Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use lots of hot water. In fact, the Department of Energy reports 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 scale back your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The exact cost to run an electric water heater depends on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power needs and average costs for electricity. As an example, 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 operate per day, which arrives at $35 per month or $426 per year.
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. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours per day for a price of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 monthly or $226 annually.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can see from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to use than similar electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than electricity costs. Refine 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 uses electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Your Hot Water Habits
Remember that each and every time you turn on a hot water tap, you must pay to heat it. Modify your daily habits to reduce costs. Here’s how:
- Take quicker showers.
- Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Limit pre-rinsing dishes before placing them into the dishwasher.
- Clean your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Resolve 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 each year. Eliminate this waste by fixing plumbing leaks as soon as you notice 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 find quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for around $10 to $20 each, resulting in up to 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 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 discourage microbial growth in the tank.
If the water heater doesn’t have 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 test 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 stores. Be mindful to install the insulation correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. When in doubt, ask a professional for help. After 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 the water heater is nearing the end of its life span, think about replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is a good option. This upgrade can save as much as 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
Midway Services 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 carry top products from today’s best brands, including conventional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in your budget. To get the full details, please contact your local Midway Services office today.