Do you remember heating up water on the stove to take a bath?
Me neither. But that’s how my mom took a bath when she was a little girl in a farm near Hastings. Of course, that was a million years ago. Still, the technology hasn’t changed much; Start a fire (or plug in an element, in the case of electric water heaters.) The heat transfers into the water.
That’s it. There have been advances in efficiencies, but they’ve all been along the lines of capturing more of the heat that left with the exhaust. Or keeping the heat in the tank with more and better insulation. Not huge advances, but whatever.
But there is a new way of looking at something we’ve known a long time; It is a lot easier to move heat than to make it. You know how an air conditioner works, right? Warm Freon is pumped outside. It gets compressed, which heats it up. Outside air is blown across the fins, heated up by the hot Freon, cooling it. It goes back into the house and gets decompressed. That makes it cold. House air is blown across the cold coils. The house air is now cold.
So, with a compressor and a couple of fans, heat is pumped outside. You can make the house warmer by using a heat pump. It would involve switching the compression and decompression portions of the system.
That’s how geothermal heating works; Freon (or another gas with similar properties) is sent underground, where the earth warms it up.
And so it goes.
There are water heaters that use that same technology. The savings are huge!
Sure the heaters cost more to buy, but over the expected 10-year lifespan, the savings are very real.
If you’re like me, (and I know I am!) you want to know more.
Here’s a link to what the DOE has to say about water heaters. Click: What the DOE has to say about water heaters