Buying an Electric Hot Water Heater: Focus on Efficiency

In the modern world, going energy efficient across the household is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. The benefits of choosing efficient appliances are numerous, and the two most prominent are a positive ROI, and lowered carbon footprint. Given the fact that the bathroom, along with the kitchen, is the most wasteful area in your home, it’s important to consider the most energy-efficient water heater options on the market.  

And electric hot water systems are right up there with the most efficient choices such as a gas-powered water heater. However, if your area doesn’t have a gas line, then going electric is your next top choice. With that in mind, here is how to choose the best electric hot water system for your needs by taking several key factors into consideration.

Consider the capacity of the unit

First things first, you want to choose an electric water heater with enough water capacity to meet the demands of your household. Don’t just consider your current water consumption, but take into account your long-term plans, and whether or not new family members will be joining you in the future.

If you are truly mindful of current environmental conditions and want to minimize your carbon footprint as much as possible, you also want to choose a water heater that will “force” you to decrease water and energy expenditure by opting for a smaller unit. However, you mustn’t forget to compare the First Hour rating with your household’s peak demand in order to ascertain whether or not the heater can truly meet the demands of your family.

Mind the energy factor

What truly makes for an efficient electric hot water system is the Energy Factor rating detailing just how efficiently the system converts energy to hot water. Naturally, older models will have a lower Energy Factor rating than their modern, eco-and-budget-friendly counterparts. With standard or older units, you will notice an EF rating of .75, but with high-efficiency models, the EF rating can go up to .90 or more.

Storage tank water heaters are the most popular option in the residential realm, and usually their upper limit is .95. Keep in mind that the EF rating is influenced by several key factors, including energy-to-hot-water conversion efficiency, the rate of heat loss as the unit waits to be used, as well as the rate of heat loss as the water circulates through its internal network and the plumbing system.

There are also tank-less options out there

The tankless water heater is another viable option for residential properties, however, it might not prove to be as efficient or convenient in the long run, save for the fact that there is no water tank to occupy a spot in the basement. Tankless, or on-demand, heaters use electric coils to heat up the water as soon as you turn on the faucet, requiring plenty of energy to bring the water temperature to a desirable level. Oftentimes, the heater might be unable to produce the desired results instantaneously, leading to a subpar result in terms of water temperature.

Consider a hybrid water heater as well

Succinctly, hybrid water heating systems utilize a heat pump along with electricity to increase efficiency and heating effectiveness. By converting the flow of heat from the surrounding air into the water in the tank with the help of a heat exchanger, the heat pump is able to give the electric coils a much-needed boost and save on energy consumption. However, these water heating systems are oftentimes too tall to fit into a water heater closet.

Electric water heating systems have been the go-to solution in households for decades, and modern technological advancements have only made them safer, smarter, and more energy-efficient in order to meet the demands of a truly modern family. In addition to the gas water heater, the electric heating system remains one of the best cost-effective options on the market.

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