Remember when buying a water heater was sort of…uncomplicated? Now the options are plentiful, with electric, natural gas, oil, propane, tankless, and solar models available in all types, shapes, and sizes. No matter what type of water heater you have, there are lots of ways to save both energy and money. Let’s take a look at a few.
Insulate Your Water Heater
Even if your water heater isn’t actively working to bring you hot water, it’s still storing that hot water until you need it. If the walls of the tank aren’t insulated well enough, it can lose some of that heat. Covering it with a special water heater blanket or jacket can help reduce that heat loss by 25%-45% and can save 7%-16% annually on your water heating bill.
Reduce Hot Water Demand
This isn’t necessarily a matter of taking shorter, cooler showers. There are lots of possible culprits of water waste. Check your water heater for leaks. If it’s leaking, it’ll need to be replaced. Check for and repair any leaky faucets, which can wastes gallons of water a month. Update your shower head. Shower heads manufactured before 1992 can use up to 6 to 10 gallons per minute. Switching to a low flow shower head is a quick and easy way to save hot water and money. Upgrade to Energy Star appliances like dishwashers and clothes washers.
Lower the Temperature
Bumping the temperature on your water heater down just a tad can add up to some pretty good savings. Lower it to about 120ºF as a start. For every 10ºF reduction you make, you can save about 3%-5% on water heating costs.
Insulate Water Pipes
You don’t need to insulate every single foot of hot water piping throughout the house. We’re just talking about the first five to ten feet from the water heater. Spend as little as $10 on materials for this easy project, and save about 3%-4% annually. Find simple instructions for insulating hot water pipes here.
Purchase an Upgrade
If your water heater is more than ten years old, it’s probably not too efficient anymore. If it hasn’t already started to give you problems, it will soon. Time for an upgrade! Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, don’t store hot water, which means they don’t have any standby heat loss like a traditional water heater might. Instead, they heat water whenever you need it and remain inactive when hot water isn’t being used. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when deciding to purchase a tankless water heater, so do your research first.