FAQs

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FAQs

What fuel sources do water heaters run on?
Electric, gas (natural or propane), and oil. renewable energy sources, such as solar are also available.

How much do water heaters costs?
This depends on what type you buy, however an electric water heater will cost between $500-$1,000 for the heater itself, and $450-$500 annually for the average home each year in energy costs.

What is the life span of a water heater?
Today’s electric water heaters can last 10-12 years or more.

What rebates are available?
Visit Efficiency One's website for the most up-to-date rebates available for residential water heating.

How can I determine what water heater is right for me?
Not only should you consider the capital cost of a water heater, but the installation and operational costs as well. Additionally you’ll need to consider space and venting requirements, as well as the water needs of your home to determine the size of the tank you’ll need. We recommend reaching out to one of our water heater dealers for professional advice on which water heater is right for you.

What is an electric tankless (on-demand) water heater?
Tankless water heaters work in a similar manner to electric storage heaters, except there is no storage tank. As soon as the hot water tap is turned on, the tankless heater engages and instantaneously heats the water being pumped through it. On-demand water heaters are also called instantaneous water heaters.

What are the advantages of tankless water heaters?

There is no storage tank to run dry, as the tankless heater will provide water for as long as it is turned on. Because there is no hot water sitting dormant in a storage tank, standby losses are virtually eliminated. These may be more suitable for seasonal residences where hot water storage is not as large a concern as it may be in a full time home.

What are the disadvantages of tankless water heaters?
The heaters must be carefully sized to be able to accommodate the showers, sinks, dishwashers, and laundry machines in the home, which may or may not all be running at the same time. One challenge is the massive amount of current required for a tankless heater that can accommodate the hot water demand of a family of four.
For a 6 gallon per minute (gpm) tankless heater, which is enough to handle a laundry machine and 1-2 showers simultaneously, 160 amps of current is required, where an electric water heater typically draws 15-20 amps. When taking into account the fact that the average household has an electric service of 200 amps, having 80% of the homes available electric capacity simply on the hot water has potential to become problematic. The installation of a tankless heater may require an electrical upgrade.

What is a heat pump water heater?
Heat pump water heaters are able to absorb heat from the air and transfer it into a water storage tank. Heat pump water heaters can provide the same amount of hot water as a standard electric resistance heater while consuming 50%-70% less energy. These are great for homes that are looking to improve their EnerGuide rating HP Water Heaters can be either a single unit with compressor attached or split systems. The split systems have their compressor outdoors (Sanden Units). The self contained units have their compressor attached to the indoor unit and draw from the inside air unless they install ducting to draw from outside.

What is the best installation for a heat pump water heater?
If you install this type of system, it should be installed with outside ducting or an outside compressor. This compressor will use the heat in the air outside and transfer it to heat the water inside the water heater. If you do not use an outside compressor the unit could use the heat from inside your home to heat the water, which could lead to higher heating bills.

What are the advantages of heat pump water heater?
Heat pump water heater have approximately twice the efficiency of a standard electric heater. Heat pump water heater systems typically have higher initial costs than conventional storage water heaters, however they have lower operating costs which can offset their higher purchase and installation prices.

Is my home suitable for solar hot water?
A home energy evaluation is a good first step in determining if a solar hot water system is your best current option to conserve energy in your home. Visit Efficiency One's website for more information. If you're considering building a new home, you can make cost-effective upgrades when choosing your designs that will make your home Solar Ready.  To learn more about making your new home Solar Ready, talk to your builder.

How much do solar hot water systems cost?
The cost of your system will depend on how much water you need to heat, which in turn impacts the size of your system, such as the number of solar panels and size of your water tank. The cost of purchasing and installing a typical system can range from $6,000-$10,000.

NS Power does not sell or install solar hot water systems. The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) is currently the certifying body for solar hot water system installers in Canada. For a listing of Nova Scotia-based certified installers, visit the CanSIA website.

How do I know if my water heater is not working properly?
The recovery time (the time it takes for the water to heat up after a heavy use) may be significantly reduced. A malfunctioning element in your water heater can also cause your power usage to increase.

Should I wrap my new electric water heater?
Efficiency Nova Scotia still offers wrapping for hot water tanks as it reduces standby losses. Having said that, newer tanks are much better insulated and may not need to be wrapped, but it could still be beneficial. You should check your warranty to ensure that wrapping your water heater does not void the warranty. Check out the link to Efficiency NS website regarding wrapping water heaters: Efficiency NS

What is the best size of water heater if you are on Time of day rates?
A 60 gallon tank is standard for TOD applications, as it lessens the amount of charge time during the shoulder period, helping keep costs lower.

What size hot water heater is good for one person?
We would recommend 40 gallons. The smaller ones (20-30 gallons) often cost the same or more and they may not be insulated as well.

How often do electric water heaters need to be maintained? 
One of the big benefits of electric water heaters is that there is very little maintenance required unlike a fossil fuel system. Simple routine checks of your water heater will ensure that there are no leaks around fittings or bottom of tank. Check with your insurance company as they may offer a leak detection program.
Maintenance performed by a plumber may consist of a visual check, voltage check of elements and possibly a flushing of the tank. Consult a certified plumber if you think your water heater needs to be repaired.

What are some safety measures one can take?
Since most domestic hot water tanks come factory-set at 60 degrees Celsius, there is a risk of scalding. To prevent/minimize this risk follow these tips:
• Never leave a child alone while filling a bathtub with water, and always check the water temperature before putting your child in the water.
• Practice turning the cold water on first, then add hot water until the temperature is comfortable and test the water temperature before bathing or showering.
• Educate your children to turn the cold water on first, and the hot water off first.
If the water coming from your tap is too hot, you can install valves in the plumbing lines that will reduce the temperature of the water delivered at the tap by mixing in cooler water. Alternatively you can install anti-scald devices at individual taps which slow the water to a trickle if it gets too hot.
If you are in a home with small children or elderly occupants, it may be appropriate to turn down the temperature of the hot water tank. If you choose to do this, the Canada Safety Council recommends a temperature no lower than 54 degrees Celsius. Hot water temperatures below 50 degrees Celsius may increase the risk of Legionnaires’ disease, which is a form of pneumonia, caused by bacterial growth in the tank. The disease is caused by Legionella bacteria, which live in water.
Source: Canada Safety Council