Your water heater is a vital part of your home! Think how much more difficult doing the laundry, washing the dishes, and taking showers would be without it! Like many other things in your home, it also costs money to run. But costing money is not the same as wasting money. Check out some easy ways to reduce your utility bill while using your water heater for all your needs.
1. Turn Down the Thermostat
Most water heater thermostats are preset to 140 degrees Fahrenheit—much hotter than you really need and a waste of money. If you keep the temperature at 140 degrees, you be throwing over $400 down the drain each year.
The Energy Department recommends lowering the temperature to 120 degrees, a comfortable number for you and your budget.
You can adjust the thermostat yourself. Just consult the heater’s owner’s manual first, and always shut off the electricity before making any adjustments. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, call a plumber. A trained technician can ensure you don’t accidentally raise the water temperature and risk burning your hands.
2. Drain Sediment
Sediment builds up naturally within your water heater’s tank. It slows the transfer of heat and makes the heater less efficient. This forces you to spend more money heating your water than you need to. It’s especially the case if you live in an area that provides hard water.
Draining just a few quarts of sediment from your heater every three months can help prevent this buildup and keep your water heater working at its best. Some signs of buildup include:
- Popping sounds
Regularly cleaning out the sediment is especially important if you own a gas water heater. Too much buildup can lead to a breakdown. A descaler makes this easy! It’s a salt-free, chemical-free, worry-free device that clears the limescale buildup from your pipes and faucets, decreasing the sediment buildup in your water heater, which keeps it running efficiently.
3. Insulate the Tank
Wrapping your water heater in an insulated blanket is a practical to save it from doing a lot of unnecessary work. The blanket decreases standby heat loss, keeping the tank warmer for longer before it needs to reheat itself.
Water heater blankets are sheets of fiberglass attached to heavy plastic. They are an especially good option if your heater is aging or kept in a generally cool space, like a basement. The insulation can be tricky to attach, so we encourage you to call a professional plumber for help getting it on right.
4. Insulate Hot Water Pipes
The tank itself isn’t the only thing you can insulate! Insulating the hot water pipes can do a lot of good too. Insulating the pipes ensures water is released at its desired temperature, so less energy (and money) is spent warming it up in the first place.
Note: Hot water pipes are often situated in hard-to-reach places. If you’re not sure you can get to them, call a licensed plumber to help.
5. Use Less Hot Water
It seems obvious, but it’s worth remembering: Using less hot water saves lots of money in water-heating costs.
Fortunately, there are many little things you can do to decrease your hot water usage, like:
- Not washing dishes before they go into the dishwasher
- Using the “economy” settings on your appliances
- Shaving a few minutes off your daily showers
Another great option is installing energy-efficient shower heads and faucet aerators. They’re reasonably priced and can cut your hot-water consumption and its part of the water bill by 43%. Think about what that could do for your wallet!
6. Fix Leaky Faucets
Even if that drip, drip, drip doesn’t keep you up at night, it is slowly adding to your water bill. Over time, it could result in over 3,000 gallons dripping away over the next year. If the water coming out of that leaky faucet is hot, it’s not just increasing your water bill. It’s making your water heater work harder and adding to your electric bill as well.
7. Use a Timer
If you have a programmable thermostat for your HVAC, you understand the wonders it can do for your utility bills. No more heating your home when you’re at work. No cooling while you’re on vacation. A re-circulation pump timer works the same way! No more using the hot water while you’re sleeping or out of the house for work. Use a timer to give your water heater—and your wallet—a break.
8. Replace Your Old Water Heater
If your water heater is over 10 years old, it’s nearing the end of its life. If it’s over 15 or even 20, it’s most definitely time for a new water heater. The average lifespan is 10 to 15 years for electric systems and only 8 to 12 for gas-powered. Standing by your old one, even if it still works, could mean tossing money down the drain.
In the past 10 to 15 years, water-heater technology and the potential for energy savings have come a long way. They’re now made more energy-efficient. Spending money on a new appliance will add up to big savings in the long run. The type of water heater you choose depends on your:
If you’re not sure what size or type will get you the most savings, consult a professional.
Consider a Tankless Water Heater
If you live in a smaller house or have a smaller family, consider a tankless water heater. Instead of constantly heating up the water like a conventional water heater, tankless appliances heat on-demand. They’ve been shown to save some families 25% on water heating costs.
Consistently high utility bills could point directly to your water heater. Although it sits mostly out of sight, it doesn’t work by magic. Regular maintenance and service—plus some of these tips and tricks—can keep your water heater ticking and your utility bills low. If you’d like more advice on how to lower your water bill, need water-heater maintenance, or are considering a new water heater, give us a call at 972-395-2597!
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