Articles - Written by admin on Tuesday, April 7, 2009 7:18 - 5 Comments
Stimulus to Buy Water Heaters
In February, President Obama signed the Federal Stimulus bill (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) that made significant changes to the energy efficiency tax credits. For the first time, the Dept. of Energy has identified five categories of residential water heaters that are eligible for an ENERGY STAR® label: high-performance gas storage, whole-home gas tank-less, advanced drop-in or integrated heat pump, solar, and gas condensing.
For most of these water heaters, tax credits are available at 30 percent of the cost or up to $1,500 in tax credits for 2009 and 2010 in existing homes only. For solar water heaters, there are also tax credits available at 30 percent of the cost and no upper limit through 2016 for both existing homes and new construction homes.
Does this mean we should all jump in and start buying new energy efficient water heaters?
Jim Blau, at Blau Plumbing Inc., says not so fast. It really depends on your situation and your hot water needs. Should an elderly couple invest $5 – 6,000 in a tank-less water heater when they only spend about $200/year for their hot water usage? Water heating only represents about 17 percent of your home heating bill.
On the other hand, if your water heater is getting up there in age, say 8 to 10 years old, or it’s important to you to have an endless supply of hot water, you may want to look into something new.
If you are considering buying a new water heater, here are some questions to ask yourself –
• Does your current system meet your needs?
• How old is your water heater?
• What are your usage habits?
• Do you own a whirlpool?
• Do two or more people in your home take showers at the same time?
• Do you expect your lifestyle to change in the next 5 to 10 years?
• Is it important to you to be green?
There is a push right now for people to go with tank-less water heaters and there are advantages over conventional ones. Tank-less water heaters have the potential to last longer, but you do need to do annual maintenance. For the water heater to run at peak efficiency, the heat exchanger needs to be clean. Over time, the unit can get crusty. You will need a circulating pump, hoses and vinegar to clean the heat exchanger and be vigilant about yearly maintenance.
The big point here is that there are a lot of choices when it comes to water heaters. Before you make the investment, talk to your plumber. He or she can help you make the final decision.