Where 1/4 of your Energy is Lost

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 9:40 PM

Posted by Ellen Milich


Turns out one of the places where energy is lost most in homes is through the water heater. Because conventional water heaters, both electric and gas constantly store a reservoir of hot water to be used when needed, a huge amount of energy is lost. In fact a water heater can account for up to 25% of your total energy bill (1). When we think of phantom energy this probably doesn't come to mind - mostly because it's out of sight, but when we realize how much energy we lose through it it's obvious how important this factor is in each home.

As technology advances there are alternatives to the conventional water heater. One of the most popular is the tankless heater. These can be either electric or gas as well, although the gas is much more efficient. Because tankless or "demand” heaters don’t constantly keep a tank of water hot the energy (as well as monetary) savings is obvious. “A conventional gas water heater costs about $380, uses $179 in fuel a year and should last about 13 years. That's a total (life-cycle cost) of $2,707. A standard electric water heater costs more than twice as much to run and has a life-cycle cost of $5,680” (energy.gov). Granted, a conventional water heater CAN be turned off when not in use, just so long as the homeowner accounts for the reheating time upon turning it back on.

Just one more bonus is the space-saving factor. A traditional water heater is quite large as most of us know; the size between a standard versus a demand heater can be seen below.

(1) http://www.oldhouseweb.com/how-to-advice/tankless-water-heaters-a-good-choice.shtml

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