Going Green with Tankless Water Heaters - Reducing Your Family’s Carbon Footprint
With so much undeniable scientific evidence pointing towards the horrid state of our planet's environment, you no doubt are wondering what your family can do to reduce its overall carbon footprint. Your family's carbon footprint is determined by the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that it causes both directly or indirectly. The carbon footprint of the average family of four in the United States is 80 metric tons (or 20 tons per person) of greenhouse gas being emitted into the atmosphere each year. Making your family's carbon footprint smaller and reducing the effect that your family's lifestyle has on the environment involves becoming aware of the energy that is used each day or perhaps more importantly, how efficiently that energy is used.
Hidden Energy-Sucker: Your Old, Inefficient Water Heater
One major contributor to wasted energy in lots of homes around the country is hot water - or more specifically, the way that hot water is heated. We rarely think about the hot water that goes down our drains with every shower we take and every load of laundry we wash. Nonetheless, most families in the U.S. waste tons of energy by keeping water hot and ready for use with a traditional water heater. Around 30% of the total energy costs that your family incurs each year results from keeping this instant hot water supply ready to go when you need it. Beneath the cost of running your furnace or central air during a cold winter or hot summer, your hot water heater is the second most expensive to operate appliance in your home.
Tanks on the average hot water heater hold around 35 gallons of water. Just imagine the energy that is required to keep 35 gallons of water heated to the temperature that you find comfortable for showering. Even if you decide to run out the door without your morning shower, or if you let the laundry pile up for a day or two, or you don't do the dishes because you ordered takeout - your hot water heater is still dutifully fulfilling its job to keep your water hot at the same temperature, waiting for you to turn on the faucet. Your hot water heater doesn't care if you go on vacation - it will continue to work in your absence, burning energy, increasing your utility bills, and making your carbon footprint bigger and bigger. And remember, the larger the tank, the more energy wasted.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint with a Tankless Water Heater
A better option is to convert to a tankless water heater system. A tankless water heater (also called demand water heater or instantaneous water heater) provides hot water only when it is needed as opposed to keeping water hot 24/7, and can save the average family a bundle of money over the course of time. Annual operating costs for traditional or conventional storage tank water heaters in the U.S. can be quite significant - electric ($650) or gas ($400). Replacing your existing water heater with a tankless water heater that heats your water to the desired temperature as its being used can make a dramatic difference in your utility bills and your family's carbon footprint. The money saved by installing this eco-friendly upgrade in your home will allow your tankless water heater to literally pay for itself in less than two years.
Additionally, many tankless water heaters come with a lifetime guarantee, possibly making your first tankless water heater your last tankless water heater as well. This means that you won't be cluttering up the already over-burdened landfill with more useless scrap when your water heater burns out.
Plus you receive the added benefit of never running out of hot water. Most tankless water heaters put out from 2-5 gallons of hot water per minute, so even the longest showers need not run the risk of turning cold, as if the case with a conventional water heater.
Tankless Water Heaters Provide Significant Greenhouse Gas Reduction
How much impact on the environment can your family make by using a tankless water heater as opposed to the conventional, energy-sucking monster you have in use right now? If every household in the U.S. made the switch to environmentally friendly tankless water heaters it would reduce annual greenhouse gas emission by up to 150 million tons, saving the equivalent of 300 million barrels of oil per year.