Have you ever tried taking a shower in your home while the washing machine and dishwasher are both running? Maybe you have a few kids, and when everyone takes a shower at once, you run out of hot water in 5 minutes flat. If you’ve experienced anything like this, you’ve probably thought about purchasing a newer, more efficient hot water heater.
Options for heating the air in your home have been slowly improving and growing over time. Unfortunately, water heating technology has stayed relatively the same since the 1960s. Heating water has been cheap, reliable, and uses less energy than the home heating and cooling equipment, which means there was never a big push to improve water heating. And most of these water heaters have come in at around the 60% efficiency range.
Water heating technology is finally catching up to home heating efficiency. Many people nowadays want to be environmentally friendly as well as see high efficiency for a good price. Now that homeowners are seeing energy improvements in their ultra-efficient furnaces and air conditioners, they’ve been looking to improve their water heaters.
Because there haven’t been incremental improvements in water heaters like home heat and air conditioning, there are almost no options between the standard 60% efficiency and the high-efficiency units that are 92%+ efficient. And the price of a high-efficiency water heater can be double or triple the price of a standard water heater.
So if you do decide to purchase a high-efficiency water heater, what should you get? Tankless units are a great way to go. You have essentially endless hot water because they heat your water instantly, rather than storing gallons of hot water and running out. You’ll also save money on your gas or electric bill (depending on what kind of heater you get) each month. And they last longer than traditional tank water heaters. Although they cost more upfront because tankless water heaters are getting more attention, the popularity and options will help drive costs down, installation will get easier, and efficiency will get even better.
However, the biggest drawback of tankless units is the requirement of maintenance. A tankless owner will need to have their unit flushed out at least every other year. But these units are still worth it: they save money over time, are better for the environment, and you can enjoy long, hot showers anytime!
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