The most energy-efficient way to heat water is with a tankless water heater, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and save money if you’re still holding onto a standard water heater. A standard water storage tank keeps water constantly hot and ready, but the water naturally cools down in a process called “standby heat loss,” requiring the burner to kick on to warm it up again.
To reduce your water heating costs this year, try implementing these tips:
- Turn Down the Tank’s Thermostat: Most water heaters come with their temperate preset at 140 degrees, which can lead to unintentional scalding. There’s no harm in lowering the tank to 120 degrees, which can save you 6 – 10% on your energy bill.
- Insulate the Tank: Older tanks tend to need a bit more extra care, especially if it’s located in an unheated space, such as a room in your basement or closet. An easy way to reduce costs is to wrap the heater with an insulating blanket, which can cut heat loss by 25 – 45%. If you have a newer model that is already insulated, be sure to check with the manufacturer before adding an additional layer of insulation. When insulating your electric water heater, be sure not to block the thermostat; if it’s a gas unit, be careful not to block the air inlet or exhaust.
- Insulate Hot-Water Pipes, Too: Insulating your exposed pipes is an easy fix that allows your water to arrive in your faucet at 2-4 degrees warmer. Since you won’t have to wait as long for it to heat up, energy, water, and money is saved because the tank doesn’t have to work as hard. One caveat to this tip is to be sure that your pipes are relatively easy to get to. If they’re in hard-to-reach spaces, it might not be worth the effort.
For more ways to save on home energy costs, consider a Home Energy Audit from Polsinello Fuels, Inc.