I was going over our electricity usage for the last year to do some analysis since I'm always trying to see if solar panels are in our future - they are not (more about that some other time). One thing that came out of this exercise was in thinking about ways to further reduce how much electricity we use.
Since our electricity rates are so cheap in Washington State, it's easy to ignore how many KWH we use each month. But if we want to replace those same KWH with solar, it's not so pretty. In fact, it's almost laughable. We have, over the winter months, relied on space heaters instead of our oil furnace, mostly because it's cheaper. But, there again, this increases our electricity usage.
There are two appliances that we can replace that are not at all energy efficient - our dishwasher and our hot water heater. (No, Greenpa, we're not going to address the fridge in this post.)
Of course, only running a full load of dishes and opting for air dry reduces our energy load, but I'm sure we could do better with an actual energy efficient model. And, the one we have sounds like it's about to die. When we moved in 5 years ago, the previous owners had installed a new dishwasher, but it was a cheapo thing and it's never been good at actually washing dishes.
Our hot water heater has been on its last legs for a long time. Plus, I'm afraid to admit that we don't have a hot water binky for it either. Since we were always planning on replacing the water heater, we never got around to the binky. I've looked into on-demand hot water heaters and they aren't very efficient if you electricity (versus natural gas) and our energy consultant at work was telling me the other day that it's coming out that the on-demand water heaters are more efficient if you have a lot of people in the house and are constantly running hot water. Otherwise, the numbers coming in show that on-demand water heaters are less energy efficient that ye olde water heaters.
So, my question for you good people out there... do you have any recommendations for super energy efficient dishwashers? What about hot water heaters? Anyone have a heat pump hot water heater? And, no, I'm not interested in the $8,000 price tag to get solar hot water, thankyouverymuch.
Image shown is a Rheem Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater from WA Energy Services