A tank water heater isn’t the most efficient appliance in your home. It works constantly to keep the water ready for whenever you need it. Yet most households don’t need a constant flow of hot water. The hot water just sits in the tank, losing heat. When the water reaches a minimum temperature, the water heater kicks in to heat it back up. This goes on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This type of energy usage isn’t good for home utility bills. In fact, the water heater is the second largest consumer of energy in your home, just after heating and cooling systems. Fortunately, there are simple ways you can reduce water heating bills while still keeping the water hot and ready for use.
Most water heater thermostats in the U.S. come preset to 140 degrees. That’s 20 degrees higher than the 120-degree setting recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE). The good news is that for every 10 degrees you reduce the water heater thermostat, you save between 3 and 5 percent on water heating costs.
Reduce Hot Water Usage
Use less hot water. It takes more energy for the water heater to heat up cold water than it does to keep heated water at a certain temperature. By reducing your hot water usage, you can lower water heating costs.
There are products that encourage reduced water usage as well. Change out shower heads for low flow versions, and add aerators to sink faucets. This can cut the amount of hot water you use by up to 60 percent.
Skip pre-washing dishes and just put the scraped dishes into the dishwasher. That can save several gallons of water a week.
Drain the Tank
Sediment can build up on the bottom of a water heater tank or along the heating elements, reducing efficiency. Draining the tank as recommended by the manufacturer can help keep sediment build-up to a minimum.
Be sure to turn off the electricity or the gas to the water heater. Connect a hose to the water heater spigot. Lift the water heater valve and turn on the spigot. The water should start flowing.
Exposed hot water pipes can cause the water to lose heat. That means you have to run the water longer to get the hot water you want. By installing insulation around the pipes, you can cut water heating bills while reducing water consumption as well.
This is a relatively easy job to do. You can buy self-sealing insulation that comes in 6-foot lengths. The insulation easily slips over exposed pipes and fits around elbows without a problem. The only difficulty may be in getting access to the pipes that are in crawl spaces or walls.
Insulate the Tank
If your home’s water heater is older or in an unheated space like the garage or basement, installing an insulation blanket around it can help keep the heat in the tank. Newer heaters are better insulated than older models. Check the R-value of the insulation and make sure it’s 24 or higher. If it is not, add a thermal blanket.
The blankets are easy to install and low cost. The flat blanket wraps around the tank and fastens with tape. It’s important not to cover up the water heater thermostat, air inlet or exhaust.
Taking measures to reduce water heating bills will help cut energy bills as well. If you want to talk with an expert on other ways to reduce utility costs, contact us here at Wood Air Conditioning & Plumbing, Inc. We proudly serve Mount Pleasant and the Titus County area.
Image Provided by Shutterstock.com