Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume 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 roughly 18% of your monthly bill. Learn how much energy a typical water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The exact cost to run an electric water heater is based on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and what you pay for electricity. For example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that draws 4500 watts and is active for two hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to work per day, which comes to $35 each month or $426 per year.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
If your water heater runs using natural gas, you have to consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and typical costs for natural gas. As an example, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for two hours each day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which is approximately $18.60 each month or $226 per year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can see from the examples above, gas water heaters typically cost less to run than equivalent electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than electric prices. Refine the calculations with your exact energy usage and rates to get a more accurate picture of gas vs. electric water heater expenses.
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
Keep in mind that each time you turn on a hot water tap, you must pay to heat it. Modify your daily habits to lower your bills. Here’s how:
- Take faster showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Minimize pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
- Launder your clothes in cold water as much as possible.
Repair Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste significant amounts of hot water. For instance, one drip per second wastes over 1,600 gallons each year. Eliminate this waste by handling plumbing leaks as soon as you discover them.
Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
Modern regulations require new showerheads to consume 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) or less while kitchen faucets are limited to 2.2 gpm. A new set of bathroom faucets must have flow rates below 1.5 gpm.
You can find quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for approximately $10 to $20 each, resulting in approximately 60% savings on water use. Search for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to maximize efficiency without negatively impacting 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 chance of scalding at the tap. Just don’t go any lower than 120 degrees to discourage microbial growth within the tank.
If your water heater doesn’t include a temperature readout, determine the setting with a thermometer at the bathroom or kitchen tap. Adjust the water heater’s dial, wait two hours and measure the water’s temperature. Repeat this process until the thermometer reaches 120 degrees.
Both electric and natural gas water heaters can be insulated with insulation jackets available at home improvement retailers. Be mindful to install the insulation correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you're unsure how to proceed, ask a professional for help. After the tank is insulated, add insulation around the hot and cold pipes coming from the water heater to help things heat up faster at the faucet.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
In case your water heater is nearing the end of its life span, think about replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is one such option. This upgrade can save approximately 34% on your water heating bills by producing hot water on demand and eliminating standby heat loss. Save energy and lower costs by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including the dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is your source for reliable, 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 carry top products from today’s best brands, including traditional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying in budget. To find out more, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.