These days, whenever homeowners contemplate the purchase of a major new appliance, considerations include not only features, installation, and basic cost but also energy efficiency. Spending a little more upfront for an appliance that is more efficient can often reap savings in the long term, reducing yearly energy usage as well as running cost.
Consider the humble water heater. This appliance supplies hot water for your dishwashers, sinks, washing machines, and showers, and thus is often the second-highest energy-guzzler in your home. Upgrading to a more energy-efficient model offers significant savings.
Tank Vs. Tankless Heaters
Most homeowners are familiar with the traditional model, a tank water heater. It comes in various sizes depending on the dimensions of the home and the family’s needs. Basically it’s a metal heating tank fueled by gas or electricity that keeps a large amount of water at a specific temperature, so it’s ready on tap.
An option that yearly becomes more popular is a tankless water heater. Much smaller in size than traditional heaters, tankless water heaters are engineered to swiftly heat up the water flowing through a series of inner pipes to provide an endless supply of hot water on demand.
Several new technologies have made tank hot water heaters increasingly more energy efficient, but the higher-priced tankless water heaters still out-compete them in terms of lower usage cost and efficiency.
Tankless Water Heaters Conserve Energy
Storage tank heaters are at a disadvantage because they must constantly keep a large amount of water hot. Heat loss to the ambient surrounding air is inevitable, forcing the unit to kick on to maintain a predetermined heat setting even when the hot water isn’t being used.
Tankless heaters only kick on when there is a demand, reducing usage and running cost. They also are considerably smaller than traditional heaters and so can be installed close to where they are needed, potentially providing less heat lost in transit as well as less water wasted. Also keep in mind that the higher-priced tankless heaters last 8-10 years longer than traditional heaters, spreading the costs and energy savings over a longer period of time.
Those energy and budget savings can’t be ignored. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Saver program calculates that, for households using fewer than 41 gallons of water a day, tankless water heaters are 24% to 34% more energy efficient than tanks. Installing tankless heaters near where they’re needed can increase this efficiency by 27% to 50%. In fact, using a tankless water heater can save most families around $100 per year just on their home energy costs.
Choosing a significant new appliance for your home can be a difficult decision, weighing cost, energy efficiency, and environmental impact. It’s always smart to sit down with your local trusted plumber for help in choosing the perfect replacement appliance to fit your needs, goals, and budget.