Hot water is one modern convenience most people couldn’t live without. But did you know that water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home (after heating and cooling)? It typically accounts for 18 percent of your utility bill. Storage tank water heaters work constantly to keep water hot and ready whenever you want it. But as the water sits, it naturally cools down in a process known as “standby heat loss.” When the water cools, the burner or heating element kicks on to warm it up again, in a constantly repeating cycle.
You can easily reduce the amount you spend on water heating by using less hot water and making simple adjustments to your unit.
Reduce your water heater’s temperature to 120˚F. Each 10°F reduction in water temperature will generally save 3 to 5 percent on your water heating costs. Not only will lowering the thermostat save energy, but it will also increase the life of your water heater and reduce the risk of scalding. Before adjusting your water heater’s thermostat, cut off its power at the breaker. Consider hiring a professional if you’re unsure of how to safely change your water heater’s temperature. 82376001
Wash clothes with cold water. Laundry detergent works just as well, and you can save up to 40 cents per load.
Shorten showers. A family of four showering five minutes a day uses 700 gallons of water each week — a three-year supply of drinking water for one person! By simply reducing shower time by a few minutes, you can save hundreds of gallons of hot water each month.
Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads. These are available at most home improvement stores and help reduce your hot water use. If you have older showerheads and faucets, consider replacing them now.
Insulate. Insulating your hot water pipes will reduce losses as the hot water is flowing to your faucet. By insulating your hot water pipes, water will arrive at the faucet 2 to 4 degrees warmer, which means you
won’t have to wait as long for it to heat up, thus saving energy, water and money. While this isn’t an expensive do-it-yourself project — 6-foot-long, self-sealing sleeves ($2.50) easily slip over pipes — it could take effort, depending on where your hot water pipes are located. Exposed pipes in the basement are easy targets: hard-to-reach pipes in crawl spaces or walls might be more difficult to tackle.
Check for leaks. Check hot water pipes for leaks that can drain your energy dollars. Leaky faucets not only increase water bills but also increase electricity costs for heating wasted water.
Turn off your water heater. If you plan to be away for an extended period of time, consider turning off your water heater. Even when you aren’t at home, your water heater uses energy to keep stored water warm.
Choose the right water heater. While they may promise savings, tankless models are expensive to install and may actually increase your electric bill. 37386003
WFEC works with our members to maximize your energy dollars. For us, saving starts here.