Water Heating Energy Tips

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Water heating is the third largest energy expense in your home, typically making up about 16% of your utility bill. Four ways to cut your bills for heating water are to use less hot water, turn down the water heater thermostat, insulate your water heater, or buy a new, more efficient water heater.

Here are some more specific energy savings tips:

  • Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators.
  • Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short time.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater. Water heaters sometimes come from the factory with high temperature settings, but a setting of 120 degrees F provides comfortable hot water for most uses.
  • Take more showers than baths. You use 15–25 gallons of hot water for a bath, but less than 10 gallons during a 5-minute shower.
  • Insulate your water heater. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Insulate the first six feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
  • Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss. Some new water heaters have built-in heat traps.
  • Drain a quart of water from your water tank every three months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and reduces the efficiency of your heater. The type of water tank you have determines the steps to take, so follow the manufacturer’s advice.

Long-Term Savings Tips for Water Heating

  • Buy a new energy-efficient water heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard unit, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance. If your current water heater is electric, consider switching to a natural gas one if gas is available.
  • If you are buying a new dishwasher or clothes washer, buy an efficient, water-saving model to reduce hot water use.
  • Consider installing a drain water waste heat recovery system.
  • Consider demand or tankless water heaters, which reduce energy use up to 34% compared with a standard electric unit.
  • If it makes sense for your location and energy use, consider installing a solar water heater. The solar units are environmentally friendly, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by over 50 tons over 20 years.

Additional Energy Saving Tip: A family of four, each showering for 5 minutes a day, uses 700 gallons of water a week, enough for a 3-year supply of drinking water for one person. You can cut that amount in half simply by using low-flow shower heads.

For further information please check out the Consumer’s Guide to Water Heating just click the link to view.

Updated: January 23, 2013 — 3:42 am

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