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 about 18% of your monthly bill. Discover how much energy a typical water heater uses and helpful tips to decrease your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The precise cost to run an electric water heater depends on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power needs and average costs for electricity. For 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 work per day, which comes to $35 monthly or $426 per year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
If your water heater runs on natural gas, you have to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay 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 a day at a rate 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 operate than equivalent 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 get a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater expenses.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills
Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Up Your Hot Water Habits
Remember that each time you turn on a hot water tap, you must pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to reduce costs. Here’s how:
- Take quicker showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Limit pre-rinsing dishes before you load them into the dishwasher.
- Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Resolve 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 annually. Eliminate this waste by handling plumbing leaks as soon as you notice them.
Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
Modern rules 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 around $10 to $20 each, resulting in up to 60% savings on water use. Try to find the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to increase efficiency without negatively influencing 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 possibility 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 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 shows 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulated jackets available at home improvement retailers. Be careful to install the insulation correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you're not sure how to proceed, 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 faucet.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
If your water heater is getting close to the end of its life span, look at replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is a good option. This upgrade can save approximately 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
Epperson Service Experts 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 traditional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in your budget. To learn more, please contact your local Epperson Service Experts office today.