Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume plenty of hot water. As a matter of fact, the Department of Energy reports that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for roughly 18% of your monthly bill. Find out more about how much energy the 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 square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power requirements and what you pay for electricity. As an 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 arrives at $35 monthly or $426 each year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
If your water heater runs on natural gas, you need 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 two hours each day at a rate 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 determine from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to run than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than the price of electricity. Refine 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 uses electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving suggestions.
Revise Your Hot Water Habits
Keep in mind that each time you turn on a hot water tap, you must pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
- Take faster showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
- Launder your clothes in cold water if possible.
Resolve Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant quantities of hot water. For example, one drip per second can waste as much as 1,600 gallons annually. Eliminate this waste by handling plumbing leaks as soon as you discover 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 about $10 to $20 each, resulting in approximately 60% savings on water use. Try to find the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to increase efficiency without negatively impacting 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 lower the risk of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to prevent microbial growth inside the tank.
If your 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 reaches 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulated jackets available at home improvement stores. Be mindful 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 faucet.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
In case 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 a good option. This upgrade can save up to 34% on your water heating bills by producing hot water on demand and eliminating 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
Jack Nelson Service Experts is your source for dependable, 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 Jack Nelson Service Experts office today.