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 about 18% of your monthly bill. Find out more about how much energy an average water heater uses and helpful tips to decrease your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The precise cost to run an electric water heater is determined by the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power requirements and average costs for electricity. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that needs 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 work per day, which comes to $35 each month or $426 per year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Need?
If your water heater uses natural gas, you must consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and the price 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 roughly $18.60 per month or $226 annually.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can determine 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 get a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater costs.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills
Whether your water heater uses electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving suggestions.
Change Up Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that each and every time you turn on a hot water faucet, you must pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to reduce costs. Here’s how:
- Take quicker showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Minimize pre-rinsing dishes before placing them into the dishwasher.
- Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Resolve Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant amounts of hot water. For example, one drip per second can waste as much as 1,600 gallons per year. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you notice them.
Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
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 buy quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for about $10 to $20 each, resulting in as much as 60% savings on water use. Try to find the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize efficiency without negatively influencing performance.
Turn Down the Water Heater Temperature
The default 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 inside the tank.
If the 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 check the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer shows 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. When in doubt, ask a professional for help. After the tank is insulated, add insulation around the hot and cold pipes coming from the water heater to help things heat up faster at the faucet.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
If the water heater is approaching 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 approximately 34% on your water heating bills by generating hot water on demand and getting rid of standby heat loss. Save even more by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including your dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Barlow Service Experts 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 conventional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in your budget. To get the full details, please contact your local Barlow Service Experts office today.