Energy Efficient Water Heating Systems for your Home

water heater

The process of heating water for your home can account for up to 50% of the average families energy bills. Being able to reduce those costs, along with eliminating water consumption and green house gas emissions is an important undertaking for the average family looking to go green and there are two great options available for residential homes.

Tankless Hot Water Heater Systems

Tankless hot water heating systems work by introducing hot water on demand to either a centralized location or various locations throughout the home. They are typically used in bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor applications, hot tubs and as hot water boosters. Tank less hot water heaters do not store hot water in a tank; rather it is heated on demand and instantaneously by heating elements via thermodynamics within the tank less hot water system, and thus producing exact temperature controlled hot water when it is needed. These tank less water systems can help save up to 40% more on energy bills over conventional hot water tanks by avoiding energy loss from standby heating. These tank less water heaters have a typical flow rate of 2-5 gallons per minute (GPM) and are available in outdoor and indoor mounted hot water heaters as well as electric and gas fired. The electric models require proper amperage and voltage in the home and the gas fired tank less hot water heaters require proper venting and are more difficult to install. The indoor models help save space in the home as an average hot water tank will take up approximately 16 sq ft of floor space and the indoor mounted hot water heaters can be localized for specific areas and mounted in inconspicuous spaces. The Outdoor models are easier to install and do not require venting.

When considering these tankless hot water heaters for your home, you need to think of your usage needs. These hot water heaters can be localized in a specific area, such as underneath your kitchen or bathroom sink. These systems are considered Single point heating systems. If you need these tank less water heaters to supply your entire home then flow control or whole house systems are better suited for your needs. Water flow is another major aspect to consider when looking for these tanks for your home. The higher the usage of hot water, the higher the temperature flow rate will be needed. Most systems can be heavily taxed with simultaneous use and if the outdoor temperature of the original water being inserted into the system is colder, the temperature flow rate will need to be addressed so certain systems do work better depending on your location geographically. If you do plan on using tank less water heating system for your home, consider installing a dual system to spread hot water throughout the home or you can localize one smaller system, in the kitchen for example, to reduce the burden of the other hot water heater.
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Solar Powered Hot Water Heater & Tank Systems

Solar Paneled Water Heating System

Solar powered hot water tanks are powered by solar energy captured by solar energy collector panels and then transferring that energy into heating the water directly or through a "working liquid" that uses a coiling system to heat the water inside the tank. Solar powered hot water tanks are very common in warmer climates such as Israel, Africa and the Southern United States. This does mean they are not of use for Northern climates though as solar powered hot water tanks generally work in conjunction with back up energy systems (gas or electricity) to accommodate for poor weather and usage levels, making them suitable for almost anywhere in the world. These hot water tanks are commonly available in 2 models, pumped and passive hot water tanks.

Pumped hot water tanks pump the heated water or working liquid from the solar energy collector down to the holding tank. This is either accomplished by electricity or solar energy. If it is pumped by electricity, then this system is referred to as "low carbon" solar powered pumps because the use of electricity counteracts the use of the solar energy that heats the water by approximately 20%. If the energy used to pump the water is solar powered via photovoltaic’s, then these systems are referred to as "zero operational carbon" pumps meaning the entire process is solar powered and better for overall energy consumption

Passive solar powered hot water tanks use natural convection, or natural flow of heated liquids, to move the heated water or working fluid from the solar collectors to the holding tank. These hot water tanks are sometimes installed with pipes that are angled so as to conserve the hot water when not in use by having unused water return to the tank versus sitting in the piping systems.

The initial cost of installing a solar powered hot water tank in your home tends to be much higher than conventional hot water heaters but with the energy conserved over a longer period of time and solar powered hot water tanks having an average life expectancy of 15-30 years, the initial start up costs will be easily recovered in energy bill savings.

The Sexy Green Home opinion:

Deciding to install an energy efficient hot water heater in your home is a great choice if you are concerned with bringing down your energy bills, conserving water and adding a green element to your home. The ability to have localized and immediate hot water for your home via a tank less water heating system will lower your energy bills and provide you and your family a continuous and ecological supply of hot water especially useful in kitchens and bathrooms. Solar powered hot water tanks are definitely energy efficient and use the vast abundance of sunshine to heat our water and our homes. Using alternative energy strategies reduces our carbon footprint and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as removes the burden from an overtaxed power grid.

Regardless of the system you choose, your home, family and friends will appreciate the simplicity of these systems and the environmental impact of making a green choice.