Your water heater is a large contributor to your energy bill. Every time you turn on a hot water faucet, have a shower or use your washing machine, your water heater is using energy to heat the water. And if you have a tank-style water heater which stores hot water, it uses energy throughout the day to keep the water heated within the tank as it's waiting to be used.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your water heater's energy consumption, and thus, lower your utility bills. This article will give you a few strategies to help you save money and lower your utility expenses.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heater's Energy Consumption
Every homeowner wants to save money, and your utility expenses are a large part of your monthly budget. These strategies will help put some of that money back into your pocket:
Turn Your Water Heater Thermostat Down
Every water heater is equipped with a thermostat that controls the temperature of the water. If you turn the thermostat down by as little as 10°F. it can reduce your bill by approximately $6 a month. Each 10° reduction saves between 3 to 5% of your water heater's operating cost.
Water heaters shouldn't be set higher than 120° for safety reasons, and many times the factory setting is set much higher. If your thermostat is set above 120° you should consider turning it down. This is one of the easiest ways to reduce your water heater's energy consumption.
Reduce Your Hot Water Usage
There are many ways to reduce your hot water usage without impacting your daily life. Here are a few suggestions:
- Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water - Many laundry detergents today are designed for cold water use. By no longer using hot water to wash your clothes you can save up to $160 a year!
- Take Showers Instead of Baths - On average, a bath uses between 12 to 15 gallons of water, where a shower generally uses only 5 to 9 gallons.
- Wash your Hands with Cold Water - This is a super easy one and can save anywhere from 2 to 8 dollars a month.
- Replace Faucets with Dual Handle Faucets - You may not want to go out and replace all your faucets, but when remodeling or repairing, install dual handle faucets instead of single. With a single handle faucet it can be easy to use hot water when you don't really need to. Even pushing the handle straight up will cause hot water to be drawn from the tank. A dual handle faucet allows the user more control of the hot water usage. This tip can save you anywhere from 2 to 8 dollars a month.
- Repair Drips and/or Leaks - Even small leaks cost you money. A minor faucet leak that drips hot water once per second can cost you between 2 to 4 dollars a month.
Insulate Your Water Heater
Wrap your water heater with an insulation wrap to help prevent heat from escaping your tank. Water heaters have an internal insulation layer surrounding the tank, but adding an external layer will make a big impact on keeping the water stored inside the tank hot.
This means that less power will be needed to maintain the tank's water temperature since there'll be less standby heat loss. Some homeowners even insulate the inlet and outlet pipes with foam pipe wrap to help keep heat from escaping. You can save between 2 to 8 dollars a month by insulating your tank.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Regularly flushing and checking the anode rod will ensure that your water heater remains efficient and isn't burning extra energy to heat water. Your water heater develops sediment as it works to heat your water. Over time, the sediment will build-up and force your heater to work harder in order to deliver hot water. By flushing your heater annually, you'll not lower your water heater's energy consumption, you'll also improve it's service life.
Invest in a More Efficient Water Heater
Each year water heaters' become more energy efficient. If your water heater is 8 to 10-years old, you're likely going to need to replace it relatively soon. Buying a new water heater will give you the opportunity to take advantage of these savings and replace your old water heater before it breaks down.
Many homeowners choose to upgrade to a tankless water heater. Although, initially more expensive than tank-style heaters, they will save you money in the long run because they operate more energy efficiently. Learn more about tankless water heaters here.
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