How to Have a Energy Efficient Water Heater
For most of us, saving up on utility bills means cutting out use on air conditioners and heating. But most homeowners don’t know that water heaters also consume a lot of energy. It’s the third largest energy expense in your home and accounts for 25% of your monthly bill. Looking to save on energy costs? Here are a few tips to have a more energy efficient water heater.
Cut back on hot water
You could save as much as 30 gallons per load of laundry just by using cold water alone. Dishwashers guzzle as much as 12 gallons of hot water each time. Hand washing dishes brings that down to four gallons. When it comes to bathing, cut your shower time and replace your shower head with a low-flow, aerating type. This helps reduce your hot water consumption further by 10 gallons. Last but not least, check your home for leaky faucets. A dripping tap can set you back by at least 5 gallons of hot water daily.
Most water heaters come at a factory preset of 120°F (48.9°C). Lower your water heater’s temperature if yours is set higher.
Be diligent with water heater maintenance
Water heaters will accumulate sediment. This slows heat transfer significantly. Remove the sediment by draining a quarter of tank water every three months. The procedure may vary for different water heaters. So do take a close look at manufacturer’s recommendations before any disassembly.
Insulate your water heater
Keep hot water warm longer by preventing standby energy loss. Standby energy loss happens when the water heater is idle. If you have an oil water heater or a natural gas heater, avoid covering your unit’s top, bottom, and burner compartments. Take care not to cover the thermostat either. When in doubt, call a professional.
The rule of thumb is to insulate the first six feet of both hot and cold water pipes. If your water heater didn’t come with heat traps, you may also want to install these.
Install a new water heater
While the lifespan of a water heater is around 8-10 years, most show signs of wear and tear around year seven. If your water heater needs replacement, do your research and find the type that meets your needs. A energy efficient water heater may cost a lot more upfront. But the energy (and money!) savings, in the long run, make up for the difference.
Whenever possible, replace your existing water heater before they conk out. Have your licensed plumber assess how much useful life it has left. The energy savings alone from replacing your water heater could pay for the new one.