Water Heater Options
Water heaters are among the least efficient appliances that can be found in most homes around the country. This is especially true in homes where the water heater is older or it is not properly insulated. Homeowners are often very surprised to learn just how much energy is wasted by their water heater on a daily basis. While there are a number of factors that impact this efficiency, the two most important are the placement and heating mechanism of the appliance. These two factors combined have the greatest impact on how much energy your water heater burns through.
Keeping Efficiency in Mind
When it comes to water heater placement, many homes have their water heater installed in the garage. Water heaters can sometimes be large, bulky appliances that don't look very good when installed inside. While this may make a lot of sense in terms of aesthetics, it's not a good strategy to use if you want to use less energy. Garages are not as well insulated as the inside of your home and are therefore more prone to heat loss on cold nights. This forces your hot water heater to work harder to keep your water at a consistent temperature.
The mechanism used to heat your water also plays a huge role in the efficiency of your system. Traditional base-heat water heaters are some of the least efficient models you can use. Heating a water tank from the bottom forces the appliance to exert large amounts of energy to spread that heat throughout the tank. This leads to the tank using far more energy than is necessary to provide even heating to your hot water tank. Using tankless systems, solar heating systems and certain types of copper coil heaters can be a much smarter way to use energy.
Tankless Water Heaters
A tankless water heater is also commonly referred to as an "on demand" water heater. This is because these water heaters produce hot water on demand without the need for a bulky water tank.
The unit is very unobtrusive and really isn't much more than an electric heating box installed on your wall. Water from your main water line is fed through an intake port on one side of the tankless water heater. As the water works through the system, it is heated by an electric heating element. Since the volume of water being heated is substantially smaller than in a tank, the water heats up almost instantly. This means that you don't have to keep the water at a specific temperature at all times. The water is only heated when you need it to be, saving you a lot of money on energy costs in the long run.
Solar Water Heaters
Solar water heaters take advantage of the immeasurable power of the sun to heat the water you use in your home. These systems are perhaps not as consistent as other efficient options, but they can be part of a holistic approach to energy conservation.
The premise of these systems is fairly simple. Water is run through piping under black tiles on your roof or even the side of your home. The idea is that the sun will heat the tiles which will in turn heat the water in the pipes below. Despite how rudimentary this may sound, the truth is that solar heating systems can actually produce a significant amount of heat. Since the heating mechanism is simply the use of passive sunlight, the cost of heating the water is essentially nonexistent. This makes solar water heaters a viable option for anyone looking to enhance the efficiency of their water heating system.
Explore Your Options
One of the biggest hurdles homeowners face when trying to become more efficient is a lack of information. Many people don't look into specific types of upgrades purely because they don't know the upgrade exists.
Thankfully, there are a lot of options to choose from when you want to make your hot water heating system more efficient. Due to the technology that is now available, it's possible to save a lot of money on your heating bills without spending a fortune on upgrades. While searching for the best option for your home, you may be surprised at just how affordable most of these heating options are. No matter what, remember to take your time and research your options thoroughly before you make your final decision. Doing the proper research now can save you a lot of time, money and effort later on.