Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use plenty of hot water. In fact, the Department of Energy states that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for roughly 18% of your monthly bill. Learn how much energy the average water heater uses and helpful tips to scale back your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The exact cost to run an electric water heater is determined by the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power needs and local costs for electricity. For example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that needs 4500 watts and is active for just two hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to operate per day, which arrives at $35 each month or $426 per year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Need?
If your water heater uses natural gas, you must consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and typical costs for natural gas. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours a day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 each month or $226 per year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can see from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to run than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than electricity costs. Fine-tune the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to build 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 trim your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Revise Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that each and every time you turn on a hot water faucet, you need to pay to heat it. Modify your daily habits to reduce costs. Here’s how:
- Take faster showers.
- Only use 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 as much as possible.
Repair Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large amounts of hot water. For example, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons each year. 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 purchase quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for around $10 to $20 each, resulting in up to 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 standard setting is 140 degrees. Lower this to 120 degrees to save on water heating costs and minimize the chance of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to avoid microbial growth within 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 reads 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. When in doubt, ask a professional for help. Once the tank is insulated, add insulation to the 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 nearing the end of its life span, think about 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 generating hot water on demand and eliminating standby heat loss. Save energy and lower costs by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including your dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Finch Air Conditioning & Heating is your source for reliable, affordable water heater services in North America. Our highly trained technicians can satisfy 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 your budget. To find out more, please contact your local Finch Air Conditioning & Heating office today.