Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume plenty of hot water. In fact, the Department of Energy says that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for about 18% of your monthly bill. Discover how much energy an average water heater uses and helpful tips to scale back your water heating costs.
The total cost to run an electric water heater depends on the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power requirements and average costs for electricity. For example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that draws 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 work per day, which comes to $35 per month or $426 per year.
If your water heater runs on 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. As an example, 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 roughly $18.60 each month or $226 each year.
As you can conclude from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to run than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than the price of electricity. 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.
Remember that every time you turn on a hot water tap, you must pay to heat it. Modify your daily habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
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 annually. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you notice 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 approximately 60% savings on water use. Search for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to increase efficiency without negatively influencing performance.
The standard setting is 140 degrees. Lower this to 120 degrees to save on water heating costs and lower the chance of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to avoid microbial growth within the tank.
If the water heater doesn’t have 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 special 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 tap.
In case your 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 generating hot 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 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 satisfy 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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