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Water Heater Efficiency Measures for Huge Energy Savings

Monday, February 2nd, 2015 by Danny Peterson


Do you know that you can reduce your water heating bill with effortless changes in mindset and habits? Anyone sincerely looking for ways to save energy and money can always find ways to do it. Here are some quick and easy tips to increase your water heating efficiency and reduce your monthly energy bill:

  1. Reducing hot water use is the easiest way to cut your energy bill.

Think about your household’s hot water consumption. How many gallons a month do you use for each activity - showers, baths, toilet flushing, dish washing, laundry, food preparation, and house cleaning? Now, do you really need hot water for all these activities? Maybe you can wash the dishes, do the laundry and clean the house with cold water. Be mindful about your usage and you can dramatically slash your utility bill.

  1. Decrease the temperature to 120 F but not lower than 110 F.

This is a common advice many people ignore. Study your heater’s instructional manual and learn how to use the thermostat. Brands and models have varying control mechanisms. So read the manual well before changing the thermostat.

  1. Inspect your tank for leaks and have it quickly repaired.

Leaking hot water system not only wastes water, it can potentially cause damage and mold. Dripping water can be easy to spot. Schedule a periodic visual inspection of your water heating system to check for leaks.

  1. Insulate the tank if you own an old model.

This is another simple tip recommended by the energy department to cut your monthly heating costs. Doing so prevents stand-by heat losses by about 40%. Feel the temperature of your water tank. If it’s warm, it means ‘heat’ is escaping from it. Wrap the tank with an insulating blanket - you can get one from the nearest hardware store. Note that for newer models, this cover may not be necessary as most of them are well-insulated. Review the manual before you wrap your tank as this might void the warranty of your unit.

  1. Schedule routine checkup and maintenance service of your water heater.

A well-maintained water heater lasts for about 20 years (depending on the model). But every hot water tank has a weak spot: the anode rod. This part has a shorter lifespan than the tank – around 6-8 years depending on the rod's thickness and warranty. Check and replace the anode rod as necessary (bad odor and the presence of white calcium around the rod are obvious signs it needs to be changed). Watch also for warning signs such as slow heating (likely due to substantial amount of sediments inside the tank), galvanic corrosion, or popping noises. Have your unit serviced by a pro if you find these maintenance tasks too challenging for you to do on your own.

  1. Replace an old water heater with an energy-efficient model.

When should I replace my water heater, before it fails or when it no longer heats efficiently? If your system is about 10 years old, you should consider inspecting and replacing its electrical elements. If it is older than 10 years, start looking for an efficient model to replace it with. Determine the most efficient fuel source available in your area and the type of heater that suits your needs best. If you are going to renovate your home, consider the optimal layout for your water heater. The kitchen, laundry area, and bathroom should be near the heater’s location. Make sure that the water heating unit is located in a well-insulated area in your house to prevent heat loss. What among these tips have you been doing? Which ones do you struggle with? Tell us all about it in the comment section.

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