Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume a lot of hot water. Believe it or not, 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 scale back your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The total cost to run an electric water heater is determined by the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power needs and what you pay for electricity. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 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 arrives at $35 monthly or $426 annually.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
If your water heater uses natural gas, you need to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and the price 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 comes to $18.60 monthly or $226 per year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can conclude from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to operate than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices are likely to run lower than the price of electricity. 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 using electricity or gas, you can cut your utility costs with these money-saving suggestions.
Change Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that each and every time you turn on a hot water tap, you need to 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.
- Limit pre-rinsing dishes before placing them into the dishwasher.
- Clean your clothes in cold water if possible.
Resolve Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large quantities of hot water. For example, one drip per second wastes over 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. 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 up to 60% savings on water use. Look for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to increase 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 minimize the risk of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to prevent microbial growth inside the tank.
In case your water heater doesn’t have a temperature readout, determine the setting with a thermometer at the bathroom or kitchen tap. Adjust the water heater’s dial, wait two hours and check the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer reaches 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. 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 tap.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
If the water heater is approaching the end of its life span, think about replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is one such option. This upgrade can save up to 34% on your water heating bills by generating hot water on demand and cutting out 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
Atmostemp 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 carry top products from today’s best brands, including traditional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying within budget. To learn more, please contact your local Atmostemp Service Experts office today.