For most Alberta families, water heaters consume the second highest amount of energy in the home. If you are in the market for a new water heating system, you’ll want to choose carefully. At ATCO EnergySense, we can help you make the right decision. Here are some of the most common questions we are asked about water heaters.
Generally speaking, two types of water heaters are available. In Alberta, natural gas storage water heaters are the most commonly used residential water heater. Natural gas on-demand water heaters are also becoming popular because they are highly efficient and have side wall venting capability.
When you think about the cost of installing a water heater, it’s important to think about more than just the immediate costs. For example, although installation costs for natural gas water heaters are typically higher than for electric water heaters, annual operating costs are much lower.
As well, the total life-cycle costs of natural gas water heaters are lower. Before you know it, you’ve recovered the money you spent on purchase and installation.
To learn more about the benefits of natural gas water heaters, visit ATCO Gas.
The table below shows a number of cost factors to consider when purchasing a water heater:
• water heater efficiency (energy factor)
• installed cost
• annual operating (energy) cost
• useful life of the appliance
While the table is based on estimates and numbers have not been adjusted for inflation, it does provide a good at-a-glance overview of the costs you should consider when buying a water heater.
A natural gas water heater’s operating efficiency is measured by its energy factor (EF); electric units are measured by standby loss. When buying a water heater, choose a model with a high EF or low standby loss rating because these models will consume less energy and produce fewer emissions.
First hour rating (FHR) measures how much hot water (in litres or gallons) the heater can supply during a one-hour period. To purchase an appropriately sized water heater for your household, look for a model with an FHR that matches or slightly exceeds your maximum estimated peak one-hour use.
ATCO EnergySense encourages you to use energy wisely. Here are some easy ways to “green up” your water heater usage.
• Once a year, drain a few litres from your hot water tank. This will minimize the sediment buildup that causes a water heater to work harder, wasting costly energy.
• Dishwashers and washing machines use large amounts of water and energy, so only run them when they are full. Washing clothes in cold water will save additional energy.
• Install a low-flow showerhead to reduce the amount of hot water used.
• Fix leaky faucets. A faucet that drips once every second wastes 21 litres of water every day—the equivalent of 41 baths each year!
• Set your water heater temperature control to “vacation mode” when you are away for extended periods of time.
• When shopping for a water heater, look for a product with the ENERGY STAR® symbol. The international ENERGY STAR symbol displayed alone or as part of the EnerGuide label identifies major appliances that meet or exceed technical specifications designed to ensure they are among the most energy efficient in their class without compromising performance.
• Ensure appliance venting is tightly secured and in good condition.
• Keep the area around the hot water tank clear of flammable objects, such as paint thinners, cleaning agents, paper and other combustible materials.
• Have your water heater checked annually. Routine maintenance will prolong the life of the water heater and ensure it works efficiently and safely. Summer is an ideal time to arrange for this servicing.
For more energy-saving tips, visit our Energy Fact Sheets section.
In Alberta, natural gas is the primary fuel used for domestic water heating. Natural gas is safe, reliable and the cleanest burning fossil fuel.
ATCO is a diversified global corporation delivering service excellence and innovative business solutions in Structures & Logistics, Electricity, Pipelines & Liquids, and Retail Energy. More information about ATCO can be found on www.ATCO.com.