Our family is facing the replacement of our hot water heater. Currently we have a hot water heater that uses propane. It was already installed in our home when we purchased it, eight years ago. When we started thinking about making some energy changes we had an energy audit done. When the auditor saw our hot water tank he was tempted to run out of the house. It is unsafe. It was venting into our basement and the water lines were showing corrosion. Tip: when having something like a water heater installed, hire a professional! We weren’t to blame, but we had to deal with the repercussions. It looked fine when we purchased the house, but at that time it was new.
This poor hot water heater has been very reliable but we have put it through its paces. We are a family of six and use a lot of water. We also had a water test done and it showed we have extremely hard water. This has been taxing our tank. We feel that it is a ticking time bomb. Not one that you want to go off. So, we have been researching and trying to figure out what would be best; environmentally and financially.
Our options are numerous and varied. We could replace it with exactly the same thing we have now and make sure a professional installs it; properly. We could go with fuel oil-we run our furnace with fuel oil. Or we could go with an electric hot water tank. This would eliminate the need for venting. Then, of course, there are all of the choices within those choices. We have high end, middle and low end, what manufacturer, etc. Another option would be a solar hot water tank. A little more pricey, but in the long run less to operate and better for the environment.
We are still looking. I like the idea of a solar hot water heater. An environmentally friendly option, especially with such a large family. The initial hit to our budget is certainly something to consider. But the monthly savings would be substantial and the impact to the environment would be worth the expense. I’ll keep you posted with our decision and its final impact.
Update. We purchased an electric hot water heater. After a lot of consideration and research we decided it was our best option. We didn’t have to worry about venting it and we could move it to the corner of our basement instead of in the middle. Now the water can go straight up instead of half way across the house and then up. The water stays hotter. We haven’t noticed a very significant jump in our electric use even with this addition. We also are happy with the amount of hot water it produces versus our needs. Down the road we can add solar panels if we choose and run the heater off of sun power.
Whatever choice your family makes, make an informed one. Do your research. Compare one source to another and add in your households needs. Good luck.
traditional fossil-fuel sources, as coal, oil, and natural gas.