Did you know according to the US Department of Energy, water heater usage accounts for about 18% of the utility bill?
Often, we take having hot water at the turn of a faucet for granted. Hot showers, clean dishes, clean clothes, and other creature comforts associated with hot water are intrinsic to our everyday lives. But did you know that hot water is the second-largest energy expense in the home?
Anlon has a few ideas on how to save money on those monthly bills. We have a few ideas on how to create a more efficient home with just a few changes.
Your home’s energy use pie chart:
This probably isn’t surprising since hot water is such an essential component in our day-to-day lives. However, it does suggest that reevaluating usage and maintenance might save the average home a significant sum of money. You may not give that leaky faucet a second thought, but it can lead to gallons of wasted water – a substantial “drain” on your monthly bill.
10 Water Heater Tips:
Below are several money-saving water heating tips (most supported by energy.gov) that will help lower those large water heating bills.
1. LOWER YOUR THERMOSTAT
Though heater thermostats are often set by default to 140°F, most households are comfortable with 120°F. Make the adjustment, and try taking a shower. It’s unlikely you will notice a substantial difference. This small change can significantly decrease costs, but it also reduces scalding and slows mineral buildup and corrosion in your heater and pipes.
2. INSULATE WATER HEATER TANK
Whether you have an electric, natural gas, or oil storage tank, insulating your storage tank can help reduce heat loss and prevent the unit from turning on as frequently. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations which can include not covering the heater’s thermostat, burner, the top, and bottom. For safest results, call your local plumber for assistance.
3. INSTALL HEAT TRAPS
Heat traps allow the flow of cold water into the tank but prevent heated water and unwanted convection to flow from the unit. Most modern water heaters are designed with built-in heat traps. If your water heater is more than 10 years old (and in good condition), installing a heat trap is a viable option. Ask a professional plumber for more details.
4. COLD WATER
While this may not seem like an obvious tip, try using cold water for laundry loads (especially during the rinse cycle), and for basic grooming (brushing teeth, washing hands, etc.). It can go a long way in helping cut down your utility bill. Cold water is also good for your health and wellbeing.
5. FIX LEAKY FAUCETS
A leaky faucet may seem like a minor nuisance, but it can waste water and money in a very short period of time. Repair any leaky faucet immediately (be sure to check the outdoor faucets as well). Did you know that 10% of homes have plumbing leaks that waste over 90 gallons a day (source: epa.gov).
6. DRAIN YOUR TANK
It’s best practice to drain your water heater every year. This helps to remove sediment that can impede heat transfer and eventually lower the efficiency of the unit. While this is a comparatively easy procedure, always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions. If in doubt, call a professional to help with water heater maintenance.
7. ADD A TIMER
A traditional water heater tank is always running, which is a waste of electricity. Try installing a timer to turn off your heater at night. This is a great way to help conserve energy – and could add years to the life of the unit. Call your local plumber for more information on water heater timers.
8. INSULATE WATERPIPES
In addition to insulating the tank, consider adding insulation to the first 6 feet of both the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater. This will prevent fire hazards and help conserve heat so that your system doesn’t have to work so hard to reheat it.
9. REPLACE AGED APPLIANCES
If your dishwasher or washing machine is more than 10 years old, you might consider replacing it with a new, more energy-efficient model. There are various new designs on the market (including ENERGY STAR® models) that use less water and are much more effective than what was on the market even a decade ago. You can also get a tax rebate on most ENERGY STAR® products.
10. INSTALL A NEW WATER HEATER
It’s a good idea to replace your water heater if it is more than 10 years old. An old water heater is not only inefficient but could also cause irreparable damage if it leaks or bursts.
When Should I Replace My Water Heater?
If you are thinking about replacing your water heater, there are many different options available to you, including tankless water heating. By only heating water when you require it, a tankless water heater can save you $70-$80 per year, which adds up over its lifespan.