Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use lots of hot water. In fact, 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. Discover how much energy a typical water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.
The exact cost to run an electric water heater is based on the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and average 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 run per day, which approaches $35 per month or $426 each year.
If your water heater uses natural gas, you have to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and the price 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 a day at a rate of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is roughly $18.60 per month or $226 per year.
As you can determine from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to run than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices tend 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 expenses.
Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Consider that each time you turn on a hot water tap, you need to pay to heat it. Modify your daily habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large quantities of hot water. For instance, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons per year. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you discover 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 find quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for about $10 to $20 each, resulting in as much as 60% savings on water use. Search for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to increase efficiency without negatively impacting performance.
The default setting is 140 degrees. Lower this to 120 degrees to save on water heating costs and reduce the risk 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 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 special jackets available at home improvement stores. 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. 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.
If your water heater is approaching the end of its life span, look at replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is one such option. This upgrade can save up to 34% on your water heating bills by producing hot water on demand and eliminating standby heat loss. Save even more by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including your 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 work with 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 get the full details, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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