Water heating is a necessity that many don’t consider when calculating their overall energy bill. As we all love a hot shower at the beginning or end of a day, we may not put too much thought into the high-energy consumption that comes with it.
A drain water heat recovery is worth it if you are interested in saving money on energy costs and extending the overall lifespan of your water heater. Studies show that a drain water heat recovery system can save you up to 25% of your water heater’s energy bill and extend the lifespan of your water heater by up to five years.
This guide will fill you in on all of the benefits of having a drain water heat recovery installed. I myself have a drain water heat recovery installed and it didn’t take long for the savings to start piling up! Let’s start with the basics and go over what exactly a drain water heat recovery is and how it works.
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What Is Drain Water Heat Recovery?
A drain water heat recovery system is a type of energy-saving plumbing installation that uses residual heat to warm water rather than using your water heater. This type of system uses two different types of pipes, copper, and coil.
These two different pipes use heat transference to bounce existing heat back and forth between the pipes to warm passing water. This reduces the overall workload of your water heater by ensuring that the water is warmed before it reaches it.
This system is extremely helpful for reducing your water heater’s energy consumption, in most cases up to 25%. This can lower the power bills for your whole house, as the water heater is said to account for up to 20% of your home’s energy consumption.
Not only are drain water heat recovery systems great for saving money, but they are also compatible with almost any water heater that you may own. This includes most electric, gas, and tankless water heaters.
There are two main types of water heat recovery systems that are available. We will cover these two systems in the sections below.
Horizontal Water Heat Recovery
Horizontal water heat recovery systems are most commonly found in homes with multiple showers and drain stacks. This is a more efficient option to consider for these types of situations rather than installing multiple vertical shower drain heat recovery systems for each shower.
Using a horizontal water heat recovery system, all of the water draining from each of your showers and drains is filtered to one unit that runs horizontally in your floors or walls. Horizontal water heat recovery systems are the most practical, especially if you live in a home with other people.
This system works by allowing the drain water to flow to the lower sections of the pipe and sacrifices some of the surface areas for heat transfer in the process. That being said, it is still more than efficient enough to lower the energy consumption of your water heater.
Shower Drain Heat Recovery
Shower drain heat recovery systems, also known as vertical drain heat recovery, are most common in houses with only one shower. They work with the home’s vertical drain stacks and are often incentivized by utility services to encourage installation.
A shower drain heat recovery system works by allowing the water to fall down the shower drain vertically and cling to the sides of the pipes and absorbing the residual heat. A shower drain heat recovery has a much larger surface area for heating water than a horizontal recovery.
Of course, a shower drain heat recovery will not be able to warm up multiple showers or drainage systems. For homes with multiple showers and drainage systems, a horizontal drain heat recovery is more appropriate.
Drain Water Heat Recovery Efficiency
Drain water heat recovery systems are extremely efficient and will directly benefit you in several ways after you install one. The cutting-edge technology used in these systems mainly benefits energy consumption, which will wind up saving you a ton of money in the long run.
After I installed my own drain water heat recovery system, in as little as one year, I was already seeing the savings pile up. It is estimated that at least 20% of a home’s overall power bill consists of charges due to the hot water heater.
Using a water heater recovery system can reduce this cost significantly. You will be able to see these savings tangibly on your bill after about a year of using one. Once the saving begins, you will continue to enjoy a reduced energy bill for the entire time you live in the home.
A drain water heat recovery system will also make your water hotter much faster. Since the water is pre-heated before it reaches your water heater, it will take much less time for your water heater to get the water to reach the right temperature.
This means that your water heater will wind up doing much less work than it normally would, ultimately leading to a much longer lifespan. Water heaters can be extremely expensive to replace, so the longer you can go without doing it, the better.
Another highly efficient aspect of a drain water heat recovery system is the fact that they require almost no maintenance. Since the pipes are made of copper, they can last for several decades in most cases. There are also no parts that will need to be repaired or replaced involved in the installation.
Overall, drain water heat recovery systems are highly efficient at saving you both time spend waiting for hot water and money over time. You may be wondering how much it costs to install one of these systems. We will cover this in the final section of our guide.
How Much Does A Drain Water Heat Recovery Cost?
It costs anywhere between $300 to $500 to have a drain water heat recovery system installed by a professional. This price includes all of the parts and labor associated with the installation. Of course, the price of your installation may vary based on the company you choose to install it and their rates.
Installation typically takes around two hours, so it can be done in as little as one morning or afternoon. One thing you should make sure of is that you hire a reputable company to do your installation. This is not something that you should attempt to do yourself.
While the installation process is not too complex for a trained professional, it is unlikely that the average person has the know-how to properly accomplish the installation. You should shop around to get the best deal on your installation if getting the lowest price is important to you.
We hope this guide has proved helpful in explaining all of the details regarding drain water heat recovery systems. You now know all of the benefits and different types of systems that are appropriate for your particular home and drain settings.
I have been enjoying my drain water heat recovery system for some time now and find that it was one of the best decisions that I have made regarding my home. You can expect to see savings on your energy bill after the one-year mark.
Nick Lopresti is the founder of YourH2Home and a home improvement expert. He has years of experience writing about various home improvement topics, mostly as it pertains to water systems.