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What You Need To Know About Water Heater Efficiency

Technician Adjusting Water Heater 1

What You Need To Know About Water Heater Efficiency

How Much Energy Does Your Water Heater Use - And How To Control It

In the middle of a chilly Wisconsin winter, nothing feels better than hopping into a nice, hot shower. Often tucked away in a corner or confined to a closet, your water heater is a silent hero, ensuring you have hot water whenever you need it. But have you ever wondered about its efficiency and the impact it has on your energy bills? You may be surprised at how much energy your water heater is using - and wasting.

How Efficient is My Tank Water Heater?

First things first – let's talk about the traditional tank water heater that has faithfully served households for years. These workhorses store and constantly heat a large amount of water, ready to be dispensed at a moment's notice. But how efficient are they?

Overall, your hot water heater will account for up to 18% of your home's energy bill. It is typically your home's second largest energy expense behind your heating and air system. But why does it use so much energy if only one or two showers are taken a day?

Tank water heaters operate on a constant cycle of heating water, even when you're not using it. This can lead to energy wastage, especially if your water heater is aging. In addition, as sediment builds up over time, the unit must work harder to maintain the desired temperature, reducing overall efficiency. So older units are not nearly as energy efficient as new ones.

If you've noticed an increase in your energy bills or if your water heater is more than a decade old, it might be time to consider an upgrade to a more energy-efficient model.

Will a New Hot Water Heater be More Energy Efficient?

The short answer is – absolutely! Technological advancements in water heater design have led to more energy-efficient options. Newer models are equipped with features like improved insulation, faster heating elements, and advanced temperature control mechanisms.

Consider investing in a newer, energy-efficient tank water heater or exploring alternative options like tankless water heaters. Upgrading not only saves you money in the long run but also contributes to a greener, more sustainable future.

Tankless Water Heaters – How Much Energy Can I Save?

Enter the tankless water heater – the modern, sleek alternative to traditional tank models. Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, heat water directly without the need for a storage tank. But how much energy can they really save?

The key advantage of tankless water heaters lies in their on-demand heating mechanism. They only heat water when you need it, eliminating the standby energy losses associated with tank models. This can result in significant energy savings, especially in households with low to moderate hot water usage.

Moreover, tankless water heaters have a longer lifespan than their tank counterparts, often exceeding 20 years with proper maintenance. This longevity not only reduces the frequency of replacements but also contributes to a more sustainable and eco-friendly home.

Pros and Cons of Both Tank and Tankless Water Heaters

Let's weigh the pros and cons of both tank and tankless water heaters to help you make an informed decision:

Tank Water Heaters


  • Lower upfront cost.
  • Simplicity in design and installation.
  • Familiarity – most households are accustomed to tank water heaters.


  • Standby heat loss leads to energy wastage.
  • Limited lifespan compared to tankless models.
  • Larger physical footprint.

Tankless Water Heaters


  • On-demand heating reduces energy consumption.
  • Longer lifespan and lower maintenance requirements.
  • Compact design – ideal for homes with limited space.


  • Higher upfront cost.
  • Installation may require electrical upgrades.
  • Limited hot water output simultaneously in large households.

Expert Water Heater Guidance

In the quest for water heater efficiency, the choice between a tank and tankless model ultimately depends on your household's unique needs and preferences. If you prioritize energy savings and have a higher budget, a tankless water heater might be the perfect fit. On the other hand, if upfront costs and simplicity are more critical, a traditional tank water heater could still meet your requirements.

As a heating, air, and plumbing company committed to your comfort and energy efficiency, Hurlburt Heating, AC & Plumbing recommends consulting with our experts. Our team can assess your current setup, discuss your hot water needs, and guide you toward the most suitable and efficient water heating solution for your home.

Remember, investing in an energy-efficient water heater not only saves you money but also contributes to a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. As technology continues to evolve, so do our options for achieving optimal comfort without compromising on efficiency.

Feel free to reach out to us at (715) 283-4422 for a personalized consultation and let's embark on the journey towards a more energy-efficient and comfortable home together!

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