Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use lots of hot water. Believe it or not, the Department of Energy reports 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 reduce your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The total cost to run an electric water heater is based on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power requirements and what you pay for electricity. For example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that needs 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 work per day, which approaches $35 monthly or $426 annually.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
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 what you pay for natural gas. For example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours a day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 monthly or $226 annually.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can determine from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to operate than comparable electric models because natural gas prices are likely to run lower than electricity costs. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to get a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater expenses.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills
Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can cut your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Your Hot Water Habits
Remember that each time you turn on a hot water faucet, you must pay to heat it. Modify your everyday habits to help with energy bills. Here’s how:
- Take faster showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
- Clean your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Resolve Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large quantities of hot water. For instance, 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 notice 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 as much as 60% savings on water use. Search for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to increase 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 chance of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to discourage microbial growth in the tank.
In case your 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 special jackets available at home improvement stores. Be careful 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 tap.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
In case your water heater is getting close to the end of its life span, look at 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 heating water on demand and eliminating standby heat loss. Save energy and lower costs by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including your dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning 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 within budget. To get the full details, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.