As with many of our systems which consume energy there is always something more we can do to reduce energy consumption to save ourselves money. Water heaters consume up to 15% of our energy budget and even more if you have an older water heater. You can take steps to reduce the money you spend on heating water and save this money on water heater savings that you would otherwise pay to the utilities.
Hot Water Heater Savings Tips - Saving Money with Water Heaters
Many utility companies will also help you with energy savings although the list here is comprehensive you still may want to call the local utility as they may offer you rebates on your power bill for initiating some the things on this list or may offer you a rebate for upgrading your energy consuming appliances to a more efficient system including the water heater. You’ll want to start with the basics and work your way up.
Hot Water Heater Savings Tips - Water Heater Energy Savings Tips List
- Turn the thermostat down on the water heater. A good comfortable setting for hot water is 120° F. This temperature will give you a comfortable temperature for hot water without scalding you and it will save you money especially if the thermostat on the hot water heater is set to 130° F. or more when you make the change. Depending on the type of hot water heater you have and the type of fuel the hot water heater uses to heat the water will depend on the savings you realize by turning the thermostat down on the hot water heater. If you have an electric hot water heater it may have two thermostats. Turn the power off to the hot water heater at the breaker and remove the access panels on the hot water heater. You should see a thermostat which indicates temperature. Set the thermostats to the same setting. If you do not know how to do this consult a plumber or HVAC professional.
Maintenance and Upkeep of Old/Broken Systems
- Do you have any leaking faucets or pipes? If so have these repaired immediately as this is definitely a waste of energy which is easily repaired. Inspect the complete hot water piping system in the crawl space and anywhere else you can access the piping system. Check for drips at the joints in all piping systems you can access. Many parts of the piping system are inaccessible as these pipes run inside walls and voids with no access, however, near the bathtub, there is usually an access called the water closet. Take a look at the access panel and look for leaks or drips. If you see this consult with a plumber about having these leaks repaired. This is especially important because many leaks and drips will cause water damage to your home. You can also experience mold and mildew problems which can have negative effects on our health.
- Install low-flow heads on in your shower and spigots. If you have a low flow head in your shower you will consume 8 to 12 gallons of water for every 5 minutes you are in the shower depending on the flow rate of the shower head. Encourage your children and especially teenagers to take quick showers. A quick shower would be 5 to 10 minutes which is plenty of time to wash. I had a customer who wanted me to install an 80-gallon water heater because she said her daughter, a teenager, kept complaining of running out of hot water when she was showering. She had a 40-gallon tank and a low flow showerhead and I observed no problems with her hot water heating system which would indicate a limitation to the hot water except extended use. The girl was staying in the shower for over thirty minutes. Totally unnecessary to simply wash oneself. Once again, encourage children and especially teenagers to take quick showers.
- Insulate the hot water heater and the piping for the hot water heater. Special insulating blankets can be purchased for different sizes and types of water heaters. Many different types of piping insulation are available at your local hardware store. Ask your local hardware store service desk what would be the best for you. First, you want to measure the pipe length and diameter so that you purchase the right amount and size of the pipe. In residential, the average pipe diameter for hot water pipes is a ½ inch and ¾ inch. The length will depend on the amount of hot water pipe which is exposed. On gas or oil fired water heaters ensure that you keep the insulation at least 6 inches away from the flue pipe to prevent insulation from catching on fire. The insulation blankets for gas or oil fired water heaters should not have tops of the waters covered and care should be taken not to prevent combustion air from reaching the fire. Do not cover the gas valve or any panels which give access to the burners.
Heat Recovery/Heat Traps
- Heat recovery drains can save you money but if you live in an existing home can be very costly to install. If you are building a new home then it is wise to consider having heat recovery drains installed to capture the heat from hot water which goes down the drain.
- Install heat traps in the piping on top of water heater. Heat traps prevent the migration of hot water throughout the cold and hot water pipes that naturally occur through convection flow.
Age of Equipment Versus Modern Technology and Efficiency
- If you have a water heater that is more than 7 years old you may want to consider upgrading to a newer more efficient model. The cost of the new water heater can be recovered with the savings realized by having the high efficient hot water heater model installed.
- Consider having the conventional tank system replaced by a tankless water heater. The benefits of having a tankless water heater are:
- They provide an unlimited supply of hot water which means no waiting for the hot water system to heat the water in the tank so you can take a shower even after all the teenagers in the house took their showers.
- The lower operational cost which means a lower utility bill.
- They take up less space than a conventional hot water system which utilizes a tank.
- They last longer than a conventional hot water heater with a tank.
- They are on-demand which is good for energy savings. You only use the hot water you need when you need the hot water.
- If it is installed properly the wait for hot water when the hot water spigot is turned on is almost instantaneous.
- You could also look into getting a solar water heater or heat pump water heater installed although these systems are costly to install over the long run you will recoup the money spent by saving on your power bill. The power company may even give you a rebate for having this kind of energy saving appliances installed in your home or business which will give you even more savings and help you recoup the installation costs faster.
Hot Water Heater Savings Tips - Conclusion
Some of the water heater energy savings tips on this list will not cost you anything but time and little effort while others say some things on this list will cost you a lot of money to initiate. Actually, everything on this list will save you money in the long run even if there are some high upfront costs involved. Take action now and save for the future.
Hot Water Heater Savings Tips
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