Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume lots 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 approximately 18% of your monthly bill. Learn 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 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 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 comes to $35 each month or $426 each year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
If your water heater uses 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 is approximately $18.60 each month or $226 annually.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can conclude from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to use than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than electric prices. Refine 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 uses electricity or gas, you can cut your utility costs with these money-saving suggestions.
Change Up Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that each and every time you turn on a hot water faucet, you must 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 placing them into the dishwasher.
- Wash your clothes in cold water as much as possible.
Resolve Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large amounts of hot water. For example, one drip per second can waste as much as 1,600 gallons annually. Eliminate this waste by handling plumbing leaks as soon as you notice 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 find quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for about $10 to $20 each, resulting in as much as 60% savings on water use. Try to find 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 risk 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 faucet. Adjust the water heater’s dial, wait two hours and measure the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer shows 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with special jackets available at home improvement stores. Be mindful to install the jacket correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. When in doubt, ask a professional for help. After 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 tap.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
If the water heater is nearing the end of its life span, look at replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is one such option. This upgrade can save approximately 34% on your water heating bills by producing hot water on demand and getting rid of 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
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning 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 your budget. To find out more, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.