Cheap gas water Heaters
A big consumer
Water heaters are the next largest energy consumer in the home after space heating and cooling. According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, heating water accounts for 19% of your home’s energy consumption, which is about $300 per year. They also last a long time before needing to be replaced. This means that if you are in the market for a new water heater, your choice can greatly influence your cumulative energy costs over the next 10 to 15 years. If you're not replacing your water heater, there are several measures you can take to improve the efficiency of your current system.
While the majority of homes use natural gas to heat their water, 40% use electricity, and a small percentage use alternative fuels such as propane, heating oil, and solar. The efficiency of water heaters is measured by the Energy Factor (EF), which is a ratio of the energy output of the water heater to the total energy going into the water heater. The higher the EF, the more efficiently the water heater performs.
You may not be able to decide the fuel type of your water heater, especially if you moved into a home with an existing working water heater or if you live in a condo or apartment. If you can choose, avoid electric heaters, as these can cost twice as much to heat your water than natural gas heaters. While electric heaters are more efficient (EF 0.9) than gas water heaters (EF 0.6), this is a misleading comparison. It takes 3 units of fuel to produce 1 unit of electricity, plus there are losses along the way in delivering the electricity to your home. This makes using electricity more costly and fuel intensive than heating with natural gas. If you don't have the option to switch to a gas water heater, a heat pump water heater is an efficient electric option.
No matter what technology you choose, you should consider purchasing the most efficient option in your budget. Additionally, you can make small lifestyle changes and improvements to your existing heater that can drastically reduce your utility bills.
Storage Tank. This is the most common type of water heater in U.S. homes. High efficiency gas storage tanks differ from conventional storage tanks in that they have more insulation, heat traps, enhanced burners, and sometimes a power vent to improve gas combustion. The most advanced models have an EF of 0.70, saving 7.5% of water heating energy over conventional storage tanks.
Tankless or Demand. Unlike storage tank heaters, tankless heaters don't maintain a constant supply of hot water and therefore take up much less space. When you turn on the hot water tap, sensors trigger the gas burner to activate a heat exchanger. The water enters the heat exchanger and flows to the tap once it has reached the preset temperature. New tankless water heaters have an EF as high as 0.98. While they are more efficient and ideal for homes with low water use (up to 34% over traditional storage tanks, and up to 14% for high water use homes), a study by the National Resource Efficiency Lab found that you can save up to 50% of water heating energy by placing smaller demand heaters at each water outlet, such as showers, the dishwasher, and clothes washer.
What are the top gas hot water heaters?
Consumer reviews list several gas hot water heaters at the top of their list. Among them are Rheem, Reliance and Eccotemp. You can find a complete line of water heaters at stores such as Home Depot or Lowe's.