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, or buy a new, more efficient model.
Tips To Use Less Hot Water:
- Install aerating and low-flow faucets and showerheads.
- Install an eco-friendly thermal convection powered hot water recirculating system to your plumbing, has a temperature controlled by-pass valve and requires no electricity to operate. There is no water waste with this type of system, and it also minimizes energy waste since it only re-circulates when the hot water at your faucet cools below your desired temperature and can prevent pipe freezing.
- 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 model to reduce hot water use.
- 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.
Long-Term Savings Tips:
- Buy a new energy-efficient water heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance.
- Look for efficient water heaters in the following categories: high efficiency gas non-condensing, gas condensing, electric heat pump, gas tankless, and solar.
- Consider installing a drain water waste heat recovery system. A recent DOE study showed energy savings of 25% to about 30% for water heating using such a system.
- Heat pump water heaters can be very cost-effective in some areas.
- Install a temperature controlled hot water recirculation valve, which provides instant hot water (so water is not wasted down the drain waiting for water to run hot at your faucet or shower). The Hot Water Lobster Instant Hot Water Valve is a simple eco-friendly DIY installation (no water pump required) and can save an average household up to 17,000 gallons per year. It also saves energy costs and can prevent pipe freezing.