5 Hot Water Heater Options for Green Home Improvement

If you’re remodeling your home, thinking about the water heater might seem rather dull. However, this is one place where a home renovation can save you money. Here are some descriptions of energy efficient water heaters.

Gas Heaters: If you want to go with a traditional gas water heater, choose one that is Energy Star certified, guaranteeing the most efficient technology. They are slightly more expensive than less efficient models, but it is estimated you gain back this money in fewer than three years.

Tankless Heaters: Conventional heaters use energy 24/7 to keep your water hot, even when you’re not using it. Tankless or demand heaters heat the water as it flows through the pipes, so it only heats what you need. This creates a substantial savings on energy costs. Demand models provide hot water continuously, so you don’t have to worry about it running out. They are also quite a bit smaller than conventional tank heaters and some can be installed outside, saving space indoors. They make an ideal home improvement project because they have a life expectancy of 20 years, far more than conventional heaters.

Heat Pump Heaters: A new technology, electric heat pump water heaters could save the typical family quite a bit each year when compared to a standard electric heater. They work similarly to heat pumps that are used for heating and air conditioning purposes and combine with your HVAC system. They work by drawing in warm outside air to heat the water, so they are only effective in warm climates. Homeowners can recoup the higher initial investment over time. (Most estimates are around three years.)

Gas Condensing Heaters: This is an even newer technology, only introduced in 2010. Using more efficient heat exchangers to capture heat from the fuel source, gas condensing water heaters can shave 30 percent off your energy bills and reduce your carbon dioxide emissions. Greater efficiency allows them to provide a continuous stream of hot water, so you don’t have to worry if you’re the last one to shower!

Solar Heaters: Solar heaters can cut your water heating bill and your carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent compared to an electric heater. This is the equivalent of not driving your car four months a year; a solar heater’s average lifespan is 20 years, much longer than that of a traditional gas or electric heater. Although solar heaters take 5-10 years to pay for themselves, you can offset this cost with a federal tax credit. Enterprising do-it-yourselfers can save thousands by building their own systems.

Green Home Improvement Tips

These days, everyone wants to do their part to help the environment and cut down on waste. There are many obvious ways to do this, such as recycling or buying a hybrid car. There are other less obvious ways that can make a big impact. One of the best ways to conserve energy and, as a result, save money in the long run, is by doing a green home renovation. While this may seem like a daunting undertaking, with the right planning, it can be a relatively stress-free project that results in both measurable and non-measurable benefits.

To begin with, it is important to have a plan. Green home improvement differs from basic home repair because you are working toward an ultimate goal of making your home more efficient and environmentally friendly. It is advisable to work with a green contractor who has experience with this specific kind of renovation. The contractor can help you decide if you may need a drastic overhaul to achieve optimal conservation, or if a few small changes will suffice. A simple step towards going green is switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and installing motion detectors and timers that keep lights off when they are not needed.

A more involved way of making a home eco-friendly is by installing a new HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). Your contractor can help you install a system that optimizes the space you have, with the most efficient use of energy. When installing a new HVAC system, it is important to keep in mind the climate that you live and the needs of your home.

It is also advisable to think green when selecting the products that you will use in your renovation. Not all materials are created equal, as many contain products that are harmful to the environment. Try to stick to products that are long-lasting, and contain recycled material that is eco-friendly. Also, by selecting products that are durable, you avoid having to replace them, and as such, are able to cut down on waste. Many green products can be found in home improvement stores, so be sure to some research before committing to a brand.

Window replacement is another way to conserve energy and cut down on costs. By installing windows with better insulation, you are reducing the amount of heat or air-conditioning that is wasted and your home is better able to heat or cool itself using natural resources. This is a significant way to reduce energy bills, since your home is more efficient and requires less energy to maintain.

Lastly, it is important to remember that maintaining a green home is an ongoing commitment. Be conscious of using eco-friendly cleaning products and other materials. Make sure to keep water use to a minimum, and always turn off electronics and appliances when not in use. While it is difficult to change old habits, it is vital that we all do our best to conserve resources and help our environment.

Green Home Improvements That Pay

Here are some green remodeling projects that will actually put money back into your wallet while making your life a little easier at the same time.

Installing High Efficiency Windows

The new generation of energy efficient windows can cut your energy costs by as much as a whopping 50% annually, which means they will literally pay for themselves in a few short years.

If you are in the market for new windows you need to be looking for multiple paned windows, low e coatings, insulated frames and gas fills.

You should also keep in mind that good installation is every bit as important when it comes to achieving the highest possible levels of energy efficiency so make sure you are dealing with a reputable window installation company you can trust.

Installing A High Efficiency Heating System

This is another green improvement that can save you a small fortune on energy bills as well as help the environment by cutting down on fuel consumption. Look for a heating system that has AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) ratings of 90 or better and, again, remember that a poor installation job will sabotage all your efforts and investment.

Get New Kitchen Appliances

Just because that ten year old refrigerator can still do its job does not mean that it should. The new breed of Energy Star rated dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines and clothes dryers can help you score up to $500 in extra energy savings for every year that they are on the job.

Go Low Flow

Wasting water is as bad as wasting energy and the average home still wastes a lot of it. Low flow toilets and showers will help to reduce your water usage a lot and the newest models are every bit as efficient as their water guzzling older counterparts. How much water can you save? A lot. For example, just the simple act of installing a low flow shower head can cut your water bill by a third.

Insulate, Insulate and Insulate Some More

All the high efficiency windows, heating systems and appliances in the world are not much good if your home is not properly insulated. Leaky windows and doors, and poorly insulated attic spaces are some of the most common causes of energy inefficient homes, so those are good places to start.

To be truly sure that your home is up to speed consider calling in a professional to conduct a full energy audit and help you determine where and how you should be adding extra insulation.

All of these are great measures and many of them come with an extra added bonus – tax rebates and allowances. Make sure you ask about all of them when you are making your purchases and then actually remember to file for them when tax time comes around!