Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume a lot of hot water. Believe it or not, the Department of Energy reports that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for roughly 18% of your monthly bill. Learn how much energy the average water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.
The precise cost to run an electric water heater is determined by the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and local costs for electricity. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that needs 4500 watts and is active for 2 hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to work per day, which arrives at $35 each month or $426 per year.
If your water heater runs on natural gas, you need to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay for natural gas. For instance, 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 comes to $18.60 monthly or $226 each year.
As you can see from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to operate than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than the price of electricity. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to create a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater expenses.
Whether your water heater uses electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving suggestions.
Consider that each time you turn on a hot water tap, you must pay to heat it. Modify your everyday habits to reduce costs. Here’s how:
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant quantities of hot water. For example, one drip per second wastes over 1,600 gallons each year. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you identify them.
Modern regulations 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 purchase quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for around $10 to $20 each, resulting in as much as 60% savings on water use. Try to find the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to increase efficiency without negatively influencing performance.
The standard setting is 140 degrees. Lower this to 120 degrees to save on water heating costs and minimize the possibility of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to discourage microbial growth in the tank.
If your water heater doesn’t have 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 reaches 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulation jackets available at home improvement retailers. Be mindful to install the jacket correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you’re unsure how to proceed, ask a professional for help. When 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 faucet.
If your water heater is nearing the end of its life span, think about replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is one such option. This upgrade can save approximately 34% on your water heating bills by generating hot water on demand and eliminating standby heat loss. Save even more by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including the dishwasher and washing machine.
Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is your source for reliable, affordable water heater services in North America. Our highly trained technicians can fulfill 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 within budget. To get the full details, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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