Electric water heaters are the second most common, the least expensive to buy, the easiest to install, and have efficiency ratings of 90% and higher. So you may ask, “what’s the problem?” For an explanation, here is an excerpt from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
More U.S. households use natural gas to heat water than any other fuel source, and about 40% use electricity. A small percentage use propane or heating oil. Typical water heaters in the U.S. are electric resistance or atmospheric natural gas tank water heaters. Electric water heaters typically have Energy Factors (efficiency ratings) of about 0.9, while gas ones will be rated about 0.6.
The energy factor is based on site energy use, which is the amount of energy your water heater uses. However, it takes about three times as much source energy (this includes the energy needed to generate and distribute a fuel) to deliver a unit of electricity to the site as gas, since only about 1/3 of the fuel energy that enters the power plant reaches the house. The rest is lost due to inefficiency at the power plant and the power lines. Therefore, an electric water heater that appears to be 50% “better” than a gas one (0.9 Energy Factor versus 0.6 Energy Factor) actually uses much more source energy than the average gas water heater.
Some power plants are still coal fired which aren’t exactly as clean as natural gas or oil. When source energy is considered, Electric Resistance water heaters are only about half as efficient as gas and oil fired water heaters. These water heaters are used every day in all sorts of climates. If “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is being caused by mankind’s inefficient energy use and pollution, why not be consistent and ban them like incandescent light bulbs?
There have been too many useful products that have been phased out already because of politically motivated science. With the incandescent bulb, any energy that is not used as light winds up as heat. This is good inside a home in winter but not so good for stage lighting. Let people decide for themselves based on their own needs or wants and not on junk science.
Am I complaining? No! So does the common electric water waste more energy than the common lightbulb? My guess would be Yes. Don’t tell the powers that be because they create enough mischief on their own.