Homage to the Ultra High Efficiency Water Heater

The Ultra High Efficiency Water Heater Really Is Ultra Efficient

As a plumber, I run across a wide variety of products and plumbing systems. I find myself curious and interested in new technology my industry comes up with, but very rarely am I impressed. I mean, truly honest-to-goodness wowed. One product that I am impressed with is the ultra high efficiency water heater (a.k.a. gas condensing water heater). These babies are real work horses!

Typical Water Heater Workings

To understand why I am so impressed, you need to know how a typical tank type gas water heater works. Basically, it has what looks like an extra large stove burner under a tank with a flue pipe for gas. Inside this flue pipe is a wavy sheet of steel called the baffle. The baffle slows down the escaping hot gas just enough so that heat can be transferred to the water. This design is very inefficient. As it leaves the water heater, the gas still contains so much heat that we have to install double-walled metal flue pipe if it is close to anything combustible, otherwise it will start a fire. So much money is spent to heat that water, and then most of the heat is lost out the top.

The Ultra High Efficiency Water Heater Difference

So what is the difference with an ultra high efficiency water heater? They look similar to regular water heaters, but these things might as well not even be from the same planet. Firstly, the burner sits on top and the flame is less like a stove and more like a jet engine. Then there is a fan that pushes the heat down through a central pipe spiraling down through the inside of the tank, which allows time for the heat to transfer into the water. In fact, 96% of the heat from the flames transfers to the water. Cue the term “ultra high-efficiency”. (Not to be confused with what are sometimes labeled as “high-efficiency” conventional types. Those are only 8% more efficient than the older, regular models.)

Remember the double-walled metal flue pipe the other water heater needed so it did not burn down your house? Well, this thing pulls out so much heat that that flue pipe is made of plastic. It’s plastic and it doesn’t melt. But wait! That’s not all! When you fire this up, it heats 50 gallons of cold water to 120 degrees in about 15 minutes. So what is the big deal with that? Let me tell you!

Tankless vs. Ultra High Efficiency Water Heaters

Right now, there is a big movement to go to tankless (which, by the way, is a great invention and a huge improvement over conventional), but there are sometimes issues with tankless water heaters—unexpected issues that can require you to change your lifestyle in order to accommodate the tankless’ gallons-per-minute limitation. That is, with a tankless, you have endless sequential hot water, but you can’t have a large quantity at once. Ultra high efficiency water heaters heat water so quickly that it’s almost like having a tankless, but without those limits. It’s the best of both worlds, really: virtually endless hot water, and as much of it as you want.

Cost and Energy Savings

On top of that, the cash you save on energy bills is quite substantial compared to the cost of using a traditional tank. It is estimated that the savings over the lifetime of an ultra high efficiency water heater is in the $2,550 range, which would help cover the extra cost of installing this amazing piece of equipment, while you reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.

For all of these reasons, installing these types of water heaters is something that makes us feel proud of our work at Goodman Plumbing, knowing that we are helping to make a difference one ultra high efficiency water heater at a time!

If you’d like to read a little more about different types of water heaters, we have pages dedicated to each kind. Click here for a summary of water heater comparisons, conventional water heaters, tankless water heaters, ultra high efficiency water heaters, heat pump water heaters, or commercial water heaters. Let us know if you have any questions about anything regarding water heaters or how you can make your Asheville plumbing more water or energy efficient—we’d love to help you find a solution that is perfect for your needs.

When you need a good man for the job, call Goodman Plumbing828-774-7076