With electricity rates constantly on the rise, trying to heat the water in your home can be more expensive than ever. Fortunately, if you’re looking to lower your water bill, one of the best ways you can do so is by looking at your electric water heater.
But no one likes cold showers (well, I guess some people do), so how are you supposed to save money on your electric bill with a few changes to your water heater? Below are a few ways.
1. Get a Low-Flow Nozzle.
One of the easiest ways to change your water usage habit is by simply swapping out the nozzle. This applies double to older homes, since showerheads and faucets that were installed before 1992 have different regulations and put out more water. You’ll barely notice the difference in your water output, but you’ll definitely notice it on your electric bill, since your home won’t have to heat nearly the same amount of water every time.
2. Insulate Your Pipes
The colder your water is, the harder your water heater will have to work in order to heat it. One easy fix for this is to insulate the first three feet of water pipe that comes from your heater (if you have a gas heater though, keep the insulation at least six inches away from the flue). This project is super cheap and easy, and can usually be finished in less than an hour.
3. Put a Blanket On Your Heater
Newer water heater models are pretty well-insulated, but older ones (values less than R-24, for instance), are not. Because of that, you’re probably losing an awful lot of heat straight from the tank itself, driving your energy costs sky high. Installing an insulation blanket on your heater can help a ton, provided you do it the right way.
4. Install a Point-of-Use Hot Water Heater
If your water travels a long way before it reaches the faucet, you might need to look at installing a point-of-use hot water system to speed up the delivery time. This is a pretty advanced project though, so you should probably call a reputable plumber to handle it for you.
5. Change Your Usage
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of insulating your pipes and/or water heater itself, you may benefit from making a few tweaks to your overall usage. A few minutes less on your shower, or only running full loads of laundry and dishes, for example, can pay off huge down the road.
6. Lower the Heater Temperature
Unless you’re the type of person who likes to scorch their skin every time they step in the shower, consider lowering the temperature on your water heater a few degrees. Every ten degrees you lower it reduces your energy bill by up to 5%, so it’s an easy switch that you most likely won’t even notice.
7. Switch to Cold Water
Some stains can only get out by using hot water, most laundry can be washed by using cold water. You’ll also be able to wash more clothes together, since you won’t have to worry about the colors running. It’s a win-win!
8. Use a Timer
If you’re gone from the house a lot, or you just want to super-optimize your water habits, you should consider installing a timer on your hot water heater to keep your water heater from continuously keeping the water warm for long periods of non-use. Vacations and overnight hours are prime opportunities for you to streamline your usage.
9. Fix Your Leaks
That steady drip from your faucet may not sound like a big deal, but one drip per second can cost you a full dollar every single month. Combined with multiple leaks throughout your house for a long period of time, and it can add up (especially when you consider the imminent water damage).
10. Get a New Water Heater
If this sounds like a cop out, it isn’t mean to be. Like everything else in your home, water heater technology has changed quite a bit over the last ten years, resulting in some amazing energy-efficient devices that you can add to your home. A tankless water heater, for instance, uses 30-50% less energy than a traditional tank heater, resulting in hundreds of dollars saved over the life of the unit.