Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume lots of hot water. As a matter of fact, the Department of Energy states that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for roughly 18% of your monthly bill. Find out more about how much energy an average water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The precise cost to run an electric water heater is determined by the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power requirements and local costs for electricity. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that needs 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 run per day, which approaches $35 per month or $426 per year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Need?
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 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 each day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is roughly $18.60 each month or $226 annually.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can determine from the examples above, gas water heaters typically cost less to use than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than electric prices. Fine-tune the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to get a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater costs.
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 Up Your Hot Water Habits
Remember that each time you turn on a hot water faucet, you have to pay to heat it. Modify your everyday habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
- Take faster showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before you load them into the dishwasher.
- Clean your clothes in cold water if possible.
Resolve Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant amounts of hot water. For instance, one drip per second can waste as much as 1,600 gallons each year. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you discover 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 around $10 to $20 each, resulting in up to 60% savings on water use. Search for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize efficiency without negatively influencing 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 have 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 reaches 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulated jackets available at home improvement stores. Be careful to install the jacket correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. When in doubt, ask a professional for help. When 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
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 producing 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 your dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Coastal Service Experts is your source for reliable, affordable water heater services in North America. Our highly trained technicians can satisfy any water heater repair or replacement request that comes our way. We offer 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 Coastal Service Experts office today.