Heat pump water heaters undoubtedly have a significant first cost, but have very low operational costs. This means you will spend more money to purchase the product, but not as much money to operate it throughout its lifespan. This is how a heat pump water heater works:
Unlike traditional tank water heaters, tankless water heaters only heat water when it is in use. This signficantly reduces the energy used to heat and maintain the temperature of large amounts of water. These models can be a little more expensive than traditional water heaters and are not generally advantageous in households with a large number of residents — but they can significantly reduce home energy use in households with a small number of people.
Electric water heaters function similarly to traditional water heaters powered by natural gas — but, they use electricity to heat the tank of water. Electricity is generally more expensive than natural gas in our communities, but create significantly less greehouse gas emissions. For those homeowners that value both performance and environmental efficiency, electric water heaters are a good option.
Insulating or updating the insulation on hot water pipes can dramatically increase the time water remains hot in the pipes, reducing the need to run faucets unnecessarily to get hot water. Hot water pipes are located inside the wall or exposed near the water heater, making wrapping pipes more or less difficult in different homes.
When remodeling, check the location of hot water pipes and insulate them where accessible. During JCED’s STEP program, Green Iowa Americorps teammates also look for exposed hot water pipes and insulate them when conducting a home energy visit.
You can similarly wrap old or uninsulated water heaters to ensure easier and shorter heat-up times.