Water heating is the third largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 14% of your utility bill.
There are four ways to cut your water heating bills: use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, insulate your water heater, and buy a new, more efficient water heater. A family of four, each showering for 5 minutes a day, uses 700 gallons of water a week; this is enough for a 3-year supply of drinking water for one person. You can cut that amount in half simply by using low-flow showerheads and faucets.
Water Heating Tips
Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period.
Insulate your electric hot water storage tank and pipes, but be careful not to cover the thermostat.
Insulate your gas or oil hot water storage tank and pipes, but be careful not to cover the water heater’s floor, top, thermostat, or burner compartment; when in doubt, get professional help.
Install aerators in faucets and low flow showerheads.
Buy a new water heater with a thick, insulating shell; while it may cost more initially than one without insulation, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance.
Although most water heaters last 10-15 years, it’s best to start shopping for a new one if yours is more than 7 years old. Doing some research before your heater fails will enable you to select one that most appropriately meets your needs.
Lower the thermostat on your water heater; water heaters at a setting of 115°F provide comfortable hot water for most uses.
Insulate your water heater to save energy and money.
Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater.
Take more showers than baths. Bathing uses the most hot water in the average household. You use 15-25 gallons of hot water for a bath, but less than 10 gallons during a 5-minute shower.
If you heat with electricity and live in a warm and sunny climate, consider installing a solar water heater. The solar units are environmentally friendly and can now be installed on your roof to blend with the architecture of your house.
Solar Water Heaters
If you heat with electricity and you have a non-shaded, south-facing location (such as a roof) on your property, consider installing a solar water heater. Solar water heating systems are also good for the environment. Solar water heaters avoid the harmful greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity production. During a 20 year period, one solar water heater can avoid over 50 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.