Efficient Water Heating Tips and Tricks

These water heating tips are extremely easy to implement and can save more than 25% of your hot water heating bill:

Settings - Next to heating or cooling, water heating is typically the largest energy user in the home. Set your water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (usually midway between the low and medium settings). Besides eliminating the risk of scalding, this temperature is a very happy medium between comfort, and cost control.

Demand Water Heater - If appropriate, consider a demand water heater that has no storage tank. While instantaneous hot water heaters can reduce your energy use by 10 to 15 percent, the technology has a ways to go. Most plumbing and heating professionals along with homeowners have their gripes about operation, and repair of these units. I will provide several perspectives on instantaneous water heaters from professionals, consumers, and manufacturers shortly, in my upcoming forum, please check back frequently.

Insulation Blanket - Unless your hot-water storage tank already has a high R-value of insulation (at least R-24), install an insulation blanket. This is one of those water heating tips that can save about 4%-9% in water heating costs. If you don't know your water heater tank's R-value, touch it. A tank that's warm to the touch needs additional insulation.

Fix Leaky Faucets - Repair or replace a leaky faucet, even when the water drips feel cold. The dripping water may actually be coming from the hot water side of the faucet valve, but it feels cold because it has time to lose its heat before reaching the faucet. Those little drops add up to bigger energy and water bills.

Insulate Hot-Water Pipes - Insulating hot water pipes whenever they are accessible reduces heat loss allowing for a lower water temperature setting on your water heater. This measure can save about 10-15% of water heating costs. You also won't have to wait as long for hot water when you turn on a faucet or showerhead, which helps conserve water.

Use faucet aerators - For a mere couple of dollars, you can reduce the flow rates from your faucets without being inconvenienced in the least. Most new faucets come equipped with aerators, but if yours is old and doesn't have one, it is merely a matter of screwing out the old end cap and screwing in the aerator within seconds...one of the "no-brainer" water heating tips.

Use a Low-Flow Showerhead - The most efficient shower heads can deliver an invigorating spray at flow rates of 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm). They're relatively inexpensive, come in very interesting configurations and options, and save about 3,000 gallons of water per person each year - along with the energy required to heat it - compared to a 2.5 gpm shower head that meets federal efficiency standards. This is truly a worthwhile and necessary investment.

Take Showers Rather Than Baths - Showers generally use half as much hot water as baths.

Take Shorter Showers - Water heating accounts for 15% of home energy use, and the shower is probably your largest consumer of hot water. If you already have an ultra-low flow shower head, cutting a minute from your shower should save one to two gallons.

Buy an Energy Efficient Water Heater - Plan on buying an energy efficient water heater before your old one fails. If your gas water heater is more than 10 years old, it may be operating at less than 50 percent efficiency.

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