How to Turn Up Your Water Temp and Turn Down the Energy
When most of us switch on the faucet or jump into the shower, we often don’t think about what heats our water or whether it’s the most efficient method of doing so. However, water heating is actually the third highest energy use in residential homes across the United States, which means making sure your home has an energy-efficient hot water system can be key to unlocking savings.
In many residential homes across the Cape and Vineyard, water is heated by conventional storage water heaters. Whether they are fueled by natural gas, oil, propane, or electricity, this technology works by continually heating water that’s stored in a tank so that it’s available upon demand. However, since hot water isn’t always needed, this process leads to both wasted energy and money. In this blog, we’ll introduce you to two other storage water heater options that can deliver greater efficiency and savings: heat pump water heaters and solar water heaters.
One alternative to conventional storage water heaters is a heat pump water heater. While conventional water heaters use energy to generate heat, a heat pump water heater uses electricity to move heat. More specifically, the heat pump draws heat from the air and releases it into a water storage tank, in turn heating the water. Through this process of drawing upon existing heat rather than generating it, heat pump water heaters can use as little as a third of the energy that conventional water heaters use. Plus, as the local Mass Save® Sponsor for the Cape and Vineyard, the Cape Light Compact (Compact) offers a rebate of up to $600 to customers who install a qualifying heat pump water heater.
Soaking up the Sun
If you’re looking to draw upon the power of the sun, look no further than solar water heaters. At a high-level, this technology relies on two components: solar collectors and storage tanks. Solar collectors, which use a combination of absorbent plates, tubes, and/or tanks to absorb heat radiated from the sun, connect to insulated storage tanks, which store hot water until drawn upon.
Solar hot water heaters can either be considered “active” or “passive”. Active systems rely on pumps, whereas passive systems rely on gravity, to ensure hot water is generated and distributed throughout the home. Regardless of the system chosen, a backup water heating system will be required to account for days with little sun or very high hot water demand.
Solar hot water heaters can supply up to 80% of a home’s hot water needs. In addition to the savings that come from offsetting the traditional fuel or electricity that would otherwise be used to heat this water, Compact customers can receive a rebate of up to $1,500 for replacing an electric hot water heater with a solar alternative.
Finding the Right Fit
When considering an upgrade to your hot water heating system, you should consider several factors, such as appropriate sizing, location of the hot water heater, expected efficiency, and resulting payback period. HVAC contractors are available to help you through this decision-making process, or you can meet with a qualifying energy contractor by arranging a free in-home energy assessment to more holistically discuss energy-saving opportunities for your home. In addition, if the upfront cost of a new hot water system is cause for concern, you may be able to receive a zero-percent interest loan through the Mass Save® HEAT Loan Program.
So next time you crank up the hot water, think about whether there might be a more efficient way to meet your home’s hot water needs. Whether it be by upgrading your existing water heater or switching to one of these more energy-efficient alternatives, the Compact is here to connect you with the resources and incentives needed to help you through the process. You can get started today by calling 1-800-797-6699.