How Much Energy Does a Water Heater Use? 

Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances use lots of hot water. As a matter of fact, the Department of Energy states that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for approximately 18% of your monthly bill. Learn how much energy a typical water heater uses and helpful tips to decrease your water heating costs.

How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?

The total cost to run an electric water heater depends on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power requirements and local costs for electricity. For example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 4500 watts and is active for 2 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 per year.

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

If your water heater runs on natural gas, you need to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and the price for natural gas. For example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for a couple of hours per day for a price of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is roughly $18.60 monthly or $226 each year.

Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs

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

Tips to Reduce Your Water Heating Bills

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

Change Your Hot Water Habits

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

    • Take shorter showers.
    • Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
    • Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
    • Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible.

Repair Plumbing Leaks

Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant quantities of hot water. For instance, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons each year. Eliminate this waste by repairing plumbing leaks as soon as you discover 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 about $10 to $20 each, resulting in approximately 60% savings on water use. Try to find the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize efficiency without negatively influencing 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 lower the possibility of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to avoid microbial growth in the tank.

If your 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 reads 120 degrees.

Add Insulation

Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with special jackets available at home improvement retailers. Be careful to install the jacket correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you’re not sure how to proceed, ask a professional for help. After the tank is insulated, add insulation to your 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, consider 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 heating water on demand and cutting out standby heat loss. Save even more by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including your dishwasher and washing machine.

Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is your source for dependable, 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 work with top products from today’s best brands, including traditional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying within budget. To get the full details, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.

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