Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume plenty of hot water. Believe it or not, 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. Learn 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 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. For example, 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 run per day, which approaches $35 each month or $426 annually.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
If your water heater runs on natural gas, you must consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and typical costs 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 each day at a rate of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 each month or $226 annually.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can conclude from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to use than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than electric prices. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to get a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater expenses.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills
Whether your water heater runs using electricity or gas, you can trim your utility costs with these money-saving suggestions.
Change Your Hot Water Habits
Keep in mind that each and every time you turn on a hot water faucet, you must pay to heat it. Modify your daily habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
- Take shorter showers.
- Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Minimize pre-rinsing dishes before you load them into the dishwasher.
- Clean your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Resolve Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant quantities of hot water. For example, one drip per second adds up to more than 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. New bathroom faucets must have flow rates below 1.5 gpm.
You can buy quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for approximately $10 to $20 each, resulting in up to 60% savings on water use. Try to find the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize 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 lower the chance of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to discourage 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 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 special jackets available at home improvement stores. Be careful to install the insulation correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you're unsure how to proceed, ask a professional for help. After 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
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 another option. This upgrade can save approximately 34% on your water heating bills by generating hot water on demand and eliminating standby heat loss. Save even more by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including your dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
All American Air Service Experts 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 All American Air Service Experts office today.