When was the last time you thought much about your water heater? You know, that tank that sits in your basement and provides water for showers, cooking, washing dishes, and laundry?
Many of us don’t think much about our water heaters until we turn on a tap and only cold water comes out. We think more about our water heaters when we discover the basement is flooded.
The life of the average water heater is 10 to 15 years. Like most basement-dwelling appliances, the water heater is often overlooked until it fails, often leaving you with a flooded basement and scrambling to replace it. These are not the best circumstances in which to make decisions about new appliances!
If you are replacing your water heater in an emergency, your first questions are probably going to be, “How quickly can you replace it and how much money will it cost?” rather than, “Is there a more efficient appliance available and how much money will it save?” Before you find yourself faced with quick choices, it’s a good idea to do some research on what else might be out there.
According to the Department of Energy, water heaters are the second-highest energy consuming appliance in United States, accounting for 14 to 18 percent of your home’s energy use. Wow! If you heat with a standard electric water heater, that one appliance uses more energy than your refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer combined. That’s a lot of energy.
Have you considered replacing your aging water heater before it becomes a disaster that needs immediate, fast attention?
Heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) are an excellent replacement option for aging electric, propane, or oil water heaters. A HPWH works by taking heat from the surrounding air and transferring that heat to the water inside the enclosed tank. Using electricity to move heat from one place to another, such as from the outside to the inside of a storage tank, take far less energy than generating the heat.
HPWHs have different settings you can use to be sure you’re using the least amount of energy for your needs. Some models even have a “sleep mode” that you can set for vacations.
Not only are heat pumps a highly efficient way to heat your water, there are financial incentives to making the switch from a hot water heater. HPWHs are eligible for a $300 federal tax credit through 2019, and there’s a Vermont rebate of $600 available through 03/31/17. In New Hampshire, there are $500 rebates available through Eversource, Liberty Utilities, NH Electric Co-op, and Unitil Electric Customers.
With these high efficiencies and great incentives, payback on a HPWH for a family of four can take as little as two and a half years.
Why does a wood pellet company like Lyme Green Heat sell HPWHs? We recommend them in conjunction with a hot air furnace installation for a number of reasons.
When the hot air furnace is burning pellets to heat your home in the winter, there is an amount of latent heat that is emitted by the hot air furnace. Typically, this is just waste heat that warms your utility room or basement. If you install a HPWH, it extracts the heat (and moisture) from the air around it, using the latent heat from the hot air furnace to heat the water in the water heater.
During the summer, when a homeowner is not burning pellets, the HPWH cools and dehumidifies the space around it. For some customers, this might mean eliminating the dehumidifier they typically use in their basement to keep the moisture down.
When you have a forced hot air system, all you get is hot air. You have to address your hot water needs separately. In areas where natural gas isn’t always an option, the energy to heat the water typically comes from electricity or propane. Traditional tank type electric water heaters consume a lot of electricity, and propane is one of those nonrenewable fossil fuels that we’re trying to ease our dependence on in an effort to reduce human impact on the environment.
A HPWH can reduce electrical consumption for some customers or further reduce fossil fuel consumptions for others!
Interested in learning more? Call Lyme Green Heat at (603)359-8837 and find out if replacing your current water heater with a heat pump water heater makes sense.