Heating and cooling bills are typically the largest in a home, but water heating follows close behind since hot water is used for so many things in the home. Since water heating is one of your largest energy expenses, you should carefully consider adding a new water heating system, especially if you have an electric water heater, which is generally the least efficient water heating system.
You should not be like most people and wait until there is an emergency in order to think about a new water heating system. You should make your decision based on which system is best and most cost effective for you. If you wait until there is an emergency, then you will probably not be able to buy the most efficient system in the market. This is because the most efficient water heating systems usually turn out to be the least available and most expensive.
If you have planned your purchase ahead of time, then you will have the money saved up and the system picked out. If you are in a rush because there is no hot water in your home, you are not going to be able to wait a couple of days for a system to be made available. Since they tend to be expensive, you are probably not going to have the money available. Therefore, you should plan the replacement of your water heater before you are forced into it.
Gas-fired systems tend to be the most efficient water heating systems available, and storage water heaters are by far the most common in use today. You can also find propane, electric or oil-fired storage water heaters, but natural gas tends to be the most cost-effective replacement. However, if you do not have a gas line in your house already, you will have to choose one of the other options.
Solar water heaters are not being used in the efficiency comparison because their initial cost is so high when compared to the other available options. However, tax breaks, rebates and other incentives are being made available again, especially in the sun belt. If the upfront investment is not too much for you, then you will see a savings anywhere from 50% to 75% of your water heating energy in the long term. The solar water heating system will pay for itself in the long run and then some, but you will have to be able to afford the initial cost.
If you are not ready for the expense of a new heating system, then you can take steps to try to reduce your water heating bill. Perhaps you can use the money you will be saving toward a new heating system somewhere down the road. The most significant step that you can take toward lowering your water heating bills is to use less hot water. It is self-evident that if you use less hot water you will save on the need to heat it. Another significant step that you can take is to lower your thermostat because each ten degrees that you lower the heat of the hot water will save you from 3% to 5% on average.
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