Not being able to take a hot shower may seem like the least of your problems during a power outage, but having hot water is a necessity. Keeping your food cold and the house warm probably seem more important. While that is true, you shouldn’t discount the importance of hot water.
When you are washing dishes, for instance, it is important that the water be hot enough to help kill bacteria along with the dish soap. And your appliances like your washing machine also need the water hot. Not to mention that taking a shower in cold water is not ideal.
If your electricity is out for a few days or more, then you’ll have to find a way to keep getting hot water.
In this article, I will go over several ways that you can make sure that you always have some hot water even when you lose power.
What type of water heater do you have?
The type of water heater that you have is going to determine how long you have hot water for. Some are gas, some are electric and some are even the tankless kind.
If you have a conventional gas water heater, you may be totally fine no matter how long the electricity is out for. That is, as long as the pilot light is gas. Many new models use an electric starter that is connected to your main power supply so you aren’t using gas to keep the pilot lit. If your pilot is gas then you’re fine. If it is electric then your water will stay hot in the tank for up to a day.
An electric conventional water heater will also keep your water hot for up to a day depending on the capacity, but you won’t get any hot water after it runs out. You’ll need a generator to provide electricity to keep the water heater running. For example, if you live in California, make sure that you have CARB compliance for generators as it needs to comply with some strict regulations regarding air quality.
Lastly, a tankless water heater will also need an outside energy source. Luckily, there are batteries and portable power stations that can be used that are specifically designed for use with gas and electric tankless water heaters so you don’t need a gas generator to operate them.
Those batteries can be used up to 40 minutes per day for up to seven days on a charge so if you turn down your temperature on the tankless heater and shut off any recirculating pump, then you can make sure that you have enough hot water for the duration of the outage.
Keep it hot for longer
If you feel that you will only lack electricity for a few hours, or you don’t have a generator to keep the heaters working, then you’ll need to keep the water hot for as long as possible.
The first thing to consider is what you need hot water for and then use it right away as soon as the power is out while the water is still hot. But, to make sure that it lasts longer than the first few hours, you can be more proactive than that.
You should have a wrap to put around your conventional water heater anyway as it helps to keep the heat from dissipating away from the heater. These blankets come in very handy when your electricity is out as it can give you warm water for at least a couple of hours longer than if you didn’t have them.
Have a solar water heater
Obviously, if you are in the middle of an outage it is too late to install a solar water heater. But, if outages are frequent or you live in a hurricane zone, then thinking ahead and installing one is a great idea.
If you have sunny days during the outage, then you can enjoy hot water for the duration. When it isn’t sunny, then you will have hot water for a while, just as if you are using a water heater. But, the advantage is that as soon as the sun is out again, your hot water returns. Unlike a conventional water heater that is out until power is restored.
It does depend on the type of solar heater, however. Some use a tank that is filled with water heated by the sun but requires a pump to get the water.