How Much Energy Does a Water Heater Use? 

Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use a lot 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. Discover how much energy the 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 depends on 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 needs 4500 watts and is active for two hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to work per day, which arrives at $35 each month or $426 annually.

How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?

If your water heater runs using natural gas, you need 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 per day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 monthly or $226 each year.

Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs

As you can determine from the examples above, gas water heaters usually cost less to use than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices tend to run lower than the price of electricity. Fine-tune the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to create a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater costs.

Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills

Whether your water heater runs on electricity or gas, you can lower your utility costs with these money-saving suggestions.

Change Up Your Hot Water Habits

Consider that each and every time you turn on a hot water tap, you need to pay to heat it. Modify your daily habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:

    • Take quicker 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 whenever possible.

Seal Plumbing Leaks

Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large quantities of hot water. For example, one drip per second can waste as much as 1,600 gallons each year. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you identify them.

Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads

Modern rules 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 approximately 60% savings on water use. Look for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize efficiency without negatively influencing 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 lower the chance of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to prevent microbial growth inside the tank.

If your 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 measure the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer reads 120 degrees.

Add Insulation

Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with special jackets available at home improvement stores. Be careful 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 to the hot and cold pipes coming from the water heater to help things heat up faster at the faucet.

Buy More Efficient Equipment

If 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 one such option. This upgrade can save approximately 34% on your water heating bills by producing hot water on demand and cutting out standby heat loss. Save even more 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 & Plumbing is your source for reliable, 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 offer top products from today’s best brands, including traditional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in budget. To get the full details, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.

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