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Environmental Impacts of Even the Best Water Heaters

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environmental impact of water heaters

We all love hot water, but at what expense to the environment? Did you realize your water heater has a negative impact on the environment? 

You don’t need to stop taking hot showers, but it’s a good idea to understand how the emissions from your water heater influence the world around you. Depending on the type of hot water heater in your home or business, it could do more damage than other types of water heaters. 

Let’s learn about the best water heater for the environment and how you can be more eco-friendly with the water heater you have. 

What Are Carbon Emissions?

Carbon is everywhere in the environment. It’s the most common element on the planet, and it’s essential to life on earth. 

If carbon isn’t harmful, why are carbon emissions a concern? The “emissions” part refers to carbon dioxide (CO2). When the atmosphere has a balance of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and other elements, life and the environment are in excellent condition. Humans and animals emit carbon dioxide through the process of breathing. 

Nature is Out of Balance

Nature, on its own, does an excellent job of sustaining the right balance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, when the balance of carbon emissions shifts to more carbon dioxide than oxygen, the planet suffers. Too much CO2 in the atmosphere causes severe weather changes and raises the temperature of the globe. 

In Canada, water heating accounts for about 17% of residential energy use. Consider how often you need hot water throughout the day, and it makes sense why your hot water heater contributes to a good part of that residential energy use. From showers to washing clothes and dishes, your hot water heater probably runs throughout the day—giving off harmful emissions every time it runs.

Human activity (including water heater usage) and energy consumption interfere with nature’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide and other gasses in the atmosphere. Many everyday things we do or use—including your water heater—contribute harmful carbon emissions into the air. 

How harmful is your water heater? What can you do to have a more eco-friendly water heater? Here’s what you need to know. 

Conventional Electric Water Heater

Your conventional electric water heater is at the bottom end of the eco friendly hot water heater list. You might not realize how harmful your standard electric heater is when it comes to energy consumption. 

Many provinces and states in the United States use green energy. Using green energy is one of the best ways to reduce harmful greenhouse emissions into the environment. Traditional power plants burn fossil fuels to create electricity. While your water heater isn’t burning those fossil fuels at home, if you’re not using green energy, the plants generating the electricity for your hot water use are using a large amount of fossil fuel. 

Your water heater might be an energy-efficient rated appliance. However, any conventional electric water heater is producing more carbon emissions than other types of water heaters. 

Conventional Gas-Powered Water Heater

The gas-powered water heater is marginally better for the environment than an electric water heater in some regions. A gas heater still produces a large number of harmful emissions. Still, it’s likely a lower number than the emissions produced by the power plant to provide electricity to an electric water heater. 

If your water heater isn’t working well, it can produce more carbon emissions while it works harder to keep up with your hot water demand. We’ll talk more about how you can keep your water heater in excellent working order to help reduce its impact on the environment. 

Solar-Powered Water Heater

One of the best ways to heat your water and reduce emissions is to use a power source that isn’t reliant on fossil fuels. A solar-powered water heater is the best water heater for home when compared to the emissions of other water heaters. 

How Does it Work?

The sun is your heat source with a solar-powered water heater. Using a solar water heater can reduce your home’s energy consumption by 40%-50%. Basic operation includes a “sun collector” or solar collection element plus a tank to store water. Rather than directly heating your water, the solar collection element heats a fluid that then heats your water. 

Solar water systems come in two forms:

  • An active system uses some electrical elements to pass heated water through the heater and into your home. 
  • A passive system uses only the forces of nature (sun and gravity) to provide your home with hot water. 

However, because Canada can get very cold in the winter, you might have concerns about how much water you’ll get from a solar-powered water heater. 

In many homes, a conventional water heater serves as a back-up to the solar-powered heater. When the sun is scarce, or you need more hot water than other days, your conventional water heater can provide the additional amount of heated water. 

Not every home is ideal for a solar-powered water heater, but you have another option to reduce your carbon emissions while having the hot water you need. 

Electric Tankless Water Heater

You can save money on your monthly electric bills and help protect the environment with an electric tankless water heater. These heaters are a close second to the solar-powered water heater when shopping for the best hot water heater for the environment. 

But It Still Uses Electricity!

We already highlighted the large carbon footprint of an electric water heater. However, because a conventional water heater keeps a tank of water heated throughout the day, it uses more electricity than a tankless water heater. Keeping a tank full of water heated and ready when you need it puts out a significant amount of harmful emissions. 

A tankless heater doesn’t store any water. It heats water as you need it, which removes the electrical energy spent heating a tank of water. However, tankless heaters tend to accumulate limescale more quickly than conventional water heaters. You’ll want to keep an eye on that with some of our maintenance tips below. 

The Benefits

Are you often last in line for a shower? By the time you get your turn, the water is cold. A conventional water heater runs out of hot water until it can replenish (and heat) more water. With a tankless water heater, the last shower of the morning is as hot as the first shower. However, you might find it challenging to do more than one thing at a time, like run the dishwasher while having a hot shower. 

Most people also find that a tankless heater lasts longer than a conventional water heater. You’ll pay a little more upfront to install a new tankless water heater, but you’ll save money on daily use and the longevity of your water heater. 

How Else Can I Be More Eco-Friendly? 

Extending the life of your water heater is one of the best ways to be more eco-friendly. While we recommend an eco-friendly water heater, disposing of water heaters is also harmful to the environment. 

Each year, people change more than 8 million water heaters in North America. These discarded heaters end up in landfills. When it’s time to replace your water heater, check on ways to recycle your old tank. If recycling isn’t available, be sure you dispose of it responsibly.

Keep Your Water Heater Running Efficiently

Until it’s time to replace your current water heater, keep it running more efficiently. A well-maintained water heater helps reduce the energy it needs to keep you with plenty of hot water. 

  • Replace the anode rod with an anode that offers better corrosion protection. The Corro-Protec Powered Anode Rod provides a protection layer on the tank walls and its weak points. This helps keep corrosive substances from building up on the interior of your water tank. 
  • Keep up with water heater maintenance. Periodically drain the tank and refill it, then repeat until the water drains without sediment. Insulate the pipes and tank to help reduce the amount of heat that escapes from the system. 

You can also decrease your water heater carbon footprint by reducing your daily hot water usage and lowering the temperature of your hot water heater. A few degrees cooler can make a big difference in your water heater’s energy consumption. 

The Best Water Heater is a Well-Maintained Water Heater

It might not be the right time to replace your hot water heater. Until it’s time to replace it with a more eco-friendly water heater, the Corro-Protec Powered Anode Rod can make your current tank the best water heater for you. 

Our anode rod helps reduce the smell of sulfur, stops corrosion inside the tank, and reduces limescale buildup. Plus, with the easy DIY installation, our anode rod automatically adapts to any water heater tank. The Corro-Protec Powered Anode Rod will also last as long as you have your water heater. 

Double the life of your water heater and reduce the harmful emissions your system puts into the environment. Shop today for the Corro-Protec Powered Anode Rod that fits your tank!

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