Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume a lot 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. Discover how much energy an average water heater uses and helpful tips to scale back your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The total cost to run an electric water heater is determined by the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and local costs for electricity. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that draws 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 run per day, which comes to $35 each month or $426 each year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Need?
If your water heater runs using natural gas, you need to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay for natural gas. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours a day for a price of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 each month or $226 each year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can see from the examples above, gas water heaters typically cost less to use than comparable electric models because natural gas prices tend 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 uses electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Revise Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that each and every time you turn on a hot water faucet, you must pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to help with energy bills. Here’s how:
- Take quicker showers.
- Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Limit pre-rinsing dishes before you load them into the dishwasher.
- Clean your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Repair Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large quantities 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 identify them.
Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
Modern laws 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 about $10 to $20 each, resulting in as much as 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 lower the chance 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 check the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer reaches 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with special jackets available at home improvement stores. Be mindful to install the jacket correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. When in doubt, ask a professional for help. Once 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.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
If the water heater is getting close to the end of its life span, think about replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is a good option. This upgrade can save as much as 34% on your water heating bills by producing hot water on demand and eliminating standby heat loss. Save energy and lower costs by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including the dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Norrell 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 work with 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 learn more, please contact your local Norrell Service Experts office today.