Today’s high efficiency appliances do more work with less energy than ever before – but that doesn’t mean you can’t make small changes to squeeze a little more performance out of them.
That’s especially true of your water heater. What kind of changes are we talking about? Let’s take a look.
Water heater energy savings tips
Let’s face it: without a water heater, many of our most important comforts would disappear – hot showers and clean clothing and dishes, to name three important ones.
Those comforts come at a cost, though: according to the Department of Energy (DOE), water heating is usually the second largest operating expense in your home (behind heating/cooling), typically accounting for 14-18 percent of your utilities each month.
The good news is with some simple adjustments, you can stay on the low end of that number. Here are five suggestions to get more water heating bang for your buck in your New Jersey home:
Lower your water heater thermostat – Water heaters have a default temperature setting that is higher than needed for your appliances and taps. Aim for a temperature of 115 to 120 degrees for the best balance of economy and comfort.
Use less hot water – Install flow restricting showerheads to reduce your hot water usage by up to 50 percent without affecting shower pressure. You can also take shorter showers, fix leaky faucets, and use higher-efficiency appliances.
Insulate your hot water pipe and storage tank – Water sitting in uninsulated pipes in your cold basement will experience “standby heat loss” as it waits to be used. By insulating the pipes between your water heater and your appliances and taps, you can minimize that heat loss and improve overall water heating efficiency. Standby heat loss is also a problem within your propane storage tank; by insulating it with a jacket, your stored water will retain more heat, which means your water heater won’t need to re-heat water as often.
Of course, you could also replace your storage-type heater with a propane tankless water heater, which heats water on demand rather than storing it for later use; then you wouldn’t have to worry at all about standby heat loss.
Get preventive maintenance – Sediment and mineral deposits build up in your water heater’s storage tank over time, forcing it to work harder to deliver the same performance. Like any appliance, it pays to have a professional maintain your water heater regularly to avoid costly water heater repairs.
Upgrade your equipment – Swap your older electric water heater with a new, high efficiency propane water heater and you could save 30 percent on your water heating bills – enough to offset the cost of the unit in just a few years. Upgrade to a tankless water heater and that number could rise to 50 percent!