It’s time to start thinking about replacing my old gas water heater. Can you tell me what I need to look for, to get the most energy-saving model?
Sure thing. First, look for models that have earned the ENERGY STAR® label. Then, to find the most efficient of those models, compare their Energy Factor (EF). The higher the EF, the more efficient the equipment. You can find ratings for specific products at the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute website: www.ahridirectory.org.
Also, if you heat your house with a boiler, be aware that an efficient approach in some homes is to use the boiler to also heat water. This entails buying a hot water tank instead of a water heater. This tank, which is typically about the same size as a traditional water heater, is designed to be installed as a new zone off your boiler. Talk to your heating service contractor to see if this is an option for you, and if it would be cost effective.
While you’re talking with your contractor, ask if an instantaneous or on-demand water heater would be a good choice for your home. This may be an efficient option in some households with smaller hot water needs. Installation can sometimes require upgrading the gas line and/or water-softening system, so be sure that the energy savings would be large enough to make the initial costs a good investment. Lastly, if you’re exploring all energy-saving approaches, I can’t neglect to mention solar water heating. You can learn more about this option at the Renewable Energy Resource Center website: www.rerc-vt.org.
Kathleen for The Home Team