Ask a homeowner what they think their biggest energy expense is, and they’ll likely tell you it’s home heating. But the fact is, it’s water heating that can represent as much as 30% of energy bills, or even more.
When you consider that between bathing and showering, washing dishes, laundry, cleaning and other tasks, the typical American household is paying to heat between 60 and 65 gallons of hot water a day. It just makes sense to look for peak efficiency when it comes to heating water!
Any new water heater will be more efficient than older technology, but in addition to efficiency, you need to consider what’s powering that equipment. Some forms of energy are more efficient than others when it comes to heating water. Let’s detail some of that:
There are limited options if you want a high-efficiency electric water heater. One of the only types of electric water heater certified by Energy Star is a heat pump—also called hybrid-type— water heater. They’re more expensive to buy and install, and they aren’t ideal for long cold New Hampshire winters and short summers.
That’s because since they work by pulling heat from the surrounding air, so they’ll have to work a lot harder around here, which will end up costing you more money in energy expenditure. They also need a lot of space around them and need to be in an area of your home with a consistent temperature between 40 and 90 degrees. Really, the only reason to go with an electric heat pump model in northern New England is if you don’t have access to propane or gas readily available.
If you want choices, a propane water heater is the way to go. Propane generates more Btus than an equivalent amount of electricity, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat or energy.
For example, propane water heaters generate much more hot water at a cheaper cost per gallon. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes that heat water with propane rather than electricity can see average annual savings of $174—or more!
And with propane, you can choose from more types of water heaters, without sacrificing efficiency.
A high-efficiency tank-type water heater is a more efficient version of the classic storage tank type. They use 10% to 20% less energy than their less-efficient cousins, which translates to as much as $140 in savings annually.
For even more efficiency, consider a high-efficiency tankless style. Tankless propane water heaters—also known as on-demand water heaters—instantly heat water when you need it, rather than keeping a large tank hot all the time. The result is virtually unlimited hot water!
While tankless models can be more expensive, all that efficiency means you’ll lowering your energy costs by as much as 40%. Because there’s no need for a large tank, they don’t require much space—considerably less room than a 55-gallon tank. Most are about the size of a suitcase.
They can also be wall-mounted, which means a tankless water heater can be placed just about anywhere in the house, including closets and crawl spaces. Finally, they are a good investment. Because it doesn’t store water, a tankless water heater will last 18 to 20 years on average. The primary culprit in the limited lifespan of a conventional water heater is the corrosive water stored in its tank.
If you’ve decided a propane water heater is the best choice for you, the pros at Pemi River Fuels have the experience and knowledge to help you select the right size and type of water heater for your home.
We offer top-quality models from Rinnai that help you maximize energy efficiency when heating your water—and can help you save with generous rebates. Contact us today to get started.