Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use a lot 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 a typical water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The total cost to run an electric water heater is based on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power needs and average costs for electricity. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 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 comes to $35 per month or $426 annually.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
If your water heater uses natural gas, you need to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and the price for natural gas. For example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for a couple of hours per day for a price 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 see from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to run than comparable electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than the price of electricity. Fine-tune the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to get a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater expenses.
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.
Revise Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that every time you turn on a hot water tap, you need to pay to heat it. Modify your everyday habits to help with energy bills. Here’s how:
- Take quicker showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Limit pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
- Clean your clothes in cold water as much as possible.
Resolve Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large quantities of hot water. For example, one drip per second wastes over 1,600 gallons annually. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you identify 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 buy quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for approximately $10 to $20 each, resulting in as much as 60% savings on water use. Look for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize efficiency without negatively impacting 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 possibility of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to prevent microbial growth in the tank.
If the 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 shows 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulation jackets available at home improvement retailers. Be careful 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
In case your water heater is getting close to 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 as much as 34% on your water heating bills by producing hot 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
Calverley 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 work with 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 Calverley Service Experts office today.