Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume 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 roughly 18% of your monthly bill. Learn how much energy the average water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.
The precise cost to run an electric water heater depends on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay for electricity. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 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 operate per day, which comes to $35 monthly or $426 each year.
If your water heater runs using 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. For example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two 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.
As you can see from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to use than comparable electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than the price of electricity. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to get a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater costs.
Whether your water heater runs using electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Keep in mind that every time you turn on a hot water faucet, you need to pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large amounts of hot water. For example, one drip per second wastes over 1,600 gallons each year. Eliminate this waste by handling plumbing leaks as soon as you discover them.
Modern laws 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 up to 60% savings on water use. Try to find 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 minimize the risk of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to prevent microbial growth in the tank.
In case your water heater doesn’t include 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 reads 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. When 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.
In case your water heater is nearing the end of its life span, think about replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is one such option. This upgrade can save approximately 34% on your water heating bills by producing hot water on demand and cutting out 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 fulfill any water heater repair or replacement request that comes our way. We carry 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 get the full details, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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