Are there efficient water heaters that will work when the power goes out?

Asked by Ann
Bethesda, MD

Last winter we lost power for 4 days but had hot water from an ancient gas water heater (i.e., no electric starter), which made the situation bearable (along with borrowed firewood from our neighbor!). We are planning to replace this falling-apart house with a modular, very green replacement. Is there a water heater that is efficient and morally upstanding, but will work when the power goes out again? (Our power goes out in summer and winter.) Or is the real answer to build in an emergency generator that taps into the gas line so we don't have to worry about fuel?


Scott Johnson

Answered by Scott Johnson

Lake Elsinore, CA

AVO Power

December 20, 2010

Efficient, no standby loss, no power requirements, and small footprint --

Installing a standby generator is a great idea and solves other problems that occur during long power outages. Fridge, freezer... Xbox... Much greater cost of installation, however.

Obviously a possible answer would be to install an efficient tankless water heater to cut daily operating costs, and include a standby generator for the too-frequent power outages -- providing the budget is there.

Don't overlook solar water as a preheat for any conventional water heater system!

And lastly, look into rebates and tax incentives for anything you do, as it will certainly bring overall costs down.

Tagged In: tankless, solar water heater

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