Whether you heat the water in your home with electricity, natural gas or propane, you should always be looking for ways to find water heater savings. Try these five tips:
Maintenance. Having your water heater cleaned, inspected and tuned annually optimizes system efficiency. A well-maintained appliance will run more efficiently, reducing energy expenses. It also reduces the risk of potential carbon monoxide poisoning if you have a gas water heater.
Insulation. Ensure that the insulation around the water heater tank is in good condition; it should be firmly attached and cover the entire cylinder. (For gas water heaters, you should consider getting professional help with installation, since it’s important not to cover vents, gas lines and other components.)
Thermostat. If your water heater is set higher than 120 degrees, consider lowering the temperature. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for every 10 degrees you lower your setting, power consumption is reduced by between 3 and 5 percent. Most people find that a 120-degree setting provides adequate hot water for their household needs. Lower temperatures also reduce the potential for mineral build-ups that require premature service or replacement.
Consumption. Use low-flow taps and shower heads if your water pressure allows, and remember that taking showers uses far less water than baths. Wash clothes according to the labels, not according to habit; modern fabrics can often be laundered in cold or warm water. Only use the dishwasher when it’s full.
Waste. Wasted hot water is wasted money. Ensure leaky taps aren’t creating a “vampire drain” on your hot water supply. Turning on the hot tap out of habit can be pointless; if the water hasn’t reached the tap by the time you’ve finished washing your hands, you could just as well have used cold water.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about water heater savings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.