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 approximately 18% of your monthly bill. Find out more about how much energy the average water heater uses and helpful tips to scale back your water heating costs.
The exact cost to run an electric water heater is based on the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power needs and what you pay for electricity. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that needs 4500 watts and is active for 2 hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to work per day, which approaches $35 each month or $426 annually.
If your water heater uses natural gas, you need to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and typical costs for natural gas. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours per day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is roughly $18.60 per month or $226 annually.
As you can conclude from the examples above, gas water heaters typically cost less to run 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 cut your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Consider that each time you turn on a hot water tap, you need to pay to heat it. Modify your everyday habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant amounts of hot water. For example, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons annually. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you discover 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. A new set of bathroom faucets must have flow rates below 1.5 gpm.
You can purchase quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for approximately $10 to $20 each, resulting in approximately 60% savings on water use. Try to find the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to increase efficiency without negatively impacting performance.
The standard 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 inside the tank.
If the water heater doesn’t have 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 shows 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulated jackets available at home improvement retailers. Be mindful to install the insulation correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. When in doubt, ask a professional for help. Once 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.
If your water heater is approaching the end of its life span, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is another option. This upgrade can save approximately 34% on your water heating bills by generating hot water on demand and getting rid of standby heat loss. Save energy and lower costs by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including the 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 traditional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in your budget. To find out more, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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