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Holding Down Your Water Heating Costs for Higher Energy Savings

Published on: August 9, 2012

According to a recent industry report, the cost to run your water heater can be up to 15 percent of your total home energy costs. If you would like to lower this number, there are some simple steps you can take to improve the energy efficiency of your water heater. The most obvious solution is to use less hot water, but that isn’t always easy to do in a household full of people. You all need to be on board with the goal of lowering your water heater costs.

Some simple things everyone can do are take shorter showers, use cold water to wash clothes and turn off water faucets when they are not in use. If longer showers must be taken, ask your family members to use cooler water to do so. Also, you may not be aware that 90 percent of the cost involved with washing clothes comes from heating up the water. After you have gotten accustomed to using hot water less frequently, the other suggestions should not be so difficult to implement.

You Can Improve Energy Efficiency by Increasing Insulation

By adding insulation to your water heater, you can save up to 10 percent in energy costs. Units that are less than 10 years old should come equipped with sufficient insulation already, but it always pays to check. If you touch your water heater and your hand feels warm afterwards, it could benefit from additional insulation. A local heating and cooling company should be able to handle the job quickly.

Keep the Unit at the Lowest Possible Setting

Most convention water heating units are automatically set to 140 degrees, but this isn’t really necessary. Energy efficiency experts recommend putting it at a setting of 120 degrees for maximum effectiveness. Not only will you not notice much of a difference, but you will save money as well. You can save up to 5 percent on your water bill for every 10 degrees you set the heater below 140 degrees.

Going on Vacation? Turn Off Your Water Heater

If you are leaving your house unattended for more than one day, you can safely turn off your water heating unit completely. You can also turn it down very low if you are uncomfortable disconnecting it. After you return home, give the water heater at least an hour to warm up again before attempting to use any hot water.

Don’t Forget a Professional Tune-Up

Like air conditioners and furnaces, your water heating unit needs regular maintenance in order to operate at an optimal level of energy efficiency. When you schedule an appointment for maintenance, you can expect the service technician to check for rust, combustion and proper ventilation. He or she will also check carbon monoxide levels to ensure your family’s safety. Lastly, the service technician will drain sediment build-up from the bottom of the tank and dispose of it properly. These steps are critical in helping you meet the energy efficiency goals you established for your home.