Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use 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 a typical 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 requirements 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 run per day, which arrives at $35 monthly or $426 annually.
If your water heater runs on 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. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for a couple of hours each day at a rate of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is roughly $18.60 monthly or $226 per year.
As you can see from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to use than similar electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than the price of electricity. Fine-tune the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to get a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater expenses.
Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can trim your utility costs with these money-saving suggestions.
Keep in mind that each and every time you turn on a hot water faucet, you must 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 amounts of hot water. For example, one drip per second can waste as much as 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 find 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 impacting performance.
The default 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.
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 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 stores. Be careful to install the jacket correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you’re unsure 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.
In case your water heater is nearing 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 up to 34% on your water heating bills by producing hot water on demand and eliminating 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 dependable, 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 find out more, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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