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Covington launches water heater promotion
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Covington electric and gas customers can now choose to take part in the city's new tankless water heater promotion, which will save them money over the long-run on energy bills.

Through the city, new and old Covington natural gas customers can take advantage of subsidized prices for Rinnai gas-fired tankless water heaters as well as a $200 rebate.

According to Bill Meecham, utility director for the city of Covington, the gas-fired tankless water heater is the most efficient method currently available to heat water in homes.

Through an agreement with the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia, of which Covington is a member, Rinnai, the principal manufacturer of natural gas units, has made available a municipal purchase program for tankless water heaters.

"We see that as something that can save our customers money on gas and on energy," Meecham said. "The net result is you're using less energy and you're paying less."

Unlike traditional water heaters, which are run 24-hours a day, the gas-fired tankless water heater is only used when the hot water is turned on thus conserving energy throughout the day.

"The advantage of it is, it only uses gas when the water is being used," Meecham said. "You turn the water off, this thing shuts off. It saves quite a bit of energy because it only runs when you need it to."

Another advantage of tankless water heaters are that they provide a constant supply of hot water.

Unlike traditional water heaters that can run out of hot water at times, especially after several hot showers or multiple loads of laundry, the tankless water heaters instantly heat water, Meecham said.

Mike Mihalick, regional manager for MGAG, said the authority decided to take part in the program because they see tankless water heaters as "the wave of the future."

"It's going to kind of take over," Mihalick predicted.

While the Rinnai units retail at $1,142, through the city of Covington's program, homeowners can purchase the water heaters for only $745.

They can also take advantage of the city's $200 rebate program, which brings the cost down further to $545.

Mihalick said homeowners should factor in an additional $100 for a plumbing installation kit.

Mihalick estimated the Rinnai units would pay for themselves over a period of two years in lower energy bills.

Mihalick estimated that a tankless water heater costs between $200 and $230 a year to operate compared to electric water heaters, which cost between $400 and $450 yearly to operate.

According to Meecham, tankless water heaters use approximately half as much energy as a typical gas water heater, which is also less expensive than an electric water heater.

"The advantage to us is, we feel it would make gas service attractive to people who don't have it," Meecham said. "We see it as a way to build a stronger customer base while at the same time offering the customers a break on their energy cost."

Meecham recommended the tankless water heaters for homeowners who plan on living in their homes for a while and will be able to take advantage of the cost savings over time.

The cost of installation will vary according to the construction of the home and the placement of utilities. For houses that are limited on space, there is also a tankless water heater that can be installed outside.

According to Meecham, one or two Covington gas customers already have the tankless water heaters installed.

Several builders are also having the water heaters installed in their new housing developments.

Homeowners wishing to take advantage of the tankless water heater promotion should contact city of Covington at (770) 385-2027 and ask for Stacy Walden. For more information on the Rinnai water heater visit