Keep Your Energy Bills Out of Hot Water
Water heating is the third largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 12% 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, install simple new technology that reduces your energy cost.
- Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
- Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
- Lower the thermostat on your water heater; water heaters sometimes come from the factory with high temperature settings, but a setting of 120°F provides comfortable hot water for most uses.
- Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank, but be careful not to cover the thermostat. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Insulate your natural gas or oil hot-water storage tank, but be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations; when in doubt, get professional help.
- Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
- If you are in the market for a new dishwasher or clothes washer, consider buying an efficient, water-saving ENERGY STAR model to reduce hot water use.
- Install innovative and patented technology is known as a “temperature controlled hot water recirculating valve”. It uses your existing water pipes and the thermal convection generated by your water heater to circulate the water back to your water heater for reheating (not requiring a pump or any electricity). These systems have a temperature-controlled valve that allows the consumer to easily adjust the temperature to meet their particular needs. There is no water waste as it reduces the energy required to heat your water while it provides faster hot water to your faucets and showers. Installation is a simple 15-minute DIY project (no pipe cutting, soldering or electrical connections).
- 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. The type of water tank you have determines the steps to take, so follow the manufacturer’s advice.
Although most water heaters last 10–15 years, it’s best to start shopping now 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.