Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume a lot of hot water. In fact, the Department of Energy states that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for roughly 18% of your monthly bill. Learn how much energy an average water heater uses and helpful tips to decrease your water heating costs.
The precise cost to run an electric water heater is based on the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay for electricity. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that draws 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 comes to $35 each month or $426 per year.
If your water heater runs on natural gas, you have 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 two hours each day at a rate of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which comes to $18.60 per month or $226 per year.
As you can determine from the examples above, gas water heaters typically cost less to run than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than electric prices. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to create a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater costs.
Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can cut your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Keep in mind that every time you turn on a hot water tap, you need to pay to heat it. Modify your daily habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant amounts of hot water. For instance, one drip per second wastes over 1,600 gallons per year. Eliminate this waste by fixing plumbing leaks as soon as you identify 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 about $10 to $20 each, resulting in up to 60% savings on water use. Look 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 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 faucet. Adjust the water heater’s dial, wait two hours and measure the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer reads 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulation 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. Once 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 nearing the end of its life span, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is a good option. This upgrade can save up to 34% on your water heating bills by generating hot water on demand and eliminating standby heat loss. Save even more by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including your dishwasher and washing machine.
Levy & Son Service Experts is your source for reliable, 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 carry top products from today’s best brands, including traditional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in your budget. To learn more, please contact your local Levy & Son Service Experts office today.
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