Save Energy and Money – With a Heat Pump Water Heater

With the high cost of living today, everyone’s looking for a way to save money and if they can also save energy in the process and help the environment, even better. Installing a heat pump hot water heater is one way to do both at the same time. Here’s how:

benefits of heat pump water heater

What are Heat Pump Water Heaters?

Before you can understand how heat pump water heaters save money and energy, you need to know how they work and what makes them different from other types of water heaters.

Typical water heaters work by generating their own heat through electricity, which means they have to expend energy creating the heat that is then transferred to the water. Conversely, a heat pump water heater uses electricity to move heat from one place to another. Since it doesn’t have to create the heat, it’s up to three times more efficient than a traditional water heater.

A heat pump water heater draws in heat from the air around it, heats it to a higher temperature, and transfers it to the water in the storage tank. Heat pump water heaters come in various models, including standalone units, integrated units that include a storage tank, and retrofit units that can be added to a traditional storage water heater.

Saving Energy, Saving Money

The way in which heat pump water heaters save homeowners money is simple: they require less electricity to operate than traditional models. When you use less electricity, you spend less money on your energy bills. With a unit that is up to three times as efficient as a traditional electric water heater, you can save some serious cash each year.

Of course, this benefits the environment as well. When you use less electricity, you effectively reduce the demand for fossil fuels, which are a finite resource. While it might not seem like you’re doing a lot to help the environment just by changing the type of water heater you use, you are actually making a big difference. The more homeowners who make this switch, the better off the surrounding environment will be.

Climate Matters — Somewhat

Homeowners should be aware that heat pump hot water heaters don’t work as well in all climates. The year-round temperature should be between 40°F and 90°F so the pump has heat in the air that it can transfer to the water. In cold climates that dip below 40°F at least part of the year, heat pumps will not do a great job of heating the water.

In fact, by installing a heat pump in a space that has excess heat, such as in a furnace room or a stuffy attic, will increase its efficiency, since it has more heat to work with from the start. This doesn’t mean you can’t install a heat pump in a cooler climate because they will still work. They just won’t be as efficient as they are in a hot environment.

Conclusion

The next time you find yourself in the market for a new hot water heater, give a heat pump model a shot. You’ll be pleased with the savings you gain, both in money and in energy

Choosing the Right Hot Water System Size

When getting a new hot water system, you have to think about the hot water system size you need for your home. Believe it or not, there are numerous hot water system sizes that make shopping for a new one somewhat challenging. Fortunately, you can follow some simple guidelines to help you choose the right hot water system size for your needs. While your individual hot water needs might differ slightly from these recommendations, they will give you a good idea of what size will work best for your home.

how to choose the right water system size

General Estimate

To really understand what size hot water system you need, you’ll want to calculate the amount of hot water your household uses during the time of day when you use the most hot water. However, if you just need a general estimate for size to start shopping around or to get a loose idea of how much it’s going to cost you to buy a new hot water system, you can use these basic numbers to find the right water heater size:

  • If there is one or two people in your household, choose a 30-40 gallon system.
  • If there are two or three people in your household, choose a 40-50 gallon system.
  • If there are three or four people in your household, choose a 50-60 gallon system.
  • If there are five or more people in your household, choose a 60-80 gallon system.

As you can see, there is some overlap in the right size hot water system when there are two or three people in your household. This is why you’ll need to more carefully consider your household’s hot water usage before actually deciding on a system and having one installed.

Hot Water Usage Habits

The larger factor in what size hot water system you should purchase is your household’s hot water usage habits. Some families of five might be perfectly fine with a 30-gallon system because they don’t use very much hot water. Maybe they’re used to taking short showers and washing their clothes in cold water. Perhaps they have very few hot water appliances in their home and are very conservative when using hot water throughout the day. A 30-gallon system might make perfect sense for them.

Conversely, a couple could need a 60-gallon hot water system because they enjoy taking long, luxurious or multiple showers and believe their clothes can’t get sanitized without being washed in scalding water. They may also run their dishwasher frequently, which also increases the usage of hot water. In their case, the smaller recommended size hot water system for one or two people wouldn’t meet their needs.

hot water guide

Calculate Your Exact Usage

As previously mentioned, the best way to determine the right size hot water system for your household is to calculate your actual hot water usage. You can do this by estimating the amount of hot water you use for various activities (10 gallons for a shower, four gallons for handwashing dishes, six gallons for using an automatic dishwasher, and seven gallons for a clothes washer) and multiply each activity by the number of times it happens during your peak hour of usage.

Conclusion

Once you’ve calculated your exact water usage, you can find the first hour rating (FHR) for a hot water system that matches your peak hour usage. This will ensure you have the right amount of hot water for even you heaviest usage times.

How Much Water is Used in Arizona Daily?

Arizona boasts a robust water system and keen management practices. Arizona water supply comes from a diverse portfolio featuring the Colorado River, groundwater, in-state rivers, and reclaimed water. So how much water does the state of Arizona use per day?

Current Arizona Water Supply

According to the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), the average daily water consumption per resident is 146 gallons. The latest census puts the Arizona population at more than seven million, so the average water consumption of the state is well above a billion gallons per day.

Current Arizona Water Supply

About 20% of the state’s water supply goes to municipal use, mostly residential. As much as 70% of the residential supply goes outdoors for irrigation, swimming pools, car washing, and more. Indoor activities consume the remaining percentage.

Arizona Water Sources

The state of Arizona gets its water from a robust network drawing from multiple sources. While a portion of the Arizona water supply comes from groundwater, more than 80% of the population relies on water from the Colorado River through projects such as CAP – Central Arizona Project. Arizonans also collect water from in-state rivers and reclaimed water.

Below is an overview of the primary water sources:

1. Surface Water

The surface water comes from lakes, rivers, and streams and is a major renewable resource. Arizona’s desert climate means the amount of surface water varies from season to season and over the years. The state has various storage reservoirs and delivery systems to make the most of available surface water. Notable rivers include those set in River Salt, Gila, Verde, and Agua Fria.

2. Colorado River Water

The Colorado River is the largest source of renewable water supply in Arizona, and the state is allowed to use 2.8 million acre-feet annually. Some AZ counties like La Paz and Yuma use Colorado River water. The CAP project also delivers Colorado River water to the Pima, Pinal, and Maricopa counties.

3. Groundwater

For many years, groundwater was the primary source of water in Arizona and many other regions. Groundwater is non-renewable, so the government passed laws in 1980 to improve management. The laws were also created to help reduce the state’s reliance on the resource. Arizona still gets a considerable portion of its water from groundwater found beneath the earth’s surface in natural aquifers.

4. Reclaimed Water

Arizona has seen an increase in the reclaimed water supply as the population grows. Reclaimed water is treated to a safe quality for agriculture, industrial cooling, wildlife areas maintenance, and parks.

Arizona Water Usage Over the Years

Despite the population growth, the state of Arizona uses less water today than in the past. According to ADWR, Arizona used about 7.1 million acre-feet of water back in the 1950s, a figure that is lower than the 7.0 million acre-feet recorded in 2017. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons of water, or the volume needed to cover one acre of land with water.

Water demand in Arizona has gone through fluctuations over the years. Today, the demand has leveled out, although the population has grown from about 1 million to 7 million within the last 50 years.

Summary

Arizona uses water from the Colorado River and groundwater but has seen increased reclaimed water supply and surface reservoirs. To remedy this issue, the government has various compacts and strategies in the area to help preserve enough water for future generations.

Water conservation and knowledge are both critical to the state’s wellbeing. About 20% of the water supply goes to municipal use while 70% goes to agriculture. Learn more about Arizona water resources and facts by contacting an Arizona water supply company.

Why Wastewater Treatment is Crucial in Our Society

Wastewater treatment is essential for maintaining proper balance throughout the world’s ecosystems. Wastewater contains toxic substances that harm wildlife and humans, including (and especially) aquatic life. This toxic water comes from a variety of sources, including sewage systems.

When organic matter enters a water source, like a river, aquatic lifeforms consume it as food. As the organic pollutants break down, the animals require more oxygen for the process. This leaves less oxygen in the water overall. When oxygen levels become dangerously low, animals in the water suffocate and die.

effluent-treatment-plant

Wastewater is toxic

Although some fish and other animals can break down toxins, toxic water is a serious risk to human health and is responsible for millions of deaths each year, mostly in developing nations.

Unclean water also causes diseases like cholera and schistosomiasis. Although these diseases generally occur in developing countries that don’t treat their wastewater, they can occur anywhere.

What is wastewater treatment? How does it work?

Wastewater treatment is the process of filtering contaminants out of water that has been previously used for another purpose. This process can occur both naturally and through manmade efforts.

Our ecosystem has a natural water treatment system that involves microorganisms that eat waste material, along with different layers of substrate and soil that filter the water as it absorbs into the earth. However, this process is too slow to efficiently filter the enormous amount of wastewater produced by humans. That’s where water treatment facilities come into play.

Water treatment plants are complex systems

What exactly happens at a wastewater treatment plant? While there are different methods, some of the systems use similar components. For example, the Four Rivers Sanitation Authority in Illinois treats wastewater by first pumping it to a higher elevation for gravity to pull the water through the first part of the treatment and filtering process.

The treatment process begins by filtering out the largest debris like plastic to prevent the pumps from becoming damaged. Debris that gets filtered out is then sent to a landfill.

Next, abrasive materials like sand and coffee grounds are filtered out of the wastewater. This grit is separated and sent to a landfill.

Settling tanks are then used to filter out fats, oils, and greases. These tanks also separate solids, most of which are sent to a separate processing facility. A small amount of solids are sent to the aeration tanks to maintain the proper environment required for microorganisms to devour the solids.

The water is then processed through a second set of settling tanks and is then disinfected with high-powered bleach. Sodium bisulfite is used to reduce the amount of chlorine in the water to make it less harmful to plant life when it’s discharged into the river.

What is in wastewater, exactly?

Since wastewater comes from human use, thousands of contaminants are present, although not all are present in every batch of water. In general, there are both inorganic and organic compounds found in wastewater.

sewage_sludge

Organic matter found in wastewater includes:

  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Oils
  • Greases
  • Synthetic compounds from detergents
  • Carbohydrates

Inorganic matter found in wastewater includes:

  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Nickel
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Sodium

Most of these contaminants come from industrial wastewater and aren’t easily broken down. When these inorganic compounds collect in water sources, they build up over time, making the water increasingly toxic to animals and humans.

Other matter found in wastewater includes:

  • Nutrients: High levels of nitrogen and phosphorous create “dead zones” by feeding large algae blooms. These blooms block sunlight, causing plants to die. Bacteria then proliferate by feeding on the dead plant matter.
  • Microorganisms: Harmful microorganisms include E. coli, parasites, and bacteria.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Pharmaceuticals enter wastewater through human waste and people flushing drugs down the toilet.

Wastewater treatment can help with water scarcity

There are many places across the world that experience droughts and water shortages on a regular basis. Without treating wastewater, drinking water sources become (and remain) contaminated. This includes rivers, lakes, and streams.

Treating wastewater in these areas would provide residents with a clean source of water to use for drinking, washing clothes, and bathing. After continually treating the wastewater, it would eventually bring the rivers, lakes, and streams back to a less-polluted state over a long period of time.

However, getting a treatment system set up takes money, time, and resources. The nations that need it the most can afford it the least. However, there are people and organizations working on solutions to this problem.

It’s not an overnight fix, but hopefully, one of those organizations will soon create a successful model that works for developing nations.