Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use lots of hot water. In fact, the Department of Energy says that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for roughly 18% of your monthly bill. Find out more about 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 precise cost to run an electric water heater is determined by the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power requirements and average costs for electricity. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 4500 watts and is active for just two hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to run per day, which arrives at $35 monthly or $426 each year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Need?
If your water heater runs on natural gas, you have to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay 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 each day at a rate of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which comes to $18.60 each month or $226 each year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can conclude from the examples above, gas water heaters typically cost less to use than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than electricity costs. Fine-tune the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to create a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater expenses.
Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills
Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can cut your utility costs with these money-saving suggestions.
Change Up Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that each time you turn on a hot water tap, you have to pay to heat it. Modify your day-to-day 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 loading them into the dishwasher.
- Launder your clothes in cold water as much as possible.
Repair Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant quantities of hot water. For example, one drip per second wastes over 1,600 gallons per year. Eliminate this waste by fixing 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. A new set of 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 as much as 60% savings on water use. Look for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize efficiency without negatively impacting performance.
Turn Down the Water Heater Temperature
The standard setting is 140 degrees. Lower this to 120 degrees to save on water heating costs and reduce the risk of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to prevent microbial growth within the tank.
If the 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 insulated jackets available at home improvement retailers. Be mindful to install the insulation correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you're not sure how to proceed, ask a professional for help. When 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 tap.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
In case your water heater is getting close to 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 approximately 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 the dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is your source for dependable, affordable water heater services in North America. Our highly trained technicians can fulfill any water heater repair or replacement request that comes our way. We carry 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.