Save Cold Hard Cash with Your Water Heater!
A Little Conservation Can Put a Lot More Green in Your Wallet!
Did you know that your water heater can account for 14%–25% of the energy consumed in your home? In many homes, that can really add up in the course of a year. However, by upgrading to a more energy-efficient water heating system and by using some proven energy-efficient water heating strategies, you can drastically reduce your monthly water heating bills and energy consumption.
Here are some quick and easy tips that can start saving you hot water and big money IMMEDIATELY:
- Lower the Thermostat on Your Water Heater to 120° F. Water heaters often come from the factory with high temperature settings, but a setting of 120°F provides comfortable hot water for most uses. Anything above 120° F is just costing you money. Lowering the thermostat on your water heater by just 10ºF can save you between 3%–5% in energy costs. Most households only require a water heater thermostat setting of 120ºF. ( Want to save even more? Lower the thermostat even further…to 115ºF. You probably will not be able to tell the difference from 120!)
- Take Short Showers Instead of Baths. Taking a bath uses the more hot water than any other household activity…and much of it is wasted.
- Wash Only Full Loads of Dishes and Clothes. You’ll not only save hot water, you’ll save time!
- Repair Leaky Faucets Promptly. Hear that drip? That’s the sound of money going down the drain. A leaky faucet can waste up to several gallons of water per day.
- Cover Your Pool When Not In Use. If you have a heated swimming pool, invest in a swimming pool cover. Most energy loss in swimming pools is due to evaporation.
- Drain Your Tank. Drain a quart of water from your water tank approximately every 3 months to remove sediment build up. Sediment impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. Check with your manufacturer for specific instructions.
- Insulate, Insulate, Insulate! Insulating your hot water pipes and tank will reduce heat loss and can raise water temperature 2º to 4ºF hotter than without insulation. This allows you to maintain a lower water temperature setting. Be sure to insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater. Insulate the hot-water storage tank, too; but be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations or call Horizon Services to help.
Installations That Can Produce Big Results
- Install Aerating, Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads. If your shower was installed before 1992, you probably have a flow rate of 5.5 gallons per minute — which means a lot of hot water simply goes down the drain! Today’s more advanced shower heads deliver maximum hot water efficiency with flow rates of 2.5 gallons per minute or less. Modern kitchen and bathroom faucets also have lower flow capacities and thus have greater hot water efficiency.
- Install a Drain-Water Heat Recovery System.Did you know that 85-90% of the energy from hot water is wasted when it goes down the drain? Consider installing a drain water waste heat recovery system. These devices recycle and use the heat from drained water to pre-heat new water. According to a recent Department of Energy study, you can experience energy savings of 25% to 30% when you heat water with such a system.
- Install a Heat Trap. Heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater can prevent much heat loss. Many new water heaters come equipped with built-in heat traps.
You Can’t Go Wrong With a New Water Heater!
Have you owned your water heater for a long time? Has it broken down on you? Are your utility bills rising? Like all appliances, a water heater can experience much wear and tear, and after years of heavy use lose much of its efficiency. Although water heaters can last 10-15 years, most begin to decline after 7-8 years.
Consider investing in a new, energy-efficient water heater. Today’s models use much less energy than those made just a few years ago; many pay for themselves in a few years with the energy savings alone. Try to buy the most energy-efficient model you can — particularly those that are ENERGY STAR® rated. (While it may cost more initially than a lower-end water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance.)
Read the EnergyGuide label on the side of the water heater to see its efficiency rating. Consider solar and natural-gas on demand.
Don’t Forget Your Other Appliances
Your dishwasher and washing machine use a tremendous amount of hot water. Older models require more electricity and hot water than today’s energy-efficient appliances…not to mention better performance. If you’re in the market for a new dishwasher or washing machine, consider buying an efficient, water-saving ENERGY STAR® model to reduce hot water use and energy consumption.