New Technologies Power Home Water Heating

New Technologies Power Home Water Heating


Did you know that water heating can account for as much as 25% of the energy consumed in your home? Yes, that special device which gives you a hot shower in the morning or helps to clean your dishes and clothes is a real energy beast. It is easy to forget about your hot water heater until something goes wrong with it or when you receive your next energy bill. Fortunately, technological changes in the way water is heated can reduce your energy costs significantly. With this in mind, you just may want to replace your current hot water heater with something a lot more efficient and a lot less taxing on your family budget.

Most water heaters in today’s homes offer an ample reservoir of hot water, usually between 20 and 80 gallons, which can be accessed at a moment’s notice. Which fuel used to heat the water in the tank will determine your energy costs. Hot water tanks can be heated with propane, natural gas, electricity, or fuel oil — if one particular energy source is cheaper where you live, then selecting that source to power your hot water heater can save you money.

Tankless hot water heaters are an option which can help reduce your energy costs. Instead of losing heat through the storage tank, cold water travels through a pipe and into the unit where it is heated by either natural gas or electricity. This “on demand” water heater will present only hot water as needed, however it isn’t able to provide as large a volume of hot water constantly as a traditional unit — you may get 2-5 gallons of hot water per minute which may not be enough if simultaneous demands (i.e., running the shower and doing laundry at the same time) are required of it.

Solar water heaters are catching on as they use an energy source — the sun — to provide the power necessary to heat your water. Of course, if you live in an area that has a limited amount of direct sunlight daily, then solar power isn’t for you. There are two types of solar heating water systems: active which come with circulating pumps and controls and inactive which do not.

Heat pump water heaters are worth considering especially if you live in a warmer climate where temperatures are constantly in the 40 to 90 degree range. Heat pump heaters transfers electricity from one place to another instead of creating heat directly. This type of system can be 2 to 3 times more efficient that a conventional heat pump, providing measurable energy savings each month.

Tankless coil and indirect water heater utilizes a home’s space heating system to heat water. They’re known as combination (integrated) water and space heating systems. According to the U.S. Energy Department, “A tankless coil water heater uses a heating coil or heat exchanger installed in a main furnace or boiler. Whenever a hot water faucet is turned on, the water flows through the heat exchanger. These water heaters provide hot water on demand without a tank, like a demand water heater, but because they rely on the furnace or boiler to heat the water directly, tankless coil water heaters work most efficiently during cold months when the heating system is used regularly. That’s why they can be an inefficient choice for many homes, especially for those in warmer climates.”

So what will your savings be with any given unit? That can depend on a number of factors as mentioned previously. Your gas or electric company may actually be able to help you out by offering to you a free energy analysis. With their survey and the research you conduct, savings can come your way paying for your home renovation project itself over time.


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Categories: Home Improvement

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".