Water heating is the second most expensive energy cost in the average home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it accounts for nearly 20 percent of your annual utility bill. Although replacing old hot water heaters with newer, more efficient models is an option, the cost is simply too much for most homeowners. With that in mind, here are five simple tips that will help you reduce your energy usage for less.
Tip 1: Lower The Thermostat(s)
Even though it’s way too hot for residential use, most manufacturers still set their models to 140°F. This overheating is a tremendous waste of energy that can be corrected by simply lowering the thermostat down to 120°F on the standard unit. Please note that many electric versions have two thermostats — one for the upper and one for the lower heating element. Both should be lowered to the same temperature to save money and prevent premature wear to either element.
Tip 2: Install Low-Flow Showerheads
Even though they’re more efficient than baths, a lot of H2O is wasted during a shower. Replacing your old showerheads with low-flow models can cut your hot water usage in half. For homeowners with large families, making the switch could pay for itself in no time. It should also be mentioned that low-flow showerheads have more than enough power do the job.
Tip 3: Add Insulation
One of the cheapest, most effective ways to prevent heat loss from your home unit is to cover the tank and the pipes connected to it with insulation. This will prevent the scalding H2O in these areas from cooling down too quickly and having to be reheated. It should be noted that some manufacturer’s labels advise against covering their equipment. If you decide to disregard these instructions, you could void the warranty.
Tip 4: Repair Leaky Faucets
In addition to being incredibly annoying, a leaky faucet or showerhead can be expensive, especially if it’s heated. More often than not, these issues can be addressed by the homeowner. If, however, the problem is in the pipes, it is important to contact a licensed plumber quickly. Long-term leaks that cause significant H2O loss can cause hot water heaters to work much harder than they should.
Tip 5: Install A Timer
Because they run all the time, traditional hot water heaters can be incredibly wasteful. Although based on their predecessors, electric versions give homeowners the ability to control heating periods. Putting in a timer will enable you to automatically turn on the hot H2O in the morning and turn it off at night, when not in use. This simple, relatively inexpensive addition often pays for itself in less than a year. Automatic timers are also incredibly convenient for homeowners who travel a lot. Because start and stop times can be programmed, users no longer have to shut off their entire system every time they leave on a short trip.