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Comfy Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. Blog

How Your Water Heater Affects Your Air Conditioner


Your water heater isn’t heating your home, so how could it even impact your air conditioner in the first place? As funny as it is, your water heater can actually benefit from your air conditioner.

When your air conditioner “creates” cold air, it produces heat as a byproduct. All that heat goes to waste, so you’re getting what you want (being cold air), but also wasting all that heat in the process.

Even if you don’t utilize that excess heat, your water heater and air conditioner can still impact one another.

So, does your water heater affect the air conditioner? Yes, but not in the way you were probably thinking when you stumbled upon this article. Let’s explain.

You Could Have an ACWH

ACWH stands for air conditioner water heater. It sounds like an amalgamation like Frankenstein’s monster, but it’s actually very practical.

The coil that traps heat from the air conditioner can be used in conjunction with your water heater. That heat helps keep your water hot, reducing the amount of electrical pull that your water heater needs to make.

It will achieve temperatures faster and draw less energy, reducing your electricity spend. It’s a roundabout way to utilize heat runoff from your AC.

However, it’s Very Uncommon

It would be great to think of your air conditioner as the only water heater you ever need, but it doesn’t generate enough heat to continuously supply your water heater.

Your air conditioner typically runs for 15-20 minutes on average (if it’s in proper working condition), cools your home, and then it shuts back down.

That typical cycle isn’t going to generate enough heat for your water heater to run entirely. It’s supplementary.

When your water heater turns on, the sensors that tell your anode rod to heat the water are concerned with one thing: the current temperature. It pulls electricity, heats the water, then stops heating once the tank reaches the desired temperature.

If the coil from your AC is already providing intermittent levels of heat to the tank, it doesn’t have to run for as much time. As long as the sensor detects your heat and runs as it’s supposed to, it reduces the amount of time your water heater has to run.

There’s Also the Problem of Increased Electricity Pull

Both of these home systems use electricity. They can both pull electricity at the same time, and when you’re also operating the oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, washer, dryer, computer (you can see where we’re going with this), it’s a lot of strain on your home’s electrical panel.

If it can handle the capacity, that’s great, but a lot of older homes have outdated wiring and older electrical panels that may not support everything at once. It’s something you have to keep an eye on.

It’s a Little Backwards, But it Works

Your air conditioner can heat water. At least somewhat. Even if you don’t have an ACWH in your home, the impact of both your air conditioner and water heater using electricity at the same time is something you should be aware of as a homeowner.

Contact Comfy Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. today to schedule maintenance for both your HVAC system and water heater so you can stay on top of your home comfort.

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