With regular hot water heater use, you use up water, energy (in the form of electricity or gas), and even water heater parts, albeit more slowly. All of these things cost money, and careless use of your hot water heater could mean that you spend more than necessary.
If you’re interested in saving money on your hot water heater operation and upkeep, you’ll want to streamline your use of both the heater itself and any appliances and fixtures that use hot water. Start by checking for these potentially wasteful hot water habits in your life.
1. Using Hot Water Unnecessarily
Using more hot water than you really need can cost extra money on your electric or gas bill. If you habitually use warm or hot water for your laundry, the water heating process will increase the cost of your laundry washing. In many cases, washing clothing with just cold water could be a workable alternative.
Some other ways to cut back on hot water use include:
- Maximize dishwasher and clothes washer cycles by only running washers when they’re full.
- Take quicker showers or even slightly cooler showers.
- Don’t leave the faucet running while you wash dishes.
Look at your own daily routine, and see if you can find any other places where you might be able to cut back on hot water.
2. Ignoring Potential Efficiency Upgrades
If your water heater is old, you may want to consider an upgrade. You may be able to either switch the heater out for a more efficient heater (such as a tankless model of water heater) or simply upgrade its efficiency with more insulation. Similarly, insulate your hot water pipes to avoid heat loss so you don’t pay for heat you don’t use.
Another type of efficiency upgrade regarding your water use is to install low-flow fixtures and more efficient appliances. For example, an Energy Star dishwasher could save several gallons of hot water with each cycle. Check all your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room fixtures and appliances to see which ones may need an upgrade.
Not all of these upgrades will be cost-effective for everyone. For instance, replacing the water heater with a slightly more efficient one may not make financial sense if your current heater is still new. Talk to your plumber about which upgrades would be the best for your situation.
3. Avoiding Water Heater Maintenance
Many home systems may suffer from reduced efficiency or increased wear and tear if you avoid maintenance, but with a water heater, the results can be far worse. One regular maintenance step for water heaters is replacing the anode rod. If the anode rod fails due to neglect, you may not know about it until your water heater has rusted through, causing a flood.
Total water heater replacement plus water damage remediation can be quite expensive, especially when compared to the low costs of regular maintenance.
4. Leaving Heater Turned On and Turned Up
Do you use your hot water heater while you sleep? What about while you’re away at work? If the answer is no, you may waste money keeping your water hot all day and all night. This is especially the case if you have the heater on a higher setting, since keeping the water at 140 degrees takes more energy than keeping it at 120.
Keeping the water heater set to 120 degrees, and having your plumber install a timer to regulate when the water heater turns on, can help you save quite a bit of energy.
The habits described here aren’t necessarily negative (for instance, people with a respiratory condition or a suppressed immune system may need their heater set at 140 degrees). However, if you do discover any of these habits in your life, you may be able to consciously change them in order to save money on water heating.
For more information on the plumbing services we provide, give Moon Valley Plumbing and Rooter Valleywide a call.