Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use 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 approximately 18% of your monthly bill. Learn 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 precise cost to run an electric water heater is based on the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power needs and local costs for electricity. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that draws 4500 watts and is active for just two hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to run per day, which arrives at $35 per month or $426 each year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Need?
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 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 a couple of hours a day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 per month or $226 per year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can determine from the examples above, gas water heaters usually 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.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills
Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can cut your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Your Hot Water Habits
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 reduce costs. Here’s how:
- Take faster showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Minimize pre-rinsing dishes before you load them into the dishwasher.
- Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Resolve Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant quantities of hot water. For instance, one drip per second wastes over 1,600 gallons annually. Eliminate this waste by handling plumbing leaks as soon as you notice 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. 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 about $10 to $20 each, resulting in approximately 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 reduce the risk of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to avoid microbial growth within the tank.
In case your water heater doesn’t have a temperature readout, determine the setting with a thermometer at the bathroom or kitchen faucet. Adjust the water heater’s dial, wait two hours and test the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer reaches 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. When in doubt, ask a professional for help. Once 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.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
If your water heater is approaching 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 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 the dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Roland J. Down 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 in budget. To get the full details, please contact your local Roland J. Down Service Experts office today.