Natural gas water heaters are probably the most popular heating systems you can find in North America and Europe.
Natural gas is one of the cheapest forms of energy for residential use; it is clean, affordable, and heats the water quickly and efficiently. The more expensive gas option is propane, not as convenient to get, but still offering benefits as natural gas.
The best known and widely used application for natural gas in homes is for heating and cooking. More than half of the North American and European population uses natural gas for home and water heating.
Since we have an abundance of natural gas available to use for our homes, and with the rising prices, we usually forget that there are many ways how to save on the heating operating costs and service.
Either you are renting a heater or using a new one, you will still have over 20-30%, on average, of your annual household energy bill that goes on water heating.
With the following steps that we recommend, you will save significantly, which will greatly impact your home budget. How much money you can save depends on you and your family members, your habits, and many other criteria; are you using natural gas tankless water heater or tank-type, are you heating water efficiently with the Energy Star recognized units or not.
When talking about efficiency, if you have an old electrical and tank tape heater, maybe it is time to consider a natural gas water heater, high efficiency, and Energy Star qualified, such as Rinnai RUR98 or Rinnai RUC98. These models are eligible for government tax credit and rebates.
Also, it is good to be aware of family habits like do you need an abundance of hot water at once. You don't want to buy an oversized heater as the energy loss is higher, which is a waste of your money.
The natural gas tankless water heater is probably your best option, as it avoids the potential heat and energy losses like with the tank-type, and there are models with high efficiency of over 90%.
For your safety, always check the temperature before using hot water and keep the temperature around 120 F / 49 C.
As mentioned before, when using a natural gas water heater, due to the safety and per regulations, all the by-products of gas combustion have to be removed outside using the approved vents.
Atmospheric-vented gas water heaters are using a vertical vent pipe or chimney for the flue gases exhaust. This process works on pure physics; warmer flue gases will rise naturally through the chimney and out. Before you decide, we suggest you call the inspector to check the size and chimney features.
If the vertical chimney or venting is not an option, you can go with the direct vent or horizontally vented natural gas water heater. It can work in two ways, the flue gas goes out through the outside wall, bringing the air in for combustion.
Power vented option is using an electric fan as assistance to push the gases outside. This is a good option if your natural gas water heater has to be installed far from the outside wall (for the total length, check out the building code or the manual). Power vented water heaters, such as this AO Smith Vertex is a great example.