What’s hot in energy efficient home comfort is well, hot! The biggest trends are things that warm you and save you some cash on utility bills.
Hot trends are… hot!
- Tankless Water Heaters – topping the list of most desired home improvements for 2012 is the tankless water heater. In our recent Northwest Energy Survey, 16% of Seattle area residents planning home upgrades in 2012 are looking at tankless water heaters. Why? Because who doesn’t want an endless supply of hot water.Tankless water heaters work on demand, when you are not home, they are not wasting fuel to heat water. And at the same time, there’s no water sitting in a tank rusting it out. The tankless water heater is small (like a carry on suitcase) and lasts much longer than a standard tank, up to 20 years. The best part is that you won’t be using as much energy for water heating (of course, if you take longer showers or fill that tub all the way up, well, you might not get that savings, but you’ll love the comfort!) . If you looked at tankless when it first came on the market, things have changed. Prices are lower and features/quality of performance is better. Yes, endless hot water technology is more expensive than a standard tank and you can’t really install it yourself. It will cost about the same as 2 standard tanks and last about as long as 2 tanks, possibly longer.Brands of tankless that are popular in the Northwest include Rheem, Rinnai, Eternal and Navien. The features that you can use to compare them are:
- Issues with cold water sandwiching
- Reserve tanks for faster hot water/time to get hot water
- Gas or Propane fuel source
- Ductless Heat Pumps – there will be several exhibitors at the Seattle Home Show including Washington Energy Services showing ductless heat pumps. These are extremely popular elsewhere in the world, and now making their way to the US as we become more energy conscious. The ductless heat pump is an efficient electric heating source that can save you up to 40% on your heating costs. Don’t take our word for it, the Northwest Ductless Heat Pump Project of the Bonneville Power Authoritywants you to go ductless too.What’s so cool about ductless, well for one, it cools. It provides both heating and air conditioning. With the dramatic swings in climate we are seeing in the Northwest, more people are interested in air conditioning. Many air conditioning units are not a fit for city dwellers with terraces or noise ordinance restrictions. The small outside part of a ductless unit is super quiet and can meet all of those needs. In fact, ductless heat pumps are great for condos, townhomes and single family homes. A whole home can be heated and cooled. Another excellent use for ductless is in older homes with insufficient ducting. There you might have one or two rooms with no real source of heat. You can see photos of ductless units and learn more about them at www.goingductlessnorthwest.comExcellent ductless heat pumps are made by several manufacturers such as Daikin, Mitsubishi and Fujitsu. Daikin is the world leader in HVAC.
- Hydronic heating – also called a combo boiler system. This cutting edge of green heating systems uses tankless technology to heat the entire home. This is a tankless water heater that also heats your space. Unlike conventional boilers, this type of system provides the energy saving benefits of on demand heating for both water and the house, via radiant heating. It’s very green and the quality of heat produced is super comfortable. Typically this takes the form of radiant floor heating. Radiant heating systems run hot water under your floors to heat your home. They cover the entire room evenly and it feels great underfoot. It’s nice and quiet, with no furnace fan noise. Radiant heating is a closed loop system that loses little heat while moving heated water around. And uses very little electricity to run. So it’s cost efficient. There are several utility incentives to help you pay for this as it’s going to require an upfront investment.Washington Energy Services provides tankless, ductless and hydronic heating products. We will be displaying several tankless water heaters and a working ductless heat pump at the Seattle Home Show. See below for a special offer code for 2 for 1 admission, free parking and bonus gifts.