Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use plenty of hot water. As a matter of fact, the Department of Energy says that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for approximately 18% of your monthly bill. Learn how much energy a typical water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.
The total cost to run an electric water heater is based on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power requirements and average costs for electricity. For instance, 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 arrives at $35 each month or $426 per year.
If your water heater uses natural gas, you must consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and typical costs for natural gas. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours per day at a rate of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 per month or $226 each year.
As you can see from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to run than comparable electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency 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 cut your utility costs with these money-saving suggestions.
Consider that each and every time you turn on a hot water tap, you have to pay to heat it. Modify your everyday habits to help with energy bills. Here’s how:
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant amounts of hot water. For example, one drip per second wastes over 1,600 gallons per year. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you discover them.
Modern laws 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 find 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 maximize efficiency without negatively influencing performance.
The default setting is 140 degrees. Lower this to 120 degrees to save on water heating costs and minimize the risk of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to discourage microbial growth within 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 reaches 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulation jackets available at home improvement stores. Be mindful to install the insulation correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you’re not sure how to proceed, ask a professional for help. After 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.
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 one such option. This upgrade can save approximately 34% on your water heating bills by heating 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 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 carry top products from today’s best brands, including conventional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in budget. To learn more, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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