Provide warm water immediately
- Unlimited hot water supply
- Long life span - not subject to corrosion
- Can deliver 5 gallons per minute
- Gas, electric, or propane gas is available
- Don't supply enough hot water for simultaneous use
- Water temperatures might fluctuate
- Electric water heaters draw more power - increasing energy costs
- Gas water heaters waste a lot of energy costing the same as a tanked version
These misconceptions are misleading. Tankless water heating units are efficient and effective. The fact is that they provide an endless amount of hot water. How? Water's heated as it moves over the heating element; as a result, water is continuously warmed.
Moreover, using electricity is not expensive. It's no more costly than an electric stove or oven. There's a difference between a gas tankless water heater and a tanked one.
Gas tankless water heating systems don't store hot water. They use a pilot light to heat water, but like the electric version, they only heat water as needed. As a result, energy costs are less.
There are multiple reasons to invest in a tankless water heating system, but the number one reason is energy efficiency. Cut energy costs and save money, it's that simple.