Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use lots of hot water. As a matter of fact, the Department of Energy states that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for about 18% of your monthly bill. Learn how much energy an 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 depends on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power requirements and local costs for electricity. As an 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 arrives at $35 each month or $426 per year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
If your water heater runs on natural gas, you must consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and typical costs 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 a day at a rate of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 each month or $226 each year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can determine from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to run than comparable electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than electricity costs. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to get a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater costs.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills
Whether your water heater uses electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving suggestions.
Change Up Your Hot Water Habits
Keep in mind that each and every time you turn on a hot water faucet, you must pay to heat it. Modify your everyday habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
- Take faster showers.
- Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
- Wash your clothes in cold water as much as possible.
Repair Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant amounts of hot water. For instance, one drip per second can waste as much as 1,600 gallons each year. Eliminate this waste by repairing 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 about $10 to $20 each, resulting in approximately 60% savings on water use. Search 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 minimize the possibility of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to discourage microbial growth in the tank.
If 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 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 retailers. Be mindful to install the insulation correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you're unsure 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 tap.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
If the water heater is getting close to the end of its life span, look at replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is a good option. This upgrade can save up to 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 your dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Pardee 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 Pardee Service Experts office today.