By Dave Rongey Summary: Keep Your Energy Bill Out of Hot Water. Water heating can be expensive, but there are a number of ways to lower your costs One way is to use less water.Tips to help you save on hot water heating. Water heating can be expensive, but there are a number of ways to lower your costs One way is to use less water.
Repair leaky faucets immediately and use low-flow shower heads. (A family of four, each showering for five minutes a day, uses 700 gallons of water a week; you can cut that amount in half by using low-flow aerating showerheads.)
Insulate your hot-water storage tank and pipes, and drain a quart of water from your water tank every three months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater (follow the manufacturer's instructions).
Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees; water heaters sometimes come from the factory with higher temperature settings than are necessary.
When buying a new water heater, compare Energy Guide labels to find an energy-efficient model.
Water heating is the third largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 13% of your utility bill. There are four 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 water heater.
Water Heating Tips
Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
Lower the thermostat on your water heater; water heaters sometimes come from the factory with high temperature settings, but a setting of 120°F provides comfortable hot water for most uses.
Take more showers than baths. Bathing uses the most hot water in the average household.
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 Appliances for more information.
Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss. Some 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. The type of water tank you have determines the steps to take, so follow the manufacturer's advice.
Although most water heaters last 10-15 years, it's best to start shopping 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 Tip: 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 Guide label.
$ Long-Term Savings Tip: Consider installing a drain water waste heat recovery system. A recent DOE study showed energy savings of 25% to about 30% for water heating using such a system.
$ Long-Term Savings Tip: Consider natural-gas on-demand or thankless water heaters. Researchers have found savings can be up to 30% compared with a standard natural-gas storage tank water heater.
$ Long-Term Savings Tip: Heat pump water heaters are very economical in some areas.
Solar Water Heaters
If you heat water with electricity, have high electric rates, and have an un shaded, south-facing location (such as a roof) on your property, consider installing a solar water heater. The solar units are environmentally friendly and can now be installed on your roof to blend with the architecture of your house. More than 1.5 million homes and businesses in the United States have invested in solar water heating systems, and surveys indicate over 94% of these customers consider the systems a good investment. Solar water heating systems are also good for the environment. Solar water heaters avoid the harmful greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity production. During a 20-year period, one solar water heater can avoid over 50 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. When shopping for a solar water heater, look for systems certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation or the Florida Solar Energy Center.
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Home Energy Savings Projects
Home Energy Saving may result from installing many 120 volt devices such as energy efficient light fixtures, dimmer switches, occupancy sensor switches, etc..
Electrical Project Skill Level:
Beginner to Intermediate. Electrical Tools Required:
Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a non-aluminum ladder where required, and Voltage Tester. Estimated Time:
This will depend on the personal level experience, ability to work with tools and access to the device to be wired. Electrical Safety:
Identify any electrical circuit where work will be performed, turn the circuit OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring. Energy Savings Parts and Materials:
Electrical parts and materials for home wiring projects should be approved for the specific project and compliant with local and national electrical codes.
Electrical Codes and Inspections:
Installing additional home electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected. Note:
Large 240 volt equipment may be replaced with energy efficient units in cooperation with rebate programs offered by your local electric utility company when available. This equipment should be installed by a certified of licensed contractor.
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