How to Reduce Your Water Heater's Energy Use
Published: June 20, 2013
Water heating is the second largest energy hog in your home, accounting for 14% to 18% of your household's total energy costs - between $400 and $600 per year. (Heating and cooling (http://www.houselogic.com/maintenance-repair/preventative-home-maintenance/heating-cooling/) is the #1 energy hog.)
Here are 5 tips to trim your water heating costs:
#1 Turn Down the Tank's Thermostat
For every 10 degrees you turn it down, you'll save 3% to 5% on your bill. Most water heaters come preset at 140 degrees, which has the added risk of scalding. The Energy Department recommends most households lower it to 120 degrees. That's high enough for your needs, and high enough to reduce mineral buildup in your tank and pipes.
Keep in mind that some water heaters have two thermostats - one for the bottom heating element and one for the top.
Simply by installing low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators ($10 to $20 each), you'll cut your hot water consumption by 25% to 60%. Plus, you'll save on your water bill. That family of four using low-flow fixtures can save 14,000 gallons of water a year.
Also, make sure you use the "economy" setting on your dishwasher (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/appliances/dishwasher-buying-guide/), and break the pre-washing habit. Modern dishwashers can handle a dirty dish. Scrape what's left of dinner into the trash or compost bin and then load.
Related: Low-Flow Isn't What It Used to Be (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/plumbing/ultra-low-flow-shower-heads-more-less/)
Related: How to Care for Your Water Heater (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/water-heaters/water-heater-maintenance/)
With these older models, an insulating blanket can cut heat loss by 25% to 45% and save 4% to 9% on the average water-heating bill (source: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (http://aceee.org/consumer/water-heating#minimize) ).