Today I’m going to chat with you guys a little bit about domestic hot water heating. Hopefully this post will get us all into hot water. For cheaper preferably. I want to highlight a few options, what their advantages are and disadvantages are. For every house there will be a different solution depending on desires, needs and budget of the customer. I won’t go into every different combination but will try to touch on a few.
- Electric HWT (Hot Water Tank). This is very much the standard when building new. Lower up-front cost, costs more to run down the road. It is a good solution when building in areas without gas or if you don’t want to have gas in your house. These electric tanks also produce only about 2% of the carbon dioxide emissions in a year that gas tanks do in Manitoba. An option to look into is the hybrid heat pump water heater but that in and of itself would be a full other blog post. It’s important to you’re your tank properly to ensure you have enough hot water but not so big that you heat too much extra.
- High efficiency Gas HWT. Yes there are still mid-efficiency gas HWT, but those won’t really have a place in a new construction house. These are a fair bit more expensive up front, but their operating costs are about 66% of what electric is. Manitoba Hydro estimates the average house spends about $800/year heating water with electric so this translates to roughly $275 per year of savings. Typical up-charge to go to gas is +/- $1400. With those numbers you’ll pay off the upgrade in just over 5 years. Again, these units need to be sized properly.
- Instantaneous Gas HWT. These things are brilliant. They have an up-front cost of roughly $2000 more than Electric tanks. The advantage is that your water is “on demand”. This means when you call for hot water the equipment blasts 160,000 BTU of heat onto the piping to instantly heat it up. Another big positive is how little room they take up. You can mount them on a 3’x3’ piece of plywood and they stick about 1’ off the wall. These units operate at about 30% the cost of electric. So again with Hydro estimating average house spending $800 per year, you’ll spend about $240, saving $560/year. You’ll pay off your upgrade in just shy of 4 years. From there on you’re saving operating costs of $560/year.
Those are the three most common solutions. We can dig deeper into combination boilers that are like the instantaneous gas unit, but provide heating for radiator heat, in-floor heat etc. There are also options for buying electric tank-less water heaters, solar water heaters etc. There are many ways to heat your water and ultimately that decision will have to be made based on your comfort level and your needs/wants. You’ll have to weight the carbon footprint costs vs economic costs vs maintenance and running costs.