Your faucets, showerheads and plumbing appliances consume lots of hot water. Believe it or not, the Department of Energy says that water heating is the second-largest utility cost behind space heating and cooling, accounting for roughly 18% of your monthly bill. Find out more about how much energy the average water heater uses and helpful tips to reduce your water heating costs.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Water Heater Use?
The precise cost to run an electric water heater depends on the square footage of the unit, how much you use it, its power requirements and average costs for electricity. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that draws 4500 watts and is active for just two hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to operate per day, which comes to $35 each month or $426 annually.
How Much Natural Gas Does a Gas-Fired Water Heater Use?
If your water heater runs on natural gas, you must consider the size of the unit, how much you use it, its power draw and the price for natural gas. For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses .205 therms per hour and is active for a couple of hours a day at a cost of $1 per therm costs about $0.62 to operate per day, which comes to $18.60 monthly or $226 each year.
Gas vs. Electric Water Heater Costs
As you can conclude from the examples above, gas water heaters generally cost less to run than comparable electric models because natural gas prices have a tendency to run lower than the price of electricity. Fine-tune 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 on electricity or gas, you can trim your utility costs with these money-saving tips.
Change Your Hot Water Habits
Consider that every time you turn on a hot water faucet, you have to pay to heat it. Modify your everyday habits to reduce costs. Here’s how:
- Take shorter showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Minimize pre-rinsing dishes before placing them into the dishwasher.
- Clean your clothes in cold water as much as possible.
Seal Plumbing Leaks
Leaky faucets, showerheads and pipes can waste large amounts of hot water. For instance, one drip per second adds up to more than 1,600 gallons annually. Eliminate this waste by handling plumbing leaks as soon as you notice them.
Install Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
Modern laws 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 buy quality, low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures for about $10 to $20 each, resulting in as much as 60% savings on water use. Look for the ENERGY STAR® WaterSense label to increase 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 avoid microbial growth in the tank.
If the water heater doesn’t have 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 insulated jackets available at home improvement stores. Be mindful to install the insulation correctly to avoid creating a dangerous operating situation. If you're not sure how to proceed, ask a professional for help. When the tank is insulated, add insulation to your hot and cold pipes coming from the water heater to help things heat up faster at the faucet.
Buy More Efficient Equipment
If your water heater is approaching the end of its life span, think about replacing it with an ENERGY STAR-rated model. A tankless water heater is another option. This upgrade can save up to 34% on your water heating bills by heating water on demand and cutting out standby heat loss. Save even more by replacing your hot water appliances with high-efficiency models, including your dishwasher and washing machine.
Schedule Water Heater Services with an Expert
Comfort Masters Service Experts is your source for dependable, affordable water heater services in North America. Our highly trained technicians can fulfill any water heater repair or replacement request that comes our way. We offer top products from today’s best brands, including traditional tanks as well as tankless models, to suit your needs while staying within budget. To get the full details, please contact your local Comfort Masters Service Experts office today.