Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use plenty 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. Discover how much energy a typical water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The exact cost to run an electric water heater is based on the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and local costs for electricity. For example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that draws 4500 watts and is active for two hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to run per day, which approaches $35 monthly or $426 per year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Need?
If your water heater uses natural gas, you have to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and the price for natural gas. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours each day for a price of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is roughly $18.60 each month or $226 each year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can see 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 the price of electricity. 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 runs on electricity or gas, you can cut your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Up Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that each and every time you turn on a hot water faucet, you need to pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to help with energy bills. Here’s how:
- Take shorter showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Minimize pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
- Launder your clothes in cold water as much as possible.
Seal Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant amounts of hot water. For example, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons each year. 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. A new set of bathroom faucets must have flow rates below 1.5 gpm.
You can find quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for around $10 to $20 each, resulting in as much as 60% savings on water use. Look for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to increase efficiency without negatively impacting performance.
Turn Down the Water Heater Temperature
The default setting is 140 degrees. Lower this to 120 degrees to save on water heating costs and reduce the possibility of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to avoid microbial growth within the tank.
If your water heater doesn’t have a temperature readout, determine the setting with a thermometer at the bathroom or kitchen faucet. Adjust the water heater’s dial, wait two hours and check the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer reads 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulated jackets available at home improvement stores. Be mindful to install the insulation correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. When in doubt, ask a professional for help. After the tank is insulated, add insulation to 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 approaching the end of its life span, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is one such option. This upgrade can save as much as 34% on your water heating bills by producing hot 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 dependable, 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 carry 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 find out more, please contact your local Sunbeam Service Experts office today.