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How Energy Efficient is Your Water Heater?

How Energy Efficient Is Your Water Heater? | Pretty Handy Girl

Let’s talk more about energy efficiency today. Did you know that your water heater can be one of the biggest energy hogs?

How Much Energy Your Home Uses

It’s true! That conventional storage tank water heater works all day to keep your water hot. If the thermostat senses the temperature dip below the set temperature, it turns on to heat the water again. This goes on all day and night regardless if you are home or not. And until recently, water heaters had very little insulation. This meant that cold air in your garage or crawlspace would wreak havoc on the water heater making it work that much harder to keep that tank of water hot. It makes sense that this is one of the least efficient systems in your home.

New government guidelines have been established to require all conventional water heaters (tank storage style) to be more energy efficient. To achieve these higher standards, newer tanks have built in insulation. Sounds great, right? Not entirely. If you are replacing your old water heater with a new one, the same gallon capacity water heater takes up more space and may not fit in the same spot. This means you may have to purchase a new water heater that doesn’t hold as many gallons. This is a real problem if you have a crawl space water heater. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and replace your water heater before it dies. Your new water heater may even pay for itself by being more energy efficient than your old one.

What’s a homeowner to do? Well, first and foremost you need to determine if it’s time to replace your current water heater. Take this simple few question quiz to help you determine if you need to think about replacing your water heater. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here.



What Types of Water Heaters are Most Efficient?

One of the most efficient water heaters you can own is a tankless heater. This relatively new type of water heater only heats the water you need. When you open the tap, the water is heated on demand. A tankless heater eliminates the need for a big tank of water that has to be kept warm even when you aren’t using it.

Tankless Water Heater

That being said, propane tankless (on-demand) heaters are more efficient than an electric model. In fact, most electric on demand heaters can’t handle the demand of a family or multi-water usage (two simultaneous showers, or a shower and running the dishwasher.) Plus, there is the risk of damage to an electric tankless heater if the power goes out and the pipes freeze (not to mention the inability to heat your water without electricity.)

Upgrading to a tankless water heater sounds like a no brainer. But, they normally cost a lot more than a conventional water heater. However, normally you’ll recoup the extra cost in a few years with the energy savings. Before deciding to switch to tankless, you will need to talk to a plumber and assess if you have a good location to house a tankless heater.

Let’s say you aren’t ready to (or can’t) take the leap to a tankless. You can still reap the benefits of a more efficient water heater if you chose a gas powered water heater. Typically gas is more efficient at heating and it costs less to heat a tank of water than electric.


Why Replace Now

Did you know that your state may help you pay for a new water heater? Learn which rebates and savings are available here.

Water Heater Rebates by State



Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for PERC (Propane Education & Research Council.) I was compensated for writing this post. I was not told what to say. I will always let you know if you are reading a sponsored post.

Here are some more great resources for determining what type of water heater to purchase: All About Tankless Water Heaters by TexasInspector.com and Propane vs. Natural Gas by Propane101.com

8 replies
  1. Anthia C.
    Anthia C. says:

    What a great info-packed post, I really appreciate being able to feel so well-informed about a subject that is really just a little difficult to find good useful information on! So, I’m going to be lurking around your site for more useful goodies like this one has. Thanks!
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  2. carpet care
    carpet care says:

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  3. My Bosch Water Heaters NZ
    My Bosch Water Heaters NZ says:

    You’re right Brittany, Tankless Water Heaters are specially designed to significantly cut the energy usage. Tankless systems provide that hot water on demand, instantaneously, when we need it, so we don’t have to waste energy heating unused water.

  4. Dan Kogan
    Dan Kogan says:

    When it comes to increasing a water heater’s operating efficiency and longevity, you need some real easy and inexpensive ways. You can add insulation and set the temperature once. Another thing you can do us flush the tank and check the anode rod. While adding insulation will help reduce the heat loss by up to 45 percent, it can shave 9 percent off water-heating costs too. Similarly, flushing the sediment from the tank will help improve the efficiency.


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