Traditional water heaters are inefficient devices that keep water hot and ready for you, even if you aren’t home or won’t be needing any hot water for hours. More energy-efficient tankless water heaters are a better choice for many homes, but they can be expensive and require professional installation.
Still, it’s possible to save money on your electric bill or reduce your gas bill by taking a few simple steps to make sure your hot water usage is as efficient as possible.
Here are seven tips for reducing your water-heating costs.
1. Set your water heater at 120 degrees. While some plumbers set water heaters at up to 140 degrees, a lower setting saves you energy. You probably won’t notice the difference either. If your household consists of only one or two people, a setting of 115 degrees may work fine.
2. Install a water heater blanket. If your home has a traditional tank water heater, heat radiates from it causing it to work harder and allowing heat to escape into your home. A water heater blanket cuts the heat loss. Your utility company may even offer a rebate if you install a water heater blanket.
3. Insulate hot water lines. You can’t easily get to water lines in your walls, but you can insulate all exposed hot water lines, including those that come out of the water heater.
4. Drain sediment to improve performance. Depending on your water type, varying amounts of sediment can build up in your water heater, decreasing its efficiency. Drain a gallon or two of water from it every year to get out the sediment.
5. Fix leaking faucets. Faucets are just as likely to leak hot water as cold, so fix them so they don’t leak at all and you’ll be saving one way or another.
6. Make showers smarter. It’s best to limit showers to 5 to 7 minutes, but some people aren’t willing to manage with a shower that short. No matter how long the shower is, however, installing a low-flow showerhead that sprays less than two gallons of water per minute will reduce hot water usage.
7. Turn the water off when not needed. There’s no reason to run hot water down the drain while brushing teeth, shaving or rinsing dishes. Turning the faucet on and off as needed can cut water usage during these activities can dramatically reduce hot water usage.
None of these tips for reducing hot water costs are difficult to implement, and they don’t have much of a negative impact on daily life, either. Nevertheless, these seven simple things can noticeably reduce hot water usage and increase water-heating efficiency, saving you money every day.
There’s no reason to waste money or resources when there are simple ways to be more responsible.