In the average home, water heating accounts for approximately 18 percent of total annual energy consumption, which makes the water heater the third largest energy-using appliance. If your goal is to lower consumption and reduce water heating bills, try these simple and effective strategies.
Adjust the Water Heater’s Thermostat
Most manufacturers set the thermostat at 140 degrees, which not only uses extra energy, but it also increases the risk of scalding. Lowering the setting to 120 degrees can save you as much as 10 percent on water heating costs and make scalds less likely.
Install an Insulated Blanket
Depending on the age of your water heater, it may need extra insulation. If you’re not sure of its age, touch the tank. If it feels warm, adding an insulated blanket is a worthwhile investment to curb costly heat loss. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be careful not to cover the thermostat or burner compartment during installation.
Insulate Hot and Cold Water Pipes
Cover the first six feet of both pipes coming off the tank with inexpensive insulated foam pipe sleeves. If your older tank doesn’t have heat traps to prevent convection and hot water losses, have them installed. Newer water heaters typically already have heat traps incorporated into the hot and cold water supply line fittings.
Control Sediment Buildup
Sediment and scale accumulations can inhibit heat transfer and increase your energy costs significantly. You can’t prevent sediment from forming, but you can flush it out by draining the tank two or three times a year according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Stop Hot Water Waste
To save 25 to 60 percent on your hot water consumption, regularly check for water leaks and dripping faucets or shower heads and fix them promptly. Install efficient, low-flow faucets and shower heads too, or equip your existing fixtures with inexpensive aerators.
Upgrade to an On-Demand Water Heater
If your tank-style water heater is over seven years old, consider upgrading to a on-demand, tankless unit to eliminate expensive, wasteful standby heat losses.
To learn more ways to reduce water heating bills in your Grand Traverse County home, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about water heating bills and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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