Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use a lot of hot water. In fact, 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 a typical water heater uses and helpful tips to decrease your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The exact 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 what you pay for electricity. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that draws 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 arrives at $35 monthly or $426 each year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Need?
If your water heater runs on natural gas, you need to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and the price 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 rate of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is roughly $18.60 per month or $226 each year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can conclude from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to operate than similar electric models because natural gas prices are likely to run lower than the price of electricity. Fine-tune the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to build 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 lower your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Up Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that each time you turn on a hot water faucet, you have to pay to heat it. Modify your daily habits to help with energy bills. Here’s how:
- Take shorter showers.
- Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Minimize pre-rinsing dishes before placing them into the dishwasher.
- Clean your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Seal Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large amounts of hot water. For instance, one drip per second can waste as much as 1,600 gallons per year. Eliminate this waste by handling plumbing leaks as soon as you discover them.
Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
Modern rules 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 default setting is 140 degrees. Lower this to 120 degrees to save on water heating costs and lower the risk of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to discourage microbial growth within the tank.
If the water heater doesn’t include 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 insulation jackets available at home improvement retailers. Be careful to install the jacket correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you're unsure how to proceed, ask a professional for help. When the tank is insulated, add insulation to 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 nearing 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 up to 34% on your water heating bills by heating water on demand and getting rid of standby heat loss. Save even more by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including the dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning 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 offer top products from today’s best brands, including conventional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying within budget. To get the full details, please contact your local Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning office today.