Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use a lot of hot water. As a matter of fact, the Department of Energy says that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for approximately 18% of your monthly bill. Learn 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 total cost to run an electric water heater depends on the square footage 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 comes to $35 monthly or $426 annually.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
If your water heater uses natural gas, you have to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and the price for natural gas. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for a couple of hours per day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which comes to $18.60 monthly or $226 per year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can determine from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to run than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than electric prices. Fine-tune 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 runs using electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Up Your Hot Water Habits
Keep in mind that each time you turn on a hot water tap, you have to pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day habits to help with energy bills. Here’s how:
- Take shorter showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before you load them into the dishwasher.
- Launder your clothes in cold water as much as possible.
Repair Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large amounts of hot water. For example, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons annually. Eliminate this waste by fixing plumbing leaks as soon as you discover them.
Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
Modern laws 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 about $10 to $20 each, resulting in up to 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 prevent microbial growth inside the tank.
If your water heater doesn’t include 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 check 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 retailers. Be mindful to install the insulation correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. When in doubt, ask a professional for help. Once 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 getting close to the end of its life span, look at 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 heating water on demand and eliminating 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
A-PLUS 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 offer top products from today’s best brands, including conventional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying within budget. To learn more, please contact your local A-PLUS Service Experts office today.