Is your water heater wasting energy? Did you know that water heaters are the third largest energy expense in your home, next to air conditioners and central heating systems. What sets water heating apart is the fact that it’s a constant expense all year round, accounting for up to 25% of your monthly utility bill. If you’re looking for ways to cut your water heating bills, try the following:
Use Less Hot Water
The most obvious way to cut back on the hot water is to curtail those activities that use the most. Washing clothes in cold water instead of hot can save around 30 gallons per load of laundry. A dishwasher burns through 12 gallons of hot water each time it is run, while washing dishes by hand uses a paltry 4 gallons.
One common myth is that bathing uses less hot water than showering. If your showers tend to run decadently long, this might prove true. But in most cases, showering and bathing uses about the same amount of water (approximately 20-30 gallons). In fact, if you cut your showers short and install an aerating, low-flow showerhead, you might be able to get that hot water usage down to 10 gallons.
Finally, get those leaky faucets repaired as soon as possible. A hot water tap dripping just once per second can waste over 5 gallons of hot water each day.
Turn Down the Thermostat
Most water heaters ship from the factory with the temperature set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which should provide plenty of hot water for your home. If the thermostat on your water heater is set higher than that, try lowering it to conserve energy.
Reduce Your Water Heater Wasting Energy with Insulation
Properly insulating your water heater can keep the water hotter longer and prevent “standby energy loss,” which occurs when the water heater is sitting idle. When insulating the hot water storage tank of your water heater, you should take care not to cover the thermostat. If you have a natural gas or oil water heater, you should also avoid covering the unit’s top and bottom, as well as its burner compartment. You should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and, when in doubt, hire a professional to help you.
You can bring down energy costs by insulating the first six feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to your water heater. Installing heat traps on these pipes will also prevent heat loss. Some newer water heaters come with heat traps built in, so check with the manufacturer if in doubt.
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