How Much Energy Does a Water Heater Use?
Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use a lot of hot water. In 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. Discover how much energy an average water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The exact cost to run an electric water heater is based on the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay for electricity. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 4500 watts and is active for 2 hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to run per day, which comes to $35 each month or $426 per year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
If your water heater uses natural gas, you must consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay for natural gas. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours each day for a price of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 monthly or $226 each year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can determine from the examples above, gas water heaters typically cost less to operate than similar electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than electric prices. 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 on electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Your Hot Water Habits
Keep in mind that every time you turn on a hot water tap, you need to pay to heat it. Modify your daily habits to reduce costs. Here’s how:
- Take shorter showers.
- Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before you load them into the dishwasher.
- Wash your clothes in cold water as much as possible.
Resolve Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant amounts of hot water. For instance, one drip per second can waste as much as 1,600 gallons annually. 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. 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 approximately 60% savings on water use. Search for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize 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 minimize the chance of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to discourage microbial growth within the tank.
If 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 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 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. Once 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 faucet.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
If the water heater is nearing the end of its life span, think about replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is another option. This upgrade can save up to 34% on your water heating bills by generating hot water on demand and getting rid of standby heat loss. Save energy and lower costs by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including your dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Robinson 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 offer 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 Robinson Service Experts office today.