Do you remember in the movie “Arthur”, where an apartment was advertised with IOL, instant on lighting. It seems that IOHW is becoming a standard desire.
With energy and water conservation being frequent issues in the news, we are more aware of making our homes meet these standards, but we do want our quality of living to improve. We leave our shower running in the mornings until the warm water is flowing before we step into that chamber. I have seen people turn on various faucets to help speed this process up. A nice bit of water is wasted there. Others have turned the temperature setting up on their hot water heaters in hopes of having the hot water come faster, which is just a waste of energy. I have also seen small water heaters for individual faucets, or homes with water heaters in different sections to ensure quick hot water, which is also an energy waste. Here are some steps to take to conserve both energy and water:
1) Insulating your pipes. Insulating the hot water pipes helps retain the heat in the pipe, instead of it dissipating into the attic. This may be a small step, but every little bit helps, and pipe insulation is a cheap and simple step.
2) Buy a tankless water heater. These heat the water when it is demanded. The typical tank heater keeps the water at the set temperature, so it will be heating the water even if you are not using it. So the energy savings are good. Also, most of us do not maintain our hot water tanks like we should, so hard water causes build-up, which in turn leads the heater to work harder to heat the water in the tank.
3) Some new homes have a recirculating hot water system built into the structure. The idea is that the water in the pipes is flowing through the pipes back to the heater when not in use, so the water is always heated. Turn on the faucet, and voila, IOHW! Now there are two neat tricks to this idea. If you have an existing house, there is a product which can be installed to imitate this system without installing a return pipe. It comes in two parts, one hooks up to your heater and the other to the sink furthest from the water heater in the line. It uses the cold water line as the return line, so your water will be hot when needed. Now here is the second trick, you can program this device so it turns on only at times when you will need this hot water (like when you usually take your morning shower), so you are only heating the water when you need it. This idea combines energy and water savings.
There you go IOHW. To implement all of these steps will cost you in the area of $1000 for a typical home. I know that insulating you home gives you a tax break, but I recall that the tankless heater will give you a tax break too. This plan can also be implemented in stages; the biggest cost will be the heater, so it could be saved for last.