Did You Know That Water Heating is 15-20% of Your Monthly Utility Bill?
Why You’re Losing Money on Your Water Heater
Without asking this question first, we’d be starting off on the wrong foot. Water heaters operate inefficiently when heat is lost and water has to be reheated. Your water heater maintains your household water supply at a constant temperature, typically around 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat loss is a fact of science, and life, and as a solid, liquid, or gas is heated, the energy of that heat is spread to whatever container or other substance is near or touching that heat. We can see then, that having heated water will result in heat loss. Cutting down on this heat loss from your water heater will save you hundreds of dollars throughout the course of a year.
First, Turn Down the Temperature on your Water Heater
Since most water heaters are heating your household water at a factory preset 140 degrees Fahrenheit, go ahead and knock it down 20 degrees. 120 degrees is typically between the “Medium” and “Low” settings. This will not be a noticeable difference in the vast majority of cases and is a relatively simple procedure to do by yourself. Energy.gov says that each drop in 10 degrees on your water heater will save you 3-5% on your water heating bills. A 20 degree drop on your water heater setting will result in up to a 10% decrease on that water heater bill.
Next, Insulate That Water Heater!
If, like most hot water heaters currently installed in most of Kalamazoo, MI homes and throughout southwest Michigan (and across the country), you own a tank style water heater, you’ll want to insulate the tank and pipes coming in and out of the water heater. It’s very important to follow manufacturer’s guidelines on how to do this. In fact, it’s probably best to have a certified plumber to help with this step. They’ll know how to insulate your water heater safely and completely.
If you’d like to do it by yourself, make sure you have plenty of clearance around any gas lines that run to your water heater and the air intake valve. Don’t forget cold water pipes that come into the water heater. This water often sits at room temperature while waiting to enter the water heater. Keeping it as warm as possible using the passive heat that is in your house will result in less of an energy cost to heat that water after it enters your water heater tank. Again, to do this correctly, it’s probably easiest to call a plumber for a low cost job then it is to risk any kind of fire hazard.
You can get a water heater insulation jacket for $20 – $30 on Amazon.com that you can install yourself. These jackets alone can save you up to 20% on your water heating bill each year!
Now, Install Low Flow, Aerated, Faucets & Shower Heads
This is where the pedal hits the metal. Now that you’ve potentially reduced your water heater bill by already 30%, let’s focus on using that hot water efficiently. By installing low flow shower heads like the one below, you can save up to 30% on not only your water heater costs, but also 30% on your water bill. In the typical two bathroom house found in Kalamazoo, you’ll double your energy and water savings for only about $14!
Installing a new shower head is a relatively easy process but if you don’t want to deal with the hassle, call one of our Kalamazoo plumbers and we can install the shower heads for you while you’re at work and you’ll be saving money when you shower later that evening.
Make Sure Your Water Heater Has Heat Traps
Most newer water heaters have heat traps built in already but if your water heater is more than five years old, you’ll want to check if it has heat traps installed. Heat traps are installed on the hot and cold water connections going to and from your water heater. These heat traps prevent what is called “thermosiphoning” from the already hot water and the cold water going into your water heater. They are a simple invention that can decrease your hot water bill by around 5-10%.
For about $10 you can order these from Amazon and have them on hand for your water heater experts at Petro Plumbing to install.
Bonus Petro Pro Tip: Think About Tankless
If you’re looking for the ultimate in energy efficiency, you’ll want to take a look at tankless water heater units. Because the unit is tankless, hot water is not stored but rather created on demand. This means that heat loss is removed from the equation in your energy bills. Although the upfront cost is more on these units, the energy cost, maintenance costs, and problems associated with the unit are significantly decreased.
Not only will you save on energy bills related to your water heater, you’ll recoup more of your investment when selling your home.
To get a free estimate for a tankless water heater in Kalamazoo, call us today at 269-629-0278!