Will Lowering Hot Water Temperature Save on Energy?

Your hot water heater can contribute a sizable amount to your energy bills each month. Tank water heaters keep dozens of gallons of water hot and ready for use, but this comes at a price. One way to reduce the energy used by your water heater is to lower the temperature setting. However, it is not the only way to lower your hot water bill. Here are some tips for reducing the cost of hot water in your home.

Reset the Water Temperature

You can set the water temperature on tank water heaters, which can reduce energy use. An efficient setting is 120 degrees. This is hot enough to kill bacteria yet takes less energy to maintain.

Use Less Hot Water

Simply using less hot water is a good way to reduce your energy costs. Shortening showers, using cold water for laundry and not running hot water down the drain can all help reduce the amount of hot water used and decrease energy bills.

Use Insulation

An insulating blanket over a hot water tank can help reduce heat loss. This can be helpful when trying to conserve energy.

Hot Water Heater Maintenance

Like most appliances, hot water heaters work more efficiently when they are maintained. Flushing once a year and replacing components when needed can help reduce energy use. Keep in mind that water heaters that are 10+ years old are most likely less efficient than newer models. Replacement can help with lowering energy bills.

By keeping the water temperature setting lower and following these tips, you can see a difference on your hot water energy costs. Talk to your local plumber about scheduling routine water heater maintenance or explore replacing your old heater with a new, efficient model.

Posted on behalf of:
Seagraves Plumbing Sewer & Septic
4980 Plant Atkinson Rd SE
Smyrna, GA 30080
(494) 792-2221

Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for Your Home?

Is time ticking away on your old water heater? Most tank water heaters last about 10-15 years, sometimes more with excellent maintenance. However, before you replace your old tank with a new tank, it may be time to consider the benefits of a tankless water heater. While tankless models are not right for everyone, they can be a great way to save energy and offer on-demand hot water when you need it. To determine whether a tankless water heater is right for your home, consider these factors.

Lower Energy Bills

Tankless water heaters only heat water when you need it, unlike tank models that keep a hot water supply available 24/7. This can be a significant savings on your energy bills, lowering your water heating costs up to hundreds of dollars per year.

On-Demand Hot Water

When a tank model runs out of hot water, it must refill and reheat water before any more is available for use. With tankless models, the hot water never runs out as it is heated as you go. However, excessive hot water use from a few different sources in your home at one time can impact the stream of hot water available.

Less Space Needed

Tankless water heaters are excellent for smaller homes with limited space. There is no large tank to store and the unit can be installed on a wall, giving you more room.

Not sure if a tankless water heater will meet your needs? Talk to your local plumber about the pros and cons of going tankless for your next water heater. There are different sizes and outputs available to ensure you get the convenience you desire while saving money on your energy bills.

Posted on behalf of:
Seagraves Plumbing Sewer & Septic
4980 Plant Atkinson Rd SE
Smyrna, GA 30080
(494) 792-2221

New Energy Standards for Residential Water Heaters

The National Energy Appliance Conservation Act or NEACA has introduced new standards for water heater energy efficiency for 2015. Starting April 16, 2015, water heaters sold and installed will be required to have a much higher energy rating than previously allowed. This is expected to have a large impact on energy conservation, with over $60 billion in energy savings over the next twenty years.

How Does the New Regulations Affect Consumers?

Consumers with older water heater models should be aware of the new regulations as it may affect them when it comes time for replacement. For the most part, consumers will benefit from these new regulations as they may see a large difference in their energy bills. Some of the water heater energy factors (EF) have been increased to over double the previous rate. This means they are able to use much less energy to heat water, whether they are fueled by electricity, gas or oil.

One impact on consumers that may be inconvenient is that newer models may have different hook-up requirements than their previous water heater. This could mean that it may need better ventilation, a larger space or an electrical source for gas heaters. In some cases, homeowners may need to downsize the size of their tank to accommodate the new space requirements or buy two smaller units.

It will be important for homeowners to consult with their local plumber before buying a water heater with these new requirements. A professional plumber can evaluate the current set-up and recommend the best options for installing a new model. The good news is that once more homes are converted to the new efficient models, less energy will be needed to heat water in the home.

Posted on behalf of:
Kiddco Plumbing Inc
Sterling, VA
(703) 435-4441

Should You Buy a Tankless Water Heater?

Is it time to replace your home or business water heater? Are you looking at some of the newer options available such as a “tankless” model?  Some advertise that tankless heaters will cut your energy costs over half that of regular tank heaters, claiming 22 percent more energy efficiency on average, which could save you an attractive $70 to $80 per year. However, the initial cost of a tankless water heater is much more thana standard storage type water heater and it can take years  to break even. Furthermore, there seems to be a great deal of variation in installation costs and energy savings depending on the individual circumstances.

In addition to the potential for savings in energy costs, those who endorse tankless water heater systems also indicate another benefit – the amount of hot water it provides is seemingly endless. However, consumers complain about inconsistent water temperatures and tankless models first release cold water as a gauge to how hot the temperate needs to be. Also, be aware that tankless water heaters do not instantly deliver hot water, as it takes time to heat the water to the desired temperature. Also, unlike gas standard models, prepare to lose hot water during a power outage since a tankless water heater has electric controls.

A tankless heater will cost about three times the cost of a standard heater and average installation costs can be up to four-times higher than standard. Additionally, tankless heaters need more care and it is recommended that they be serviced once a year by a qualified technician. Your local plumbing professional will be able to give you all the pros and cons of various water heating systems that will provide the best fit for your individual needs and budget.

Standard Water Heater Tanks Vs. Tankless

As with most home appliances, today’s consumer is looking for energy efficiency. It is well known that the cost of heating water is one of the largest expenses in most homes; therefore, cost conscious homeowners are looking for energy conserving hot water solutions.

The tankless water heating system is currently the most popular because it boasts an annual savings of 25% compared to a standard 40-gallon water heater. Tankless water heaters are also called an “on-demand” system because, instead of continuously maintaining a tank full of hot water, a tankless water heater operates only as needed. When hot water is required, cold water is heated by a gas  burner or electric element to a predetermined temperature as it makes its way through the tankless water heater.

Obviously, both systems have their pros and cons. Homeowners should evaluate these together in order to make the best decision possible. Likewise, current homeowners looking to upgrade should consult with their local plumbing professional to help them decide what is right for their individual needs. Standard water heaters, with their proven track record, are cheaper to purchase and install, as well as relatively inexpensive to repair and replace. Of course, on the down side, standard tanks are always “on” and their bulky size requires a lot of space. Less durable than a tankless system, which can last for 20 or more years, the standard heater has a lifespan of 12 to 14 years. A tankless water heating system is more energy efficient and its compact size allows versatility of installation. However, the unit can cost at least twice as much as a traditional storage tank; installation and retrofit for remodels is very expensive as well.


Selecting The Right Water Heater for Your Home

Before deciding which kind of water heater you’d prefer for your home or business, make sure that you do, indeed, need to purchase a new one. Of course, if the storage tank is rusted through with corrosion then you will need a new one. Some water heater repairs are not difficult for a good plumber such as a heating element that no longer works or a leaking pressure valve. When deciding whether or not to repair or purchase, consider the annual  cost of repair plus the added energy usage of an older water heater compared with a new, energy efficient water heater.

You will find that new technology has also made improvements into the world of water heaters with options such as solar water heaters and tankless water heater systems. Although more costly to purchase, they promise savings in the long run due to their energy efficiency. Realistically, the amount of savings you will pocket depends largely upon which one you buy and where you live. Your local plumbing contractor will be well informed of all the pros and cons of various systems, so as to best assist you with the right purchase for your individual needs.

While most water tank heaters look alike on the outside, they are not and paying a little more for your heater will get you a better, more energy efficient water heater. Typically, the more costly models will have a longer warranty period, as well as a higher quality of parts such as the heating element. The more costly models will also have thicker insulation, along with a better metal exterior that combats corrosion. Finally, the size of the right water heater for your home or business depends on the number of people that typically use hot water in order to calculated how many gallons of water would be needed per day.

Save Water, Energy And Money With Efficient Appliances

Almost all appliances and water equipment now come in energy and water saving models. Not only are these newer appliances better for the environment and a green choice; they can also be good for your pocket book. When replacing old appliances and equipment within your home, consider the benefits of switching to these more efficient devices.

  • Washers. New low energy and water washers use new technology to get larger loads clean. Instead of filling the washers with water like their predecessors, they spin and flip the clothes through a stream of water instead of soaking them. This can save up to 20% in energy and 35% in water costs.
  • Dishwashers. Older dishwasher can waste up to 10 gallons every load. New efficient models use new innovations to get dishes cleaner using less water and energy. Improved filters, sensors and jets make these new models work smarter, focusing their energy on getting the off the grime without wasting water.
  • Tankless water heaters. One of the biggest savers in energy and water are the new tankless water heaters. These models take up less space and can even be mounted outside. They do not have a tank, so water is only heated when it’s needed, saving energy and water all year round. When you are ready to replace your old heater, a professional plumber can install your new tankless heater.

Although most people cannot afford to go out and replace all their appliances at once, replacing your older equipment as they wear out with these efficient models is a smart choice. They will save money in the long run and be less wasteful.

Saving Energy on Water Heating

Heating water accounts for large percentage of the energy used in most homes.  According to the Department of Energy, between 14% and 25% of residential energy consumption is due to heating water.   Energy efficient water heating can make a big difference in your energy bill while helping to conserve the environment.

For many homeowners, replacing their storage type water heater with a demand type water heating system is the best, most energy efficient water heating alternative.  Depending on the amount of hot water used in the home and the type of demand system installed, tankless water heating systems can save as much as 50% on water heating energy costs.

However, tankless water heating systems are not for everyone.  They are expensive to install and they have a few drawbacks, especially in homes that rely on electricity for water heating.  If you don’t want to install a tankless water heating system, there are still some great ways to save energy with a standard storage type water heater.

Selecting an energy efficient water heater can make a big difference in your energy consumption.  Well insulated energy efficient water heaters waste less energy due to standby heat loss and are more efficient than standard models.  On an electric water heater, you may consider installing a timer to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.

Installing an insulation blanket can help reduce standby heat loss in older water heaters that lack adequate insulation.  Heat traps installed in the water inlet and outlet lines also reduce energy loss by preventing unwanted hot water flow out of the tank.  In addition, reducing the temperature setting and installing low flow showerheads and faucets can lower energy usage for water heating.

Save Money and Energy With Water Heater Heat Traps

If you have a conventional storage type water heater, you can save money and energy by installing heat traps on your water heating system.  According to the Department of Energy, installing heat traps on the inlet and outlet pipes of your water heater can save between $15 and $30 per month.

Convective energy loss is one of the biggest energy wasters with conventional water heaters.  Heat traps save energy by reducing convective heat loss through the inlet and outlet pipes.  They allow water to flow into the tank but prevent unwanted hot water flow out of the tank through the inlet and outlet pipes.

A pair of heat traps only costs around $30 plus labor.  Heat traps are installed in the water inlet and outlet pipes of your water heater and installation requires having the skill and equipment to solder the pipe joints.  Some handy homeowners may have the ability to install the heat traps themselves, but most of us will be better off having them installed by a qualified plumbing contractor.

In either case, you can recover the cost of the heat traps within the first month or two of operation and enjoy energy savings for years to come.  If you are installing a new conventional water heater, check to see if the water heater comes equipped with heat traps.  Many new conventional tank-type water heaters are equipped with heat traps, but if not your plumbing contractor can easily install heat traps at the same time the water heater is installed.

Water Heater Tank Size

If you are replacing your existing water heater, choosing the right size can help you minimize energy costs.  With water heaters, bigger is not always better.  Don’t move up to a larger size water heater unless you really need to.

Most residential water heaters hold 40 to 50 gallons although you can find water heaters a small as 30 gallons and as large as 100 gallons.  Buying a water heater with a larger tank than you need will only increase your standby heat loss which is the energy consumed keeping the tank of water hot even though there is no immediate demand for hot water.

Consider whether you often ran out of water with your old water heater.  If the answer is no, then you don’t need a large size tank in your new water heater.  If you occasionally ran out of hot water, then you need to do a little more analysis.  Is your old water heater full of sediment?  If so, then the tank capacity was significantly reduced and a new water heater of the same size may provide all the hot water you need.

Did you run out of hot water while placing multiple demands on the water heater such as washing clothes or running the dishwasher while showering?  By spacing out the demand for hot water, you may be able to continue using a smaller, more energy efficient water heater rather than moving up to a bigger one.

If running out of hot water was a frequent occurrence due to your family size and lifestyle, then moving up to a bigger tank would be a good choice.