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Don’t Get Burned By Your Water Heater


While it’s true that half the money we spend every year on utilities goes to heating and cooling air, the title of “Second-biggest Energy Hog” goes to our water heaters. We spend $400 to $600 a year heating water – that’s an average of $0.14 to $0.18 out of every energy dollar we spend.

The average household uses 64 gallons of hot water a day. So when hot water comes out of your kitchen faucet at a rate of two gallons per minute and those relaxing warm showers can send 10 gallons of hot water down the drain in just eight minutes, those gallons can add up quick!

If you really want to cut energy costs – and you’ve already upgraded your heating and air conditioning systems – you should get into hot water.

There are many no-cost and low-cost ways to improve efficiency, such as:

There are many no-cost and low-cost ways to improve efficiency, such as:

  • If you have an older water heater, wrap it in a water heater jacket and insulate the piping to discourage heat loss.
  • Lower the water heater temperature to 130 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent bacterial growth. Anything higher than that is overkill and can waste a lot of money.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible. If you must use hot water, try to restrict it to full loads only.
  • Don’t leave the water running when washing dishes by hand.
  • Take showers rather than baths whenever possible.
  • Installing low-flow showerheads and faucets can save hot water and reduce overall water usage.
  • Fix those leaks. One drip per second can cost an extra $1 per month.
  • Have your water heater serviced once a year to keep it performing efficiently.

Invest in a newer energy-efficient water heater.

If your water heater is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with a newer model. And, don’t shop for the lowest price tag. Storage-type water heaters cost less up front, but they can waste a lot of energy keeping the water in the tank at the desired temperature. Look at everything – storage, tankless, heat pump and solar models – then choose the one that fits your needs.

A good rule of thumb, especially if you’re building your home, is to compare water heater models that use different types of fuels – natural gas or electric – and see which type might save you more money in the long run.

Invest in a newer energy-efficient water heater.


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