Tips on how to save big with eco-friendly water heaters

September 24, 2014

Save on energy costs and do your part to help the environment by installing an eco-friendly water heater instead.
As gas and electricity costs continue to rise, homeowners are increasingly searching for sources of energy savings. The cost of heating water for household use accounts for up to 15 per cent of home energy costs. So many Canadian homeowners are turning to tankless water heaters and solar domestic water heating alternatives. Depending on the amount of water you use, a high efficiency water heater or alternative heating method can provide energy savings of up to 50 per cent.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular methods of heating household water:

Tips on how to save big with eco-friendly water heaters

Storage tank water heaters

This is the model most people are familiar with. Storage tank water heaters consist of an insulated tank that holds from 10 to 80 gallons of heated water ready for use. They can be fueled by oil, natural gas, propane or electricity. Newer, energy efficient models provide plenty of hot water for a family and require much less fuel to operate than past models.

Tankless water heaters

Tankless water heaters heat water on demand by passing it over heating coils. Heat loss is not a problem because hot water does not sit in the tank. Natural gas is the fuel of choice for tankless water heaters because there are no electric models currently on the market that are efficient enough to qualify for a tax rebate. Such incentives are important to many buyers. A tankless water heating system can cost as much as $2,000 to install; however, they are highly efficient and take up very little space.

Solar water heaters

As the name implies, solar water heaters are powered by free energy from the sun. They are much more expensive than other water heater types. But they provide energy savings of as much as 80 per cent. Solar heaters are typically used together with a conventional water heater to provide uninterrupted service when there is insufficient sunlight to power the system.

Making your existing water heater more energy-efficient

If you're not planning to stay in your current home very long or if you're renting your water heater, you may not want to replace your unit. However, there are ways to make your existing water heater more efficient -- and three of them don't cost anything!

  1. Use less hot water. Or at least be conscious of your hot water use. Is a 30-minute shower really necessary?
  2. Lower the temperature setting on your water heater. Set your thermostat between 50 and 55 degrees Celsius. Lowering the temperature also reduces the build-up of minerals and their corrosive effect. So your water heater will actually last longer!
  3. Clean your water heater for maximum efficiency.Your owner's manual will have directions on how to clean your water heater and do regular maintenance to control the build-up of sediment inside the unit.
  4. Insulate your water heater and pipes.If you can feel the heat on the outside of your water heater, that's heat loss that's costing you money. You should probably call a professional to wrap an insulation blanket around a gas water heater.

Technological developments provide improved products and performance, plus, a wider range of water heater options with each passing year. Consider consulting with a competent contractor before choosing any type of water heating system to be sure it is the best fit for your needs.

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