Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume 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 approximately 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 exact cost to run an electric water heater depends on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay for electricity. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that needs 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 monthly or $426 each 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 what you pay for natural gas. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for a couple of hours per day at a rate of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which comes to $18.60 each month or $226 annually.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can determine from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to use than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than the price of electricity. Refine 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 uses electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Revise Your Hot Water Habits
Keep in mind that every time you turn on a hot water tap, you must pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
- Take shorter showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
- Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Repair Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant quantities of hot water. For instance, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons annually. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you identify them.
Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
Modern regulations 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 up to 60% savings on water use. Search for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize efficiency without negatively influencing 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 reduce the risk of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to discourage 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 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 insulation jackets available at home improvement retailers. Be careful to install the jacket 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 faucet.
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 another option. This upgrade can save up to 34% on your water heating bills by generating hot water on demand and getting rid of 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
Strand Brothers Service Experts is your source for dependable, 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 find out more, please contact your local Strand Brothers Service Experts office today.