How Much Energy Does a Water Heater Use?

Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use plenty of hot water. Believe it or not, the Department of Energy states that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for about 18% of your monthly bill. Find out more about how much energy a typical water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.

How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?

The total cost to run an electric water heater is determined by the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay for electricity. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 4500 watts and is active for two hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to operate per day, which comes to $35 monthly or $426 per year.

How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Need?

If your water heater runs on natural gas, you have to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay for natural gas. For example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for a couple of hours each day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 per month or $226 annually.

Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs

As you can conclude from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to use than similar electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than electric prices. Fine-tune the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to build a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater costs.

Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills

Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can trim your utility costs with these money-saving tips.

Revise Your Hot Water Habits

Remember that each time you turn on a hot water faucet, you have to pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to help with energy bills. Here’s how:

  • Take quicker showers. 
  • Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. 
  • Minimize pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
  • Clean your clothes in cold water as much as possible.

Repair Plumbing Leaks

Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant amounts of hot water. For instance, one drip per second wastes over 1,600 gallons each year. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you discover them.

Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads

Modern rules require new showerheads to consume 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) or less while kitchen faucets are limited to 2.2 gpm. A new set of bathroom faucets must have flow rates below 1.5 gpm.

You can buy quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for about $10 to $20 each, resulting in approximately 60% savings on water use. Search for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize efficiency without negatively influencing performance.

Turn Down the Water Heater Temperature

The standard setting is 140 degrees. Lower this to 120 degrees to save on water heating costs and lower the chance of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to avoid microbial growth in the tank.

If your water heater doesn’t include a temperature readout, determine the setting with a thermometer at the bathroom or kitchen tap. Adjust the water heater’s dial, wait two hours and measure the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer shows 120 degrees.

Add Insulation

Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulated jackets available at home improvement stores. Be careful to install the jacket correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you're not sure how to proceed, ask a professional for help. Once the tank is insulated, add insulation to your hot and cold pipes coming from the water heater to help things heat up faster at the tap.

Buy More Efficient Equipment

If the water heater is nearing the end of its life span, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is a good option. This upgrade can save up to 34% on your water heating bills by producing hot water on demand and cutting out standby heat loss. Save energy and lower costs by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including your dishwasher and washing machine.

Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert

Falso Service Experts is your source for dependable, affordable water heater services in North America. Our highly trained technicians can satisfy any water heater repair or replacement request that comes our way. We offer top products from today’s best brands, including traditional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in your budget. To learn more, please contact your local Falso Service Experts office today.

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