Install a New High Efficiency Type of Water Heater to Save Hot Water Cost
Residential hot water production consumes about 15% of the total energy consumption of homes in North America, so it makes sense that building owners interested in reducing their total energy consumption and costs should consider ways to reduce their energy bill both by improving home hot water usage efficiency and by improvements in the hot water heating process itself.
Below we discuss other steps that can be taken to improve hot water quantity.
And having a greater quantity of hot water also opens the way to taking steps to improve hot water pressure. (If we increase hot water pressure but lack adequate hot water quantity the result is we run out of hot water faster than ever.)
Installing a high efficiency home hot water heater
The water heater shown at page top was installed in our forensic laboratory. Using a power burner this water heater manages to extract a high enough percentage of the heat from its natural gas burner that the water heater exhaust can be vented directly to outdoors by means of a plastic pipe.
This particular water heater was manufactured by A.O. Smith but other companies also produce high-efficiency water heaters.
At above left you can see a schematic of a high-efficiency gas-fired water heater in this sketch provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop, and you'll see a photo of a modern high-efficiency natural-gas fired water heater above..
Take a look at the Energy Guide [image] sticker data, which measures anticipated energy cost in "Therms per year" (to avoid being confused by changing fuel prices among fuel types) to compare the relative operating costs of these appliances.
The water heater shown at left anticipates an average annual energy cost of about $146. U.S.
If your present source, such as a tankless coil (shown at left) or range boiler is inadequate you can increase hot water pressure and quantity and also to reduce hot water costs, you can install a separate oil or gas fired water heater, an indirect-fired water heater, perhaps an instantaneous water heater, or if you are located where electricity is less costly than these fossil fuels, perhaps an electrical hot water heater.
Select a larger capacity hot water tank tank, perhaps 40 gallons or 50gallons to increase the hot water quantity as well.
High efficiency oil or gas fired water heaters cost a bit more but can pay for themselves quickly considering the rapidly rising costs of home heating oil and natural gas.
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Questions & answers or comments about high efficiency gas-fired water heaters.
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Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto, for permission to use illustrations from their publication, The Illustrated Home which illustrates construction details and building components. Carson Dunlop provides home inspection education, publications, report writing materials, and home inspection services. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors.
Arlene Puentes, an ASHI member and a licensed home inspector in Kingston, NY, and has served on ASHI national committees as well as HVASHI Chapter President. Ms. Puentes can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
AO Smith produces AO Smith water heaters in addition to Reliance, State, Maytag and others.
www.aosmith.com/prod/wpc.htm AOS's gas water heater manuals offering advice and safety warnings about adding water heater insulation are available at
www.statewaterheaters.com/lit/im/res-Elec/184671-000.pdf and at
Rheem who also makes electric water heaters provides a manual for electric water heaters at
waterheating.rheem.com/content/resources/documents/use_care/ResElecProfessional.pdf. Rheem says, as do other water heater producers, that their water heaters
meet the "National Appliance Energy Conservation Act
standards with respect to insulation and
standby loss requirements making an
insulation blanket unnecessary"
Rheem also warns consumers that adding an insulation product [or making any other modification to their equipment] is likely to void the product warranty and may be unsafe:
"The manufacturer’s warranty does not
cover any damage or defect caused by
installation, attachment or use of
any type of energy saving or other
unapproved devices (other than those
authorized by the manufacturer) into, onto
or in conjunction with the water heater.
The use of unauthorized energy saving
devices may shorten the life of the water
heater and may endanger life and property.
The manufacturer disclaims any
responsibility for such loss or injury
resulting from the use of such
unauthorized devices "
 "Water Saving Tips: For Residential Water Use, Indoors and Out", Alliance for Water Efficiency, 300 W Adams Street, Suite 601 Chicago, Illinois 60606, Tel: 773-360-5100, 866-730-A4WE, Email: email@example.com, web search 12/14/11, original source: plumbingefficiencyresearchcoalition.org/
 "Danger in the Shower: 2008 Forum Looks at Hot Water", John Koeller, Home Energy, Jan/Feb 2009, Home Energy Magazine, 1250 Addison Street
Suite 211B, Berkeley, Ca. 94702, Tel: (510) 524-5405 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
HOT WATER HEATERS - a detailed guide to all types of hot water sources, problems, inspection, repair
Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto, have provided us with (and we recommend) Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates' Technical Reference Guide to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: email@example.com. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones