Water heating is the second highest energy cost in your house next to heating and cooling, not to mention a precious natural resource. Although the cost of water itself may not seem like much, if you have a leak you could be spending more money out of pocket than you realize and wasting gallons of water each day. With some simple tasks you can avoid both of these expenses and keep your home running smoothly while protecting one of our most valuable resources – water.
Below are some simple tips that are easy to do and help conserve resources and save money.
- Repair a leaky faucet immediately! A leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
- Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank and pipes, but be careful not to cover the thermostat.
- Insulate your gas or oil hot-water storage tank and pipes, but be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment; when in doubt, call a professional.
- Install non-aerating low-flow faucets and showerheads.
- Buy a new tankless water heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance and pay for itself.
- 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 water heater fails will enable you to select one that most appropriately meets your needs.
- Lower the thermostat on your water heater; water heaters sometimes come from the factory with high temperature settings, but a setting of 115º F provides comfortable hot water for most uses.
- 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.
- Water heaters need to be drained once a year and serviced by a professional to ensure the water heater is functioning properly, efficiently and safely.
- If you heat with electricity and live in a warm and sunny climate, 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.
- Take more showers than baths. Bathing uses the most hot water in the average household. You use 15-25 gallons of hot water for a bath, but less than 10 gallons during a 5-minute shower.