Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume lots of hot water. Believe it or not, the Department of Energy states that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for approximately 18% of your monthly bill. Find out more about how much energy the average water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The precise cost to run an electric water heater is determined by the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and local costs for electricity. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that needs 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 operate per day, which approaches $35 each month or $426 per year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
If your water heater runs using 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 per day for a price of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is roughly $18.60 per month or $226 annually.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can see from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to use 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 costs.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills
Whether your water heater runs using electricity or gas, you can cut your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Your Hot Water Habits
Keep in mind that each time you turn on a hot water faucet, you must pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to help with energy bills. Here’s how:
- Take faster showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before you load them into the dishwasher.
- Clean your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Seal Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large quantities of hot water. For instance, one drip per second can waste as much as 1,600 gallons each year. Eliminate this waste by fixing plumbing leaks as soon as you discover them.
Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
Modern laws require new showerheads to consume 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) or less while kitchen faucets are limited to 2.2 gpm. New bathroom faucets must have flow rates below 1.5 gpm.
You can purchase quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for about $10 to $20 each, resulting in approximately 60% savings on water use. Search for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize efficiency without negatively influencing performance.
Turn Down the Water Heater Temperature
The standard setting is 140 degrees. Lower this to 120 degrees to save on water heating costs and minimize the risk of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to discourage microbial growth within the tank.
In case your water heater doesn’t include a temperature readout, determine the setting with a thermometer at the bathroom or kitchen tap. Adjust the water heater’s dial, wait two hours and test the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer reads 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulation jackets available at home improvement retailers. Be mindful to install the jacket correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you're not sure how to proceed, ask a professional for help. When the tank is insulated, add insulation to your hot and cold pipes coming from the water heater to help things heat up faster at the faucet.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
If your water heater is approaching the end of its life span, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is a good option. This upgrade can save approximately 34% on your water heating bills by heating water on demand and eliminating standby heat loss. Save even more by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including the dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
R & M Climate Control Service Experts is your source for reliable, affordable water heater services in North America. Our highly trained technicians can fulfill any water heater repair or replacement request that comes our way. We offer top products from today’s best brands, including conventional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in budget. To learn more, please contact your local R & M Climate Control Service Experts office today.