A hot topic: water-heater rebates

Hot Water


For many years now, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative members have received assistance from our energy conservation advisor. This employee possesses a broad understanding of what constitutes the wise use of electricity in a residence. Oftentimes, his personal, up-close look at a homestead will reveal steps a family could take to reduce their kilowatt-hour consumption.

One particular appliance that regularly attracts his scrutiny is the electric water heater. This wonderful unit is able to supply instant and abundant hot water to a home’s occupants. When it’s working properly, it’s truly a blessing.

Dangerous fumes

A British painter, Benjamin Waddy Maughan, is credited with patenting the first residential water heater in 1868. His invention used natural gas to heat the H2O, but it didn’t have a flue for the ventilation of the gas vapors. Consequently, the device was unsafe for household use. Later refinements added safety features such as a flue that could evacuate the dangerous fumes. However, even today, either a gas or propane water heater must be installed adjacent to an outside wall, so that the gas vapors can be released into the outer air.

During the last 30 years or so, electric water heaters have really come into their own. The fact that an electric model can be located anywhere within a home’s interior represents a genuine advantage. In addition, it operates at a higher level of energy efficiency than its fossil-fuel counterparts. On top of that, manufacturers of electric water heaters are finding ways to make them even more efficient.

Cash incentive

Water heaters are durable, but they don’t last forever. After a good many years, they’ll pass their prime, and their efficiency begins to decline. That’s where the discerning eye of the cooperative’s energy conservation advisor can ride to the rescue. He can usually tell when a water heater is on its last legs, and he has a nice cash incentive he can then share with the member: Blue Ridge offers a $200 to $300 rebate toward the replacement of the old unit. In the last six years, nearly 2,900 co-op members have availed themselves of this rebate. Also, for members converting from a natural gas or propane water heater to an electric model, the rebate is either $500 or $600.

Whether or not our energy conservation advisor has visited your dwelling, you might have already realized that it’s time to change out your existing hot-water source. I encourage you to contact us at Blue Ridge or click here to read more about our rebate program.  It’s a simple process.


Jim Lovinggood

President CEO