Location, location, location: Why position matters for hot water heaters
June 25, 2015
Not all hot water heaters are created equal, and likewise, no two hot water installations deliver the same results. The diameter of the heater, the volume of water being led through the home's plumbing system, the distance between point of use and where hot water is stored – all of these positional factors will influence how comfortably and efficiently your home delivers hot water.
As a result, homeowners will need to think hard about where their hot water heater is currently installed if they are interested in cutting waste and saving money. This line of thinking is especially important considering that the shape and size of this year's new tanks will have a big impact on where you can hook up the appliance and your subsequent cost of installation.
Tight spacing could mean a hefty price tag
One of the biggest unknowns hanging over your head when you consider replacing your water heater is whether your heater's current position is a good fit for its replacement. For years, water heaters have been standardized in size to the point that home builders could design around the space a water heater would need to be installed inside the home. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, however, the size of the average water tank has changed significantly in the past few months. Manufacturers, in response to Department of Energy demands for more efficient water heaters, have updated their designs to include more insulation.
More distance translates to greater waste
The trade-off of this insulation upgrade was size, and the resource warned that models released after April 16 will be several inches larger than their predecessors. As a result, thousands of homeowners nationwide will find their replacement model doesn't quite fit where it used to. Homeowners could respond to this scenario by remodeling their home or by simply investing in a tankless water heater that isn't bound by the size constraints of a standard reservoir heater.
One reality of water heating that homeowners should consider when deciding on their next appliance is standby loss. Every time someone in your home turns the hot water faucet they end up waiting a few moments as hot water moves from the heater to the sink and displaces cool water along the way. Gallons and gallons of water go wasted down the drain during this waiting period, depending on the distance from water heater to point of use.
Going tankless will allow you to eliminate that distance and install tankless water heaters right next to your home's most active point of use. This configuration eliminates the waste associated with standby loss in your home, resulting in savings on your monthly water bill.
"Gallons of water go wasted down the drain due to standby loss."
Adding square footage has multiple perks
Don't forget that removing a standard water heater from your home and replacing it with a tankless water heater has floor space benefits as well. After all, the compact build of tankless models allow them to be wall-mounted in the home by removing the storage reservoir, according to the Department of Energy. Removing your standard heater leaves a few extra square feet of room in a basement or crawl space, and with a bit of creativity you can make the most of that extra space.
Whether going tankless affords you a new closet space or simply more room to maneuver in the basement, increasing the square footage of your home will inevitably create benefits for the household. You may even be able to sell your home for a little more by accounting for the square footage recovered by going tankless when sizing out your home's interior.