Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume plenty 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 approximately 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 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 instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 4500 watts and is active for 2 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 on natural gas, you must consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and the price for natural gas. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours per day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which comes to $18.60 monthly or $226 annually.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can conclude from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to operate than comparable electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than electric prices. Fine-tune the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to create a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater costs.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills
Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can cut your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Your Hot Water Habits
Keep in mind that every time you turn on a hot water tap, you need to pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to reduce costs. Here’s how:
- Take shorter showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Minimize pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
- Clean your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Repair Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large quantities of hot water. For instance, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons annually. Eliminate this waste by fixing 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. A new set of 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 as much as 60% savings on water use. Look 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 lower the risk of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to prevent microbial growth within the tank.
In case your water heater doesn’t have a temperature readout, determine the setting with a thermometer at the bathroom or kitchen faucet. 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 special 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 the 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, 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
Comfortech Service Experts is your source for dependable, 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 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 find out more, please contact your local Comfortech Service Experts office today.