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 approximately 18% of your monthly bill. Find out more about how much energy the average water heater uses and helpful tips to decrease your water heating costs.
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 requirements and local costs for electricity. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 4500 watts and is active for two hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to run per day, which approaches $35 monthly or $426 each year.
If your water heater uses natural gas, you must 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 two hours each day for a price of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 each month or $226 each year.
As you can see from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to use than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than electric prices. Fine-tune the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to create 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 reduce costs. Here’s how:
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large amounts of hot water. For instance, one drip per second can waste as much as 1,600 gallons per year. Eliminate this waste by handling 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 buy 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 maximize 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 prevent microbial growth in the tank.
If your 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 test the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer reads 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with special jackets available at home improvement retailers. Be careful to install the insulation correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you’re not sure how to proceed, ask a professional for help. After the tank is insulated, add insulation to the hot and cold pipes coming from the water heater to help things heat up faster at the tap.
If 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 approximately 34% on your water heating bills by heating 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 carry top products from today’s best brands, including traditional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in budget. To learn more, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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