The cost of heating water makes up about 18% of your total energy bill. There are many things you can do to reduce these costs, ranging from simple changes to upgrading to a new water heater.
Here are some water heater maintenance tips that can help you save money on energy costs and make your household more energy-efficient.
Lower the Water Heater Temperature
Just like turning your heater down in the winter can lower your energy bill, turning down the temperature on your water heater can do the same.
The factory preset for a water heater is usually between 130℉ and 140℉, which is too hot for your skin and can raise the risk of scalding, especially for young children. The best practice is to lower your temperature to the Department of Energy’s recommended standard of 120℉.
By lowering your water heater temperature by just 10 degrees, you can save 3 to 5 percent of your total water heating costs. If your temperature gauge is faulty or your model does not show the temperature, use a thermometer to test the water coming out of a faucet to achieve your desired temperature.
Insulate Your Water Heater Tank & Pipes
If your water heater and its exposed pipes are not well insulated, you’ll lose heat to the rest of the room. To keep that heat in your water heater, add an insulation jacket or blanket to your water heater and any lengths of exposed pipe leading out of it.
Be careful to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and do not cover the heater’s thermostat, burner, and the top and bottom.
Install a Timer on Your Water Heater
Installing a volt timer for your water heater will allow you to turn the heating elements of a tank water heater off when you’re not using hot water. You can pick the schedule and set the timer to suit your household’s needs. Many newer water heaters have built-in timers, but you can have a plumber install a volt timer to your unit.
Setting your water heater to turn off at night is a good way to conserve electricity.
Consider Switching to a Tankless Water Heater
Tankless water heaters are an energy-efficient, high-performance alternative to traditional tank water heaters. They provide you with an endless supply of hot water, and they can save you up to 40 percent on energy costs.
Unlike traditional tank water heaters, tankless water heaters only run while you’re actually using hot water. Traditional water heaters heat water in a large reservoir and then cycle on and off to keep the water warm while you’re not using it. Tankless water heaters provide energy savings by only turning on when you turn on the hot water tap.
Install Heat Traps on Your Water Heater Pipes
If you have an older water heater, you may be losing hot water through a process called convection. This is where heat escapes via the cold-water inlet pipes. Heat traps allow the flow of cold water into the tank but prevent heat from flowing away 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, it is recommended to install heat traps.
Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances
The cost of heating water depends on more than just the energy required to power your water heater. Having other appliances that use lots of hot water can increase your energy costs as well.
Upgrading these two appliances can save you serious money on your energy bills:
- Dishwasher: If your dishwasher was made before 1995, it may be using up to 15 gallons of water per cycle. Modern Energy Star-rated dishwashers usually use less than four gallons of water per load. You can save significantly on water heating costs by replacing your old dishwasher.
- Washing machine: Inefficient top-load washing machines are being quickly phased out by more efficient front-load machines. Front-load machines typically use only one-half to one-third as much water as top-load washing machines, so replacing your old washing machine can help you cut energy costs and water consumption.
Get a Water Heater Tune-Up Every Year
You should inspect your water heater once a year to make sure it’s in good working condition. If you have a tank water heater, it needs to be drained once a year to remove sediments from the tank. Sediment buildup will decrease your water heater’s efficiency, increasing energy costs and possibly shortening the life of your water heater.
Water heater sediment removal can be done by draining the tank and running cold water through it until the water comes out clear. You can drain the tank yourself, but you can also contact a plumber if you’re not comfortable doing it.
Plumbing issues like leaky faucets can also contribute to high water heating costs, so you should be sure to address any such leaks.
Save on Energy Costs With Stephens Plumbing
Following these tips can make for more energy-efficient water heating and save you money on your utility bills. If you’re experiencing any plumbing issues or problems with your water heater, contact a qualified plumber.
For a leak or a sudden loss of hot water, contact a certified emergency plumber at Stephens Plumbing. We have solutions for every water heater issue, including water heater repair, maintenance, and installation and water heater element replacement services.
Contact us or call us at 630-968-8023 today.