How Much Energy Does a Water Heater Use?
Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use lots of hot water. As a matter of fact, the Department of Energy says that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for about 18% of your monthly bill. Find out more about how much energy a typical 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 based on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power needs and what you pay for electricity. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that needs 4500 watts and is active for just two hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to operate 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 using natural gas, you must consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and typical costs for natural gas. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for a couple of hours each day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is roughly $18.60 monthly or $226 annually.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can determine from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to run than comparable electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than electric prices. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to build 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 trim your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Revise Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that each time you turn on a hot water faucet, you need 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.
- Limit pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
- Clean your clothes in cold water if possible.
Resolve Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant quantities of hot water. For example, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons annually. 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 purchase quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for around $10 to $20 each, resulting in approximately 60% savings on water use. Look for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to increase 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.
In case your 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 special jackets available at home improvement stores. Be careful to install the jacket correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you’re not sure how to proceed, ask a professional for help. After the tank is insulated, add insulation around the hot and cold pipes coming from the water heater to help things heat up faster at the tap.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
If the water heater is nearing the end of its life span, consider 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 cutting out 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
Sunbeam 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 get the full details, please contact your local Sunbeam Service Experts office today.
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