Top 5 questions you asked us at the Seattle Home Show answered
- Is there an electric tankless water heater?
Tankless water heaters are energy and cost efficient, and use gas or propane as a fuel source. There are electric water heaters that can produce on demand water but they are not at all energy efficient. They use lots of power and will cost you more in electricity, likely requiring an expensive upgrade to your electrical panel or wiring as well. That’s why you don’t see them around. There are “point of use” single appliance attachments that can provide endless hot water to one sink, for example. They can run off of a regular 110 volt circuit and can be suitable for Northwest homes.
- How can I get instant hot water in my upstairs bathroom?
Tankless water heaters provide endless hot water, but like a standard tank, it is not instant. If your water heater is far away and you want instant hot water, consider a recirculating pump. A recirculating system can work with standard tanks. Also see prior comment about point of use water heating.
- How much money will a ductless heat pump system save?
The savings vs electric baseboard or electric wall heating are substantial. According to the Ductless Heat Pump Project (Bonneville Power Authority) you can expect 25% – 50% savings from heating. Other utilities claim up to 60%. According to Snohomish PUD electric baseboard heating can cost $1500 per year. If you saved 50% of that the system could more than pay for itself over it’s lifespan (depending on the size of your house and number of ductless splits you deploy.)
- How is a modulating furnace different than a regular furnace?
Modulating gas furnaces continuously adjust their heating level by 1% increments to match the degree of comfort you need exactly and efficiently. Unlike a single stage furnace, they don’t shut off, let the house cool and then have to run hard to ramp back up again. The variable speed blower provides quiet and efficient air distribution while reducing overall utility consumption. The end result is a much more efficient and quiet furnace that gives your home a nice even heat.
- What is composite siding and what is special about the material?
Composite siding is today’s version of Vinyl siding. It is custom fit with expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) that is fused to the back of the siding, which fills the gap between the home and the siding, providing insulation. Composite siding has lots of upside. It has an insulation R-value of 4.0 (compared to wood siding which has a factor of 1.0) and has been proven to reduce noise in your home by as much as 45%. Another great advantage of composite siding is it can be applied over existing siding unlike fiber cement or wood. It comes in a variety of tasteful styles and colors, with essentially no maintenance and excellent warranties.
Washington Energy Services installs and services water heaters, furnaces and siding. Do you have more questions about energy efficient home improvement? Ask us at 800-398-4663.