In most American homes, water heating consumes up to 25 percent of regular expenditures on energy. Hot water for cooking, cleaning, and bathing is considered an essential component in American households, which means there will always be a need to spend money for hot water. However, there are some ways to reduce water heating costs that can trim monthly bills by a substantial percentage. Here are five techniques you can use to reduce water heating costs monthly while also maintaining plenty of hot water for your everyday needs.
1. Reduce Hot Water Usage
Simple conservation is the easiest and quickest way to reduce hot water expenses. Conservation does not mean depriving yourself and your family of enough hot water to take care of cleaning, bathing and cooking tasks. Instead, it means using hot water more efficiently and reducing waste that can drive up your bills while leaving you with less hot water to use.
- Install low-flow faucets, sink aerators and fixtures: Low-flow faucets, shower heads and other fixtures reduce the amount of hot water flow while still allowing plenty of water for the task at hand.
- Don’t run hot water when it’s not being used: Turn off hot water during cleaning or bathing tasks that don’t immediately require water. For example, if you are rinsing dishes, don’t leave the hot water running while you go to the table for another pile of dishes and utensils to clean. Don’t let hot water run continually while shaving; only turn the hot water on when you need to rinse your razor or wet a face cloth.
- Decrease hot water usage on common tasks: Use less hot water for everyday tasks such as cleaning, laundry, bathing, or cooking. See if your dishwasher or clothes washer has a lower setting you can use to decrease the amount of hot water used during the process. Wash clothes and dishes in cold water whenever possible. Do not pre-rinse dishes and utensils that will be put in an automated dishwasher.
2. Lower Thermostat Settings
Household tasks can be done with hot water at a lower temperature. Turning down the thermostat at the water heater will significantly reduce your ongoing hot water costs while still providing water a temperature that is appropriate for proper cleaning and sanitation. Set the water heater thermostat at 120 degrees. This produces water that is sufficiently hot for almost any household task. The lower temperature will also reduce the chances of accidental scalds from higher-temperature water.
3. Drain the Water Heater Tank
Sediment and build-up of solid matter in the water heater tank can reduce the heater’s efficiency and make it more difficult to reduce water heating costs. Regular draining of the tank will help keep sediment from accumulating and will help the water heater run more efficiently. You can drain and flush the tank yourself or hire a plumbing professional to do it for you. Follow manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for tank draining. A complete draining of the tank may not be necessary to get good results. The U. S. Department of Energy suggests draining a quart of water out of the tank every three months to keep the tank clean and the heater working properly.
4. Insulate Hot Water Pipes
As water travels through the pipes to your kitchen, bathroom, garage, or other area, it can lose significant amounts of heat energy through the material of the pipes themselves. Your local hardware store, home improvement center, or plumbing supply store should have pre-made insulating sheaths that can be wrapped around water pipes. Alternatively, you could wrap the pipes with standard blanket insulation.
5. Insulate the Water Heater and Tank
As hot water sits in the tank before being used, it cools off and loses heat energy. This often means that water has to be heated more than once to keep it at the temperature you prefer. You can insulate the water heater and tank to cut down on the amount of heat loss in stored water. Other styles of insulating sheaths should be available to insulate the heater and tank. It may be better to have a professional contractor apply this type of insulation to ensure that controls, electrical connections, exhaust outlets, air inlets, thermostats and other components are not covered.
Pioneer Comfort Systems provides expert HVAC services to residential and commercial clients throughout the Shreveport, Bossier City and Natchitoches areas. Contact us today for more information on how to reduce water heating costs and trim your monthly energy expenses.
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