Next to the air conditioner and heater, a water heater is the biggest energy waster in the home, accounting for as much as 14 to 18 percent of the energy use in your household. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce water heating bills. Start by understanding how a storage tank water heater works, and then follow these tips for savings.
Your Home's Hot Water Supply
Most homeowners have a storage-tank-type water heater, which means the water heater is on all the time, keeping your home's supply of water hot. The water is heated by a heating element or burner, and it sits in the tank until you turn it on. Standby losses of heat occur, and whenever the water starts to cool, the heating element or burner turns on, repeating the cycle again and again.
Tips for Reducing Hot Water Use
- Reduce the temperature. Check the water temperature as the water flows from the faucet farthest away from the water heater. If it's over 120 degrees, turn it down. You don't need water heated to the preset temperature of 140 degrees. Water set at 120 degrees is hot enough to reduce mineral buildup. If you don't have a numbered meter, lower the temperature between "low" and "medium" settings and measure again.
- Flush the water tank. Tanks build up sediment, and flushing helps get rid of it, so the heating process isn't impeded by sediment buildup on the inner parts. Turn off the power, attach a garden hose to the tank spigot and, pointing the other end of the hose outdoors, lift the pressure relief valve and turn on the spigot.
- Reduce your water use. Low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets can help.
- Insulate everything. If you have an older, uninsulated tank, get an insulating blanket and cut heat losses by as much as 45 percent. Insulate exposed pipes with self-sealing sleeves and water will arrive hotter.
For more tips on how to reduce water heating bills, give us a call at Gilman Heating and Cooling. We've spent nearly 100 years serving the residents of Richmond and the surrounding area. Image Provided by Shutterstock.com