Going Green with Hot Water Heating: How Much Does It Cost?
We'll get into details later, but first, let's address the most common concern among building owners when it comes to green remodeling: Cost. When it comes to hot water heater costs, the amount you pay is primarily a matter of personal preference. You can either pay more money upfront to install a modern, energy-efficient hot water heating system, or you can pay in the long run.
Going Green with Hot Water Heating Has Real Value
Putting a dent in your monthly utility bills is, of course, just the beginning. The true worth of going green is much greater than any dollars-and-cents estimates. For example, by lowering your building’s energy intake, you'll be decreasing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. When you think about it, greening your hot water heater is as much about leaving a better environment for your children and grandchildren as it is about saving a few dollars on your utility bill— and that's worth far more than any bottom line.
How to Save Money While Buying a New Hot Water Heater
So, how can you begin saving money and the atmosphere by conserving hot water heating? Here are some tips to get the wheels moving.
Purchase a Water Heater with a High-Efficiency Rating— Water heater efficiency is calculated by estimating the amount of fuel energy that ultimately comes out of the tap as hot water. This is referred to as the heater's energy factor or EF. High-efficiency gas water heaters have EF ratings of .62 If you want to save money, the higher the EF rating you can afford, the better.
Install a Water Heater with Sealed Combustion— Instead of using indoor air for combustion, sealed combustion water heaters use outside air. They reduce energy costs by not wasting heated or cooled indoor air during the combustion process, and they minimize the risk of toxic carbon monoxide gas back drafting into your home.
Install an Electric Resistance Storage Water Heater with High Efficiency— Electric resistance water heaters are more effective, simpler to install (no venting required), and eliminate the possibility of back drafting when compared to fossil-fueled water heaters. Many are also better insulated and hold standby heat longer than gas or oil-fired tank-type heaters. However, heating water will still be more expensive.
Purchase a Tankless Water Heater if you haven't already. Most hot water heaters lose about 15% of their energy after the water has been heated and is sitting in the tank waiting to be used. A tankless water heater heats water on demand, reducing energy loss and potentially saving up to 20% on hot water energy costs. Even better, tankless units last five to ten years longer than conventional models, saving you money by reducing the number of times you have to repair them.
Solar water heating is the most environmentally friendly alternative. It heats the water with renewable solar energy (no greenhouse gases!) and has almost no negative environmental consequences. After a four to eight-year payback period, the next 15 to 40 years are as close to being free as hot water heating comes.
Which Green Shade Is Right for You?
Although going green when it comes to hot water heating is a good idea for your wallet, your business, and the climate, it's not uncommon for building owners to feel frustrated when confronted with the full range of green remodeling choices. There's no need to be worried if you're not sure how green you want to go with your hot water heating system. Going green isn't an all-or-nothing proposition, and the fact is that every move you take in the right direction, whether it's $10 for an insulated water heater jacket or a few thousand dollars for a new solar water heating device or a tankless water heater, is a successful one.
If you agree that going green is the best option for you, speak to your contractor about following a green remodeling concept, hire a contractor who specializes in green construction and remodeling, or hire a green water heating company to ensure that your hot water heating system is as environmentally friendly as possible.
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