• Max Diamond

Bath or Shower Without Hot Water?

For most of us today, we take going into the kitchen or the bathroom to wash our hands for granted, but where did it come from?

If you own your home, you probably know where the hot water heater is. A water heater is usually tucked away in a utility room, the basement, or even the garage; water heaters are the workhorses of the home, essential for doing dishes, washing clothes, and bathing. It's no wonder that water heaters are among the top three energy consumers in a home, accounting for 18% of the average home's energy usage. Hot water is indispensable to our daily lives. The average American home uses 80-120 gallons of hot water a day, costing $267 annually on average. Hot water kills germs and bacteria on dishes, laundry, and surfaces. Many homes are heated by hot water or steam heat. And imagine never having a hot shower again!

So who invented this very needed crazy contraption? Was it the Vikings? I can't say, but I can say it was a Norwegian, and the name is still out there today. The inventor of the modern-day water heater was Edwin Ruud, a Norwegian mechanical engineer working in Philadelphia. While we take hot water for granted today, it was a luxury throughout most human history. The ancient Romans were hot water "pioneers" who built large public baths that tapped into natural hot springs. But in other times and places, people boiled a pot of water over a fire or on a stove to take their baths and wash their laundry.

In 1889, Rudd designed "the first automatic, storage-tank type gas water heater." Ruud founded a company with several other engineers and patented the invention in 1897. Rudd promised instant hot water coming out of the faucet that would be very safe and fueled by gas. Today, there are becoming many forms of Hot Water heaters, such as tankless water heaters, hybrid

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or heat pump water heaters have also become popular, and now there are solar water heaters. So how will Americans get into hot water in the future? Geothermal heating is among the most efficient sources of hot water since it taps the naturally occurring heat in the earth. Volcanic Iceland relies almost entirely on geothermal energy, but 71 additional countries use geothermal heat, including China, Japan, France, Italy, New Zealand, and America.

So now you know. Don't forget to ask your Handyman what he might suggest? Maybe it's time to upgrade.

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