Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume 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. Learn how much energy a typical water heater uses and helpful tips to scale back your water heating costs.
The total cost to run an electric water heater is based on the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power needs and average costs for electricity. As an 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 arrives at $35 per month or $426 annually.
If your water heater runs on natural gas, you must consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and typical costs for natural gas. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for a couple of hours per day for a price 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 see from the examples above, gas water heaters typically cost less to use than similar electric models because natural gas prices are likely to run lower than electricity costs. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to create a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater costs.
Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can cut your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Consider that each and every time you turn on a hot water tap, you have to pay to heat it. Modify your daily habits to help with energy bills. Here’s how:
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant quantities of hot water. For instance, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons each year. Eliminate this waste by handling plumbing leaks as soon as you notice them.
Modern rules 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 approximately $10 to $20 each, resulting in as much as 60% savings on water use. Try to find 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 reduce the possibility of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to prevent microbial growth inside 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 reads 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulated 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 to your hot and cold pipes coming from the water heater to help things heat up faster at the faucet.
If the water heater is getting close to the end of its life span, think about replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is another option. This upgrade can save approximately 34% on your water heating bills by generating hot water on demand and eliminating standby heat loss. Save even more 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 dependable, 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 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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