6 Criteria Besides Energy-Efficiency For Eco-Friendly Water Heaters
Energy is likely one of the first things you think of when considering an eco-friendly water heater, which is smart because water heaters use a lot of energy. But besides cutting back on the amount of electricity your water heater uses, you can also increase eco-friendliness with other factors.
Here are six criteria other than energy-efficiency to keep in mind while you shop for an eco-friendly water heater.
1. Green Power Source
When it comes to energy, two ways to make your heater more eco-friendly are using less energy overall and switching to a greener energy source. Solar domestic water heating systems are an example of the second option since they draw power from the sun. Another example is connecting your conventional water heater to solar panels (or wind turbines) to power it.
A final idea for an alternate power source is geothermal energy. Typically, geothermal systems require a lot of excavation to install the ground loops, so this option may only be cost-effective if you're also switching your HVAC system to geothermal.
2. Water Efficiency
Like fossil fuels, water is a limited resource on Earth. So a water heater setup that doesn't waste water is more eco-friendly overall. While the water heating process itself typically doesn't waste water, leaving the faucet on while you wait for the hot water to arrive can be a wasteful process.
To avoid sending gallons of water down the drain while you wait for hot water, you can modify your system in one of several ways. First of all, if designing a home, you can design all the rooms with plumbing close together and near the water heater (so you never have to wait for hot water to get all the way across the house).
However, if your house is already built, you can install a smaller, point-of-use water heater (typically tankless) right where you need it. Or you can install a modified type of recirculating system that doesn't waste energy and water but works with your water heater to provide hot water at even the farthest bathroom.
3. Smart Controls
Some water heaters come with smart controls built in, which can save energy in several ways. For instance, a smart heater can track when you use hot water, allowing you to accurately set up schedules so the unit is only on when it needs to be.
And smart controls can allow you to turn the heater off and on from your phone even while you're not at home. No matter how efficient your water heater is originally, these functions could help save even more energy.
4. Recycled Content
Water heaters are typically recyclable, but you can close the loop by looking for a new water heater that's made of recycled materials as well. Metal is a main component of appliances (such as water heaters) and is typically easy to recycle, so appliances are often made with a high proportion of reused metal.
Talk to your contractor about which brands and manufacturers tend to use the most recycled scrap metal in their products.
Another aspect of water heaters that can affect their environmental impact is longevity. The longer your water heater lasts, the less often you'll have to replace it, which means less manufacturing and transportation required overall.
A conventional gas water heater may have an 8- to 12-year lifespan, while a tankless heater may last upwards of twenty years. As you can see, choosing tankless could mean you only go through half as many water heaters in your lifetime.
These criteria can help you choose a water heater that will help you fulfill your goals of eco-friendliness. For more information, contact Water Heater Pros today.