Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume lots of hot water. Believe it or not, 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. Learn how much energy the average water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.
The precise cost to run an electric water heater depends on the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power needs and what you pay for electricity. For instance, 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 run per day, which approaches $35 per month or $426 each year.
If your water heater uses natural gas, you need to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay 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 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 similar electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than electricity costs. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to get a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater costs.
Whether your water heater uses electricity or gas, you can trim your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Keep in mind that each and every 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:
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant quantities of hot water. For example, 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 purchase quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for around $10 to $20 each, resulting in as much as 60% savings on water use. Look 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 risk of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to discourage microbial growth within 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 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 insulation 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. When 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 faucet.
If the water heater is approaching the end of its life span, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is another option. This upgrade can save as much as 34% on your water heating bills by generating hot 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 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 carry 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 find out more, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
If you have a tankless water heater, then you know that it will run hot and cold on occasion. This is because tankless heating units are designed to run without any delays as they heat water. It’s not uncommon for tankless heaters to be running on high one second and low the next. The... Continue reading
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