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Water Heater FAQ: What Is Standby Energy Loss?

sunny-plumbersYour water heater. An unsung hero in your home. There it sits, quietly (we hope) providing you with the hot water that you need for bathing, washing the dishes, doing your laundry, etc. Little did you know that this appliance you rely on and trust so much may, in fact, be:

An efficiency drain!

Okay, so that’s a bit dramatic. But standby energy loss is something that every tank water heater encounters. The amount of standby energy loss that your system suffers will vary depending upon a number of factors, and there are some ways in which to reduce it, but it’s something that you should be aware of. Learn more about the problem and how it may be affecting your water heater in Tucson, AZ, in the following post, and remember to work with our plumbers for all of your water heater service needs.

What Is “Standby Energy Loss”?

To understand standby energy loss, let’s have a quick reminder about the way that heat works. Heat is always going to seek balance, and that causes it to naturally move from hotter areas to cooler ones. Needless to say, the interior space of a water heater tank that is filled with hot water is obviously a lot hotter than the air surrounding this tank. You can probably see where this is headed.

Because the air outside of the tank is cooler than the space within, and because that tank is always holding a supply of hot water, the heat from that water is going to do its best to transfer through your tank to the air surrounding it. That results in energy loss, as thermal energy is quite literally leaving the water in the tank for the cooler air outside.

Why Is This a Problem?

My hot water is still hot, so I guess I lucked out and my tank is immune to the issue. 

Not quite. Yes, your hot water is still hot, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t lost heat. It just means that your water heater has put in the extra work to maintain the proper temperature.

And that means that it is using energy and costing you money in the process. As the water in your tank cools down, the water heater has to generate new heat in order to keep it at the desired temperature. This can drive up energy costs in your home.

So What’s the Solution?

The good news is that standby energy loss in modern hot water tanks is pretty minimal. They’re simply built to be more efficient than the tanks we were using years ago. You can also add insulation to your water heater tank in the form of an insulating blanket designed specifically for this use.

If you are serious about eliminating standby energy loss completely, you may want to consider eliminating the need for hot water storage entirely. You can do so by investing in a tankless water heater. These systems are expensive, but they last a long time and their improved efficiency +  long lifespan = a great return on investment costs.

Schedule your water heater services with The Sunny Plumber Tucson. Bright and Shiny and Won’t Show Our Hiney.

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