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Home Energy January February 2014 : Page 3

LETTERS 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702 (510)524-5405 contact@homeenergy.org www.homeenergy.org ________________ BACKDRAFTING DANGERS In regard to “Backdrafting Appliances: Causes and Fixes,” (Sept/Oct ’13, web only). Why not just eliminate the problem [of backdrafting gas water heaters]? There are alternative water heating technologies. A regular electric water heater has no emissions. A heat pump water heater is an even better choice because it is cheaper to operate than the gas water heater. I am puzzled why this was not even discussed. Glenn Langan via the web Senior Executive Editor Executive Editor Editor Assistant Editor Design & Production Manager Design Associate Technical Editors Alan Meier Iain Walker Jim Gunshinan Macie Melendez Kate Henke Leanne Maxwell Marcus Bianchi Steve Greenberg Courtney Moriarta Chris Stratton Contributing Editor Steve Mann Copyeditor Irene Elmer Writers This Issue Pamela Androff. Peter du Pont, Dean Gamble, Mary James, Steve Mann, Brian Toll, Allison Turner, Daran Wastchak, Larry Weingarten Publisher Office & Advertising Manager Fulfillment Manager Controller Sales & Marketing Associate O ffice Assistant Pro bono Legal Services Tom White Maggie Forti Alana Shindler Jan Elkington Michael Goldstein Brijauanae Bandy Nixon Peabody LLP, Attorneys at Law Author Larry Armanda replies: Glenn, I completely agree with your comments. However, homeowners don't always understand the issues and, faced with the high cost of some of these solutions, they usually won’t spend the extra money. Educating the homeowner and contractors about backdrafting dangers is very important. Advertising Home Energy requires all advertisers to provide documentation to support any claims of product effi ciency and performance contained in ads. We welcome companies involved in residential conservation to join this select group. It includes manufacturers of conservation materials, tools, instrumentation, computer software, and effi cient appliances, and providers of technical services, training, and labor. For advertising rates, contact: Maggie Forti, Tel: (510)524-5405 ext. 111, e-mail: mmforti@homeenergy.org. Home Energy is published by Energy Auditor & Retrofi tter, Incorporated President, Alan Meier Executive Director, Tom White Board of Directors Francis Babineau David Canny Robert Knight Joseph Kuonen Maureen Mahle Alan Meier Bill Parlapiano III Iain Walker Marcus Bianchi David Brown Chris Dorsi Laurel Elam Doug Garrett Theresa Gilbride Ron Judkoff Rick Karg Courtney Moriarta Patricia Plympton John Porterfi eld A. Tamasin Sterner Greg Thomas Linda Wigington Edward Wyatt Larry Zarker Johns Manville Pacifi c Gas & Electric Bevilacqua-Knight, Incorporated CLEAResult Steven Winter Associates Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Energy Response Corps Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory PURE ENERGY COACH Editorial Advisory Board Owens Corning Inspector Tools Habitat X RESNET Building Performance & Comfort, Inc. Pacifi c Northwest National Laboratory National Renewable Energy Laboratory Residential Energy Dynamics, LLC SRA International Navigant eZing, Inc. Pure Energy Coach, LLC Performance Systems Development Linda M. Wigington Associates Energy & Materials Consultant Building Performance Institute An example of a gas water heater commonly vented to the chimney. Editorial Advisory Board Member Ron Judkoff replies: In response to Glenn, electric heat pump water heaters are not less expensive to operate than gas water heaters. Heat pump water heaters are always a good choice for replacing electric water heaters; however, they are rarely a good choice for replacing gas water heaters on a source energy or carbon emissions basis. This is because the site-to-source multiplier for gas is about 1.05, while the site-to-source multiplier for electricity generated by thermal power plants is about 3.5. Additionally in cold climates, the heat pump water heater uses heat from the house that must be made up for by the home’s heating system. Home Energy (ISSN 0896-9442) is a bimonthly publication of Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702. EA&R is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the dissemination of objective information on residential energy conservation. Yearly subscription rate: $85 for six issues. Canada and other foreign countries U.S. $100, payable by U.S. money order only. Subscribe on our web site at www.homeenergy. org. 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LETTERS

BACKDRAFTING DANGERS
In regard to “Backdrafting Appliances: Causes and Fixes,” (Sept/Oct ’13, web only). Why not just eliminate the problem [of backdrafting gas water heaters]? There are alternative water heating technologies. A regular electric water heater has no emissions. A heat pump water heater is an even better choice because it is cheaper to operate than the gas water heater. I am puzzled why this was not even discussed.
Glenn Langan
via the web

Author Larry Armanda replies:
Glenn, I completely agree with your comments. However, homeowners don't always understand the issues and, faced with the high cost of some of these solutions, they usually won’t spend the extra money. Educating the homeowner and contractors about backdrafting dangers is very important.

Editorial Advisory Board Member Ron Judkoffreplies:
In response to Glenn, electric heat pump water heaters are not less expensive to operate than gas water heaters. Heat pump water heaters are always a good choice for replacing electric water heaters; however, they are rarely a good choice for replacing gas water heaters on a source energy or carbon emissions basis. This is because the site-to-source multiplier for gas is about 1.05, while the site-to-source multiplier for electricity generated by thermal power plants is about 3.5. Additionally in cold climates, the heat pump water heater uses heat from the house that must be made up for by the home’s heating system.

Read the full article at http://omagdigital.com/article/LETTERS/1582745/187857/article.html.

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