Keep Your Energy Bills Out of Hot Water. Insulate your water heater to save energy and money, or choose an on-demand hot water heater to save even more.
Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 18% of your utility bill.
There are four significant ways to cut your water heating bills:
- use less hot water,
- turn down the thermostat on your water heater,
- insulate your water heater,
- or buy a new, more efficient model.
OTHER WATER HEATING TIPS
- Install aerating, low-flow faucets and shower-heads.
- Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
- Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F to get comfortable hot water for most uses.
- Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank but be careful not to cover the thermostat. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Insulate your natural gas or oil hot-water storage tank but be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations; when in doubt, get professional help.
- Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
- If you are in the market for a new dishwasher or clothes washer, consider buying an efficient, water-saving ENERGY STAR® model to reduce hot water use. See the Appliances section for more information.
- Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss. Most new water heaters have built-in heat traps.
- Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. Follow the manufacturer’s directions.
- Although most water heaters last 10-15 years, it’s best to start shopping now for a new one if yours is more than 7 years old. Doing some research before your heater fails will enable you to select one that most appropriately meets your needs.
LONG-TERM SAVINGS TIPS
- Buy a new energy-efficient water heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance. Look for the ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels. You can find the ENERGY STAR label on efficient water heaters in the following categories: high-efficiency gas non-condensing, gas condensing, electric heat pump, gas tankless, and solar.
- Consider natural gas on-demand or tankless water heaters, which heat water directly without using a storage tank. Researchers have found energy savings can be up to 30% compared with a standard natural gas storage tank water heater.
- Consider installing a drain-water waste heat recovery system. Drain-water, or greywater, heat recovery systems capture the energy from waste hot water — such as showers and dishwashers — to preheat cold water entering the water heater or going to other water fixtures. Energy savings vary depending on individual household usage.
- Heat pump water heaters can be very cost-effective in some areas. They typically use 50% less electricity to heat water than conventional electric water heaters. If your water heater is located in your basement, it will also provide de-humidification in the summer months. However, this technology can pose some installation challenges, so you should consult with an installer before you purchase one.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
- Use a GREEN certified REALTOR who has the expertise to educate future buyers on the merits of the upgrades
- Keep copies of utilities to show before and after savings to quantify any upgrade into savings per month and prominently advertise these savings
- Quantify the reduction in carbon output even if there isn’t a dollar amount associated with it and promote this activity
- Invest early in home ownership to capture the highest return on your investment
- Buy homes that others have already invested energy-efficiency upgrades into
CHECK OUT THESE OTHER POSTS ON ROI FOR WATER HEATERS:
AVERAGE HOT WATER USAGE
|Activity||Gallons per Use|
|Kitchen faucet flow||2 per minute|
|Bathroom faucet flow||.05 per minute|
|Total daily average||64|
Source: Federal Energy Management Program Energy Cost Calculator, March 2010
Tankless Hot Water Heater ~ A Green Home Feature