Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume a lot of hot water. As a matter of 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. Find out more about how much energy an average 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 is based on the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and average costs for electricity. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that draws 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 operate per day, which comes to $35 each month or $426 annually.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Need?
If your water heater runs using natural gas, you need to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and typical costs for natural gas. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours a day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which comes to $18.60 monthly or $226 annually.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can see from the examples above, gas water heaters typically cost less to operate than similar electric models because natural gas prices are likely to run lower than electricity costs. Fine-tune the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to build 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 tips.
Revise Your Hot Water Habits
Keep in mind that every time you turn on a hot water faucet, you need to pay to heat it. Modify your daily habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
- Take shorter showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Minimize pre-rinsing dishes before placing them into the dishwasher.
- Launder 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 per year. Eliminate this waste by handling plumbing leaks as soon as you notice 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. A new set of bathroom faucets must have flow rates below 1.5 gpm.
You can find 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 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 reduce the chance of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to prevent microbial growth in the tank.
In case your water heater doesn’t include 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 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 insulated jackets available at home improvement stores. 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 around the hot and cold pipes coming from the water heater to help things heat up faster at the tap.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
If your water heater is nearing the end of its life span, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is one such option. This upgrade can save as much as 34% on your water heating bills by heating 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
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning 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 carry top products from today’s best brands, including traditional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in budget. To find out more, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.