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How to Make Your Hot Water Heaters More Efficient

Water heaters are a significant household appliance that often gets neglected until something goes wrong. When that happens, you can end up with costly repairs and a basement full of contaminated water.Hot Water Heaters

Electric models run off clean, low-cost electricity often supplied by solar, wind, or hydro energy. By positioning them closer to taps, they reduce piping heat losses and the need for recirculation loops. Visit https://hotwaternowco.com to learn more.

Hot water heaters are the second-biggest consumer of energy in a home, so making them more efficient cuts household bills and reduces strain on the electric grid and greenhouse gas emissions. Whether your current water heater is gas or electric, upgrading to one with an improved efficiency rating will save money over the long run.

The easiest way to compare the efficiency of different water heaters is to look at their energy factor or EF, which measures how much fuel or electricity is required to produce a certain amount of hot water. A higher EF means a better energy-efficiency rating.

Most homes in North America use storage-type water heaters that have a tank from which they provide a constant supply of hot water. These may be powered by electricity, natural gas, propane, heating oil, or solar energy. The best-performing models feature higher insulation and a heat exchanger that is made of copper instead of steel, which reduces energy consumption by keeping the water hot.

New standards set by the US Department of Energy will be effective in 2020, increasing the efficiency of most storage-type gas and electric water heaters. The EPA estimates these new standards will lower the annual operating costs of typical-sized gas and electric models by about 4%. Most domestic manufacturers are already producing units that meet the new standards, and many website include cross-reference guides to help consumers compare their performance with pre-2015 models.

Electric demand water heaters, which heat up the water as it is used, are very efficient, especially if located close to the users of the hot water (to reduce piping losses). However, they’re expensive up front and need regular maintenance. Newer models with modulating temperature control will operate more efficiently and cost less to run.

Natural gas water heaters can be efficient if they’re located closer to the hot water usage points, which will also cut piping costs and energy loss. Using a heat pump, which funnels heated exhaust gas from other appliances in the home into the water heater to help it heat up, can improve efficiency even more, though these require more expensive equipment upfront and have longer payback periods.


Having access to hot water is a necessity, and it takes a lot of work on the part of your home’s plumbing to keep that warm water flowing. Between showers, baths, hand-washing and cooking, the average household uses a significant amount of water that has been heated. This puts a strain on the water heater, and, as time goes by, most units reach their limit.

There are a number of factors that affect how long a water heater lasts, including location, the tank’s insulation and energy efficiency. Even the best water heaters have a lifespan that is limited, and a homeowner should start planning to replace theirs once it is around a decade old, regardless of whether it is showing signs of failing or not.

One sure sign that it is time to replace your hot water heater is if you notice rusty water. Rust stains are indicative of a steel tank that is corroding, and can cause leaks. If you notice this, drain several buckets of the rusty water from your tank and check to see if it is coming out of the pipes as well. If it does, this is a good indication that you need to replace your water heater before the corroded steel weakens the unit completely.

Sediment buildup can also shorten the lifespan of a hot water heater, particularly those with tanks. If the sediment builds up too much, it restricts air flow to the flame and reduces the unit’s efficiency. This can be reduced by periodically flushing the unit, especially those that use gas, and installing a water softener for homes with hard water.

A great way to determine how long your current water heater has been in service is by looking at the serial number, which consists of a letter followed by a series of numbers. This is located on the top of the unit and will give you an idea of when it was manufactured. For example, a serial number that begins with “A10” indicates the unit was made in January of 2010. A licensed plumber can inspect your water heater and advise you on whether it is nearing the end of its life or not.


Hot water heaters make it possible for us to do our daily tasks in the comfort of a warm shower or sink full of clean, running water. Whether you’re cleaning, cooking, washing laundry or taking a shower, having hot water is one of the luxuries of modern life that most people take for granted.

A typical tank-style gas water heater can hold about 40-50 gallons of hot water, enough for a family of four to have a nice hot shower every day and do the dishes in the dishwasher without reloading them. Unlike electric water heaters, which use an electrical element to heat the water, the internal heating system in tank-style gas water heaters is powered by a match-lit pilot and an intermittent pilot. This allows the system to shut off and start again as needed, reducing energy usage.

Newer models also have high efficiency ratings, called uniform energy factors (UEF), that are based on a combination of their power consumption and the amount of water they store at the rated temperature. If you’re purchasing a replacement water heater, try to get a model with a UEF that’s as high as possible.

Electric water heaters run on current that runs through a 220-volt circuit and past two heating elements powered by thermostats, which convert the electricity into heat energy to warm the stored water. Electric heaters don’t need a gas line, so they can be used in any home. They also tend to be safer than gas models, which can leak and pose a fire hazard.

For homes that aren’t connected to a natural gas line, electric water heaters are the only option. These heaters are more efficient than the older gas-powered units, but they still use a large portion of the household’s electrical bill. To reduce the costs of using an electric water heater, consider installing a low-flow showerhead or recirculating pump, which lowers water usage and helps to heat it faster. Also, locating the heater closer to the points of water usage can help reduce piping costs and heat loss, and may reduce the need for a recirculating loop or pump.


Just because hot water heaters are more sophisticated than a boiling pot over an open flame doesn’t mean that they don’t come with their own set of risks. Homeowners should take a few precautions to keep their home and family safe.

First, have a professional install your new water heater. Many companies require a professional installation to register the warranty and ensure proper operation of your unit.

Keep your gas water heater at least 18 inches away from combustible materials. This reduces fire danger if there is a leak or the pilot light goes out. You should also remove combustible items like jump ropes, coats, and canisters of gasoline from the area. You should also check your vents regularly to make sure that they are not clogged with lint, dust or other materials that inhibit air flow.

Tanked hot water heaters should have thermostatic mixing valves installed to temper the water at the point of use to prevent scalding. These devices mix hot and cold water upon exiting the storage tank to deliver water at a temperature that is safe for human contact. This device is required by most plumbing codes to be installed with any residential gas water heater.

In addition to the mixing valve, a residential tank should have a pressure release valve (PRV) and a thermal expansion tank. The PRV releases excess pressure that builds up inside the tank and dumps it outside. The expansion tank allows the heated water to expand safely without overflowing and damaging your plumbing.

It’s important to flush your hot water tank to remove sediment and mineral build-up that can cause rust and corrosion in your plumbing. This will keep your water clean and extend the life of your water heater.

The tank should have a dip tube that reaches to the bottom of the storage tank to allow water to enter and exit at the top. This tube also protects the burner from overheating and burning your home’s wiring. In addition to the PRV, your water heater should have a flue to vent combustion gases out of your house.