One of the largest energy consuming devices in the home is the hot water heater. On average in the United States, heating water accounts for 15 to 19 percent of energy costs, second only to space heating and cooling. In addition, in a typical brownstone or urban row house, hot water must travel up several stories from the basement to reach fixtures on the upper floors and, without a well designed hot water system, thousand of gallons of potable water each year swirl down the drain as the homeowner runs the tap waiting for the hot water to reach the fixture.  See our Article Water Conservation -- A Holistic Approach that Saves Water and Energy.  For example, at 168 Clinton St., our case study green brownstone renovation (see Noreen's 168 Clinton St. blog) we measured that in order for the hot water being heated in the basement to reach the shower on the top/5th floor, we ran through 4 gallons of water (when the outdoor temperature was 45 degrees) before the hot water reached the tap. If this occurs twice a day, once in the morning for adults’ showers and once at night for children’s baths, then 8 gallons daily, 56 gallons weekly, and 2,912 gallons annually of potable water are swirling down the drain -- that’s enough drinking water to serve the needs of a family of four, each of whom drinks 8 glasses of water a day, for 4 years.

This Article will instruct you how to increase the efficiency of your existing hot water heater, how to evaluate and choose a replacement hot water heater, and if you are renovating, how to design a better hot water delivery system.

Contents:
Making Your Current Hot Water Heater More Efficient
Standard Heater With Storage Tank
Tankless, aka In-Line, aka Demand Systems
Solar Hot Water Heating Systems
Designing or Retro-Fitting a High-Efficiency Hot Water Delivery System
Drain Water Heat Recovery
Hot Water Recirculation System
Central Manifold Distribution System
Compact Design Conventional System
Integrated Water Heating and Home Heating