Whether you're frugal or environmentally-conscious, it makes sense to upgrade your conventional water heater to a more efficient model. If you're not happy with your current heater's energy usage or limited lifespan, consider swapping it out with one of these alternative water heaters.
Heat Water on Demand With a Tankless Heater
Conventional heaters keep a few gallons of water hot at a time in order to provide your home with the hot water it needs. While this style of heating is effective, it uses energy at all times to keep the water hot. This means you pay up to 20% more per month to heat water even when you won't need it, like when you sleep or when you're away at work. Tankless heaters eliminate this wasted energy by heating water for you only when you need it.
When a tankless heater is installed, it will be placed on the water line close to your fixtures and appliances. Whenever a dishwasher or shower knob is turned on, the tankless heater will immediately begin heating the water that passes through it. This can slow down the water flow and cause reduced pressure on the other end, but it also ensures that your water is the right temperature. When you no longer need hot water, the tankless heater turns off to conserve energy.
The biggest benefit of a tankless heater is that it can provide you with an instant and continuous stream of hot water for as long as you need it. You could conceivably run a hot tap for hours without a pause. Unfortunately, tankless heaters are easy to overwhelm with simultaneous use by several sources, since the water can only flow through them so quickly and still be heated. Bigger households may need more than one tankless heater during peak water-consumption hours, or they may need to supplement it with another style of water heater.
Use Solar Power to Cut Costs
Solar water heaters can be pricey to install, but they are effectively free to run afterward, which can cut your electricity bill drastically. Modeled after conventional water heaters, solar machines will usually have a water tank that is kept hot at all times.
During the day, a dark-colored collector plate absorbs heat from the sun and sends it down to a head-conductive coil in the water tank, which maintains a high tank temperature. Multiple collector plates may be installed to increase the energy absorbed, and consequently speed up the heating of the tank. During the evening, residual heat make keep water warm for an hour or two after the sun goes down, but the water will get cold from the late evening to the early morning.
You can cut your energy consumption with a solar heating system, but you'll still need a backup heater as well, since your water won't be heated at night or on overcast days otherwise. Solar heaters pair well with both tankless models and heat pumps.
Get Heat From Your Surroundings With a Pump Heater
Ideal primarily for hot climates, heat pumps take in the heat from their surroundings, magnify it, and channel it into the water tank. They can function like traditional heaters on cold days, but are significantly more energy-efficient on warm days.
Pump systems come in two varieties: those that take warmth from the air and those that take it from the ground. Air intake models need to be placed in a hot room of the house, like the furnace room or kitchen. Geothermal heaters, which use the earth's heat, need to have heat-conductive rods buried under your home. While the installation for such a pump is the most expensive, the pump itself will last for decades and function highly efficiently, even in winter.
Air intake pumps may need supplementary heating systems in winter, when the air in your home is coldest. Geothermal pumps can function as stand-alone heaters, since they are typically more sophisticated.
Conventional water heaters can be costly to run and quick to break down compared to your alternatives. If you're considering upgrading your water heater to an alternative model, click here to find out more about options that best fit your household. Worry-free hot water could be just a few service days away.