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Money down the drain? Catch it!

February 3, 2007

Fact: water heating is the second biggest energy load in homes (behind space heating). Showers are by far the biggest use of hot water in the home, so the logical conclusion is that showers are the most energy-intensive use of hot water in the home.

Here’s something to think about: what happens to all the heat energy you’ve paid dearly to put into you water after you shower? It goes down the drain. That is literally money/energy down the drain. What if you could catch it, reclaim it? You can, with a drainwater heat recovery (DWHR) unit. They need to be in every home and business, but people simply don’t know about them yet. The Sustainapedia is all about sharing knowledge, so now you’re going to know!

First, some transparency: I do some freelance work for RenewABILITY Energy Inc. of Waterloo, Ontario, who designs, manufactures, and sells 2nd generation DWHR units. I also sell them on a personal basis. Furthermore, I want to work for RenewABILITY full-time. So I have a vested interest in drainwater heat recovery, but RewewABILITY isn’t the only company in the market – the information below applies to DWHR equally, not just RenewABILITY’s Power-Pipe. Having any DWHR unit is better than not having one at all.

What a DWHR unit does is recover the heat energy in your drainwater. When you shower, 90% of the heat energy in the water runs down the drain and out to the sewer. That’s a lot of wasted energy! Wasted energy that you could put to very good use, too.

A DWHR unit will reclaim a large portion of this energy and re-use it within your water heating system. The net result? In a typical home you can save 25-40% off your water heating costs. You reduce the amount of energy needed (and thereby emissions produced) to give you your hot shower. What’s more, having a DWHR unit can triple your hot water capacity. In a typical two-person household, a DWHR unit will pay for itself in about 5 years. The more people you have showering on a daily basis, the sooner it will pay for itself.

So you want one, right? Here is how to get one. If you would like to simply purchase one outright, you can contact me (if you’re in Waterloo Region), or RenewABILITY Energy to buy one. If the up-front cost is a problem for you, both Ozz Energy and Reliance Home Comfort have rental programs starting up.

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