There are many questions emerging about the energy use related to commercial and domestic hot water. The city of Toronto estimates that 25-35% of household energy use comes from hot water. Much of the hot water energy use is derived from “stand by loads”. This is the energy used to heat the water in hot water tanks when the water is not in use.
On demand hot water systems are designed to take very little space, and to heat water at time of demand, only when the hot water tap is on. Condensing on-demand gas hot water heaters are the best on demand solutions. Condo owners, empty nesters, frequent travellers and water conservers will benefit most from on-demand hot water systems. As an example, I have retired clients who travel often and have a cottage. Their on-demand hot water heater investment is paying for itself very quickly because there is no standby load for the 2/3 of the year that they are not in their condo.
Solar hot water heaters are ideally suited for families and heavy users of domestic hot water. The key opportunity is that water is heated for free, meaning guilt free and bill free hot showers for everyone. The reason family sized consumers of hot water benefit most from these systems is that the displacement of hot water heating costs is the measure of system payback. For example, a family of 4 will have significant demand for hot water for bathing, dishes, and washing. When not using solar the energy the costs for providing hot water to a household like this is significant. Therefore the return on investment, measured in displaced utility costs, is significant. Imagine selling your home with Solar hot water; being able to say “this home comes with free domestic hot water”. The most powerful part of this sales pitch is the math, comparing the operational costs associated with heating the same water volume using electricity or natural gas allows your Realtor to demand a higher price for your home.
Every home and condo owner who currently has an electric powered hot water tank should consider migrating to one or both of these technologies immediately – the investment is a no-brainer. Anyone using a gas fired hot water heater should consider switching, because these systems are the emerging standard and you don’t want to be left behind. There are significant grants available for home owners who invest in these systems through the ecoEnergy program – so get an audit before you make the change. Visit www.HomeEnergyOntario.ca for more information.