Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume a lot of hot water. As a matter of 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. Discover 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 exact cost to run an electric water heater depends on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and average costs for electricity. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 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 operate per day, which comes to $35 per month or $426 per year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
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 typical costs 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 per day at a rate of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is roughly $18.60 each month or $226 each year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can conclude from the examples above, gas water heaters typically cost less to operate than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices are likely to run lower than the price of electricity. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to create a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater costs.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills
Whether your water heater runs using electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that each and 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:
- Take shorter showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Limit pre-rinsing dishes before you load them into the dishwasher.
- Wash your clothes in cold water if possible.
Seal Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant quantities of hot water. For example, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons per year. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you identify them.
Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
Modern regulations 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 approximately $10 to $20 each, resulting in up to 60% savings on water use. Try to find the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize efficiency without negatively impacting 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 possibility of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to discourage microbial growth within the tank.
If your water heater doesn’t include 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 shows 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with special jackets available at home improvement stores. Be mindful to install the insulation 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 around the hot and cold pipes coming from the water heater to help things heat up faster at the faucet.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
In case your water heater is approaching the end of its life span, think about 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 even more by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including your dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Knochelmann 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 work with top products from today’s best brands, including conventional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in your budget. To find out more, please contact your local Knochelmann Service Experts office today.