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 roughly 18% of your monthly bill. Find out more about how much energy an average water heater uses and helpful tips to scale back your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The precise cost to run an electric water heater is based on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power needs and average costs for electricity. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that draws 4500 watts and is active for just two hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to run per day, which arrives at $35 monthly or $426 per year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
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 typical costs for natural gas. For example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours a day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which comes to $18.60 monthly or $226 annually.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can determine from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to use than comparable electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than electricity costs. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to build a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater expenses.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills
Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving suggestions.
Change Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that every time you turn on a hot water faucet, you have to pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
- Take shorter showers.
- Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
- Launder your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Seal Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large amounts of hot water. For instance, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons annually. Eliminate this waste by fixing plumbing leaks as soon as you notice them.
Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
Modern laws require new showerheads to consume 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) or less while kitchen faucets are limited to 2.2 gpm. New bathroom faucets must have flow rates below 1.5 gpm.
You can buy quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for around $10 to $20 each, resulting in up to 60% savings on water use. Search for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to increase efficiency without negatively impacting performance.
Turn Down the Water Heater Temperature
The standard 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 prevent microbial growth inside the tank.
In case 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 check the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer reaches 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulated jackets available at home improvement stores. Be careful to install the jacket correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you're not sure 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 faucet.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
In case 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 heating water on demand and getting rid of standby heat loss. Save energy and lower costs by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including the dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Stevenson 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 budget. To get the full details, please contact your local Stevenson Service Experts office today.