Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use lots of hot water. As a matter of fact, the Department of Energy reports that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for approximately 18% of your monthly bill. Discover how much energy the average water heater uses and helpful tips to scale back your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The exact 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. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 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 operate per day, which comes to $35 monthly or $426 annually.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Need?
If your water heater runs using 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 instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours per day for a price of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 per month or $226 each year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can see from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to operate than similar electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than electric prices. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to create a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater costs.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills
Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can trim your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that each time you turn on a hot water tap, you have to pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
- Take faster showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Limit pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
- Launder your clothes in cold water if possible.
Resolve Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large quantities of hot water. For instance, one drip per second wastes over 1,600 gallons annually. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you discover 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 as much as 60% savings on water use. Try to find the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize efficiency without negatively influencing 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 lower the chance of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to prevent microbial growth in 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 shows 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. 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 tap.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
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 a good option. This upgrade can save up to 34% on your water heating bills by generating hot water on demand and cutting out standby heat loss. Save even more by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including your dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
TML Service Experts 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 within budget. To find out more, please contact your local TML Service Experts office today.