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Green Home Improvement Project: Replacing Your Hot Water Heater

Many of the “green” home improvement projects that you will encounter focus on saving natural resources or limiting your use of certain utilities such as water or electricity. Some home improvement projects that are environmentally friendly rely on saving more than one resource. The key to any home improvement project is that first and foremost it improves your home in a noticeable way, the other benefits of completing a project are simply secondary.

This article is another in the series of “green” projects around the house. This article will focus on one of those home improvement projects that can save you money in the long run by reducing your need for both gas or electricity, and water. One often overlooked device in your home that could be quite old right now and is usually not replaced until it breaks is your hot water heater.

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A typical hot water heater can last up to about 20 years. Many home owners forget about this appliance until it breaks and chances are high yours is quite old right now. Hot water heaters either rely on electricity or gas to heat the water within. Older models were not nearly as efficient as new models and thus cost significantly more to operate than a current hot water heater.

New designs focus on thermal insulation and more efficient heating to save you on operating costs. Since a conventional hot water heater is a very simple product, advancements have been slow to come to market. However, with seemingly everyone focused on saving on their utility bills and saving our precious environment, even the mundane hot water heater has seen many advancements in recent years.

A new hot water heater, whether powered by natural gas or electricity, can save you up to $100 per year over the operating costs of an older, less efficient model. The real key to savings relies on the extensive insulation found in new models. The insulation keeps the water inside hot requiring less power to constantly reheat the water within. Therefore, the gas or electricity is used much less often and the water remains hotter.

A typical hot water heater will cost around $400. All have posted operating cost ratings on the outside listed on a yellow sticker. Models with lower operating costs usually cost more upfront, but less to operate over the life of the product. The savings on your utility bills will quickly add up and eventually pay you back for the cost of the new unit.

An added benefit is that you will have a more consistent water temperature coming from the unit and a nice hot shower.

As with just about any “green” home improvement project, you will have to spend money up front. But the money is well spent as you will be doing your part to conserve our natural resources and you will save money out of your pocket in the long run. It’s both environmentally friendly and economical to make “green” choices around your home when you tackle that next home improvement project.