About 20% of the energy used in your home is for water heating. And depending on the number and ages of people living in your home, the percentage could be greater.
You may be able to save money by replacing your old water heater with a high-efficiency electric model. Older models can be very inefficient because of poor insulations, corrosion and less efficient design. A new electric water heater will have sufficient insulation (at least 1 inches of foam for an R-16 insulation value) and can be selected with the corrosion protection that matches the quality of the water in your area.
New electric water heaters come with a choice of linings. Both glass and stone linings are excellent choices, but if you have particularly hard water, a polybutylene tank may be your best option. Another option is a heat trap. A heat trap keeps heated water in the tank during non-use periods rather than letting it rise into the piping where it loses heat energy. A heat trap can increase water heating efficiency substantially. Contact the energy experts at Beltrami Electric for more information on your water heating needs.
Make sure your water heater is set at the lowest point. Try to set it at 120 degrees.
Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank. If your water heater is located in an unconditioned space, consider installing a thermal wrap around it. Take care to install it in accordance with the tank and wrap manufacturer's instructions.
Buy a new, more efficient model
Try washing clothes with warm water and rinsing with cold water.
Repair leaky faucets immediately so they don't drip and waste hot water.
Drain a quart of water from your water tank every three months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater.
Tankless Water Heaters
Beltrami Electric Cooperative does not recommend the use of whole-house electric tankless water heaters, nor does the co-op offer rebates on tankless water heaters. Many homes do not have enough electrical capacity to power a whole-house tankless water heater and they will not work on our load control program. Here is a brief look at why electric tankless water heaters may not be the best choice:
Their electricity demand is huge.
When an electric tankless water heater fires up to heat water, it requires a large amount of electricity: as much as 36,000 watts of power. That’s eight times more than the 4,500-watt demand of a traditional storage water heater.
The equipment used to support them may not be sufficient.
Many times a home’s wiring and the utility company’s equipment is not suitable for the load. That’s why homes that use electric tankless water heaters (and their neighbors) often have issues with flickering or dimming lights.
New equipment (transformers, meters, etc.) may have to be installed.
One of the implications for your electric cooperative and its members is the untimely load these units place on the system. Family-sized models require 240 volts and up to 150 amps capacity to operate. This level of demand almost always exceeds that of most residential electric services, making a wiring upgrade necessary. Unfortunately, all of that demand (14 to 30 kW) is uncontrollable peak load. Because the tankless models cannot be controlled during peak times, it is likely that the unit will add significant demand charges to the cooperative’s monthly wholesale power bills. This cost is passed along to all co-op members. In some instances Beltrami Electric Cooperative will have to upgrade the equipment in place at a home to accommodate an electric tankless water heater — at the expense of the homeowner. If a larger transformer is required (over 25 kVa), the member will be billed the $93.00/month access charge for the larger service.
Doing the math is a good idea before making your purchase.
A tankless system may be significantly greater than traditional tank-type water heaters. A tankless system will have a shorter life and possibly voided warranty compared to a Marathon water heater’s lifetime tank warranty. Tankless water heaters have a place for certain applications, but they are not ready to take the place of tank-type water heaters for most residential applications. Additionally, Beltrami Electric offers energy incentives and rebates for the installation of electric water heaters on the off-peak program.
Gas Tankless vs. Electric Tankless
Gas tankless water heaters generally do not require the same upgrades to a home’s basic services as an electric tankless water heater.
Beltrami Electric Cooperative wants to help you make the best decision for your home. If you’d like to discuss electric tankless water heaters, please call Bob Gregg at (800) 955-6083 or 444-3622. Bob Gregg is the energy conservation representative for Beltrami Electric Cooperative.