Did you realize that the simple act of heating water in your house accounts for approximately twenty percent of your monthly energy bill? Heating water consumes the highest amount of energy out of practically all other common household activities (except for heating and cooling your whole home.) If your water heater’s efficiency is less than outstanding, you’ll feel the effects of those charges even more keenly given how expensive they are.
A water heater that is not energy efficient will not function as effectively as it could, and it will cost you more money each month. It’s a no-win scenario that has the potential to become even direr over time. To your good fortune, there are a few tried and true strategies to boost the efficiency of your water heater. The following is a list of five straightforward chores that, when completed, can make your water heater more efficient and help you save money.
Step 1: Drain Water Heater Sediment
The tank of your water heater will, over time, acquire mineral deposits such as magnesium and calcium. After some time, these minerals will fall to the bottom of the tank, where they will finally harden into the sediment. When sediment accumulates in your tank, it can make the system work more to heat the water than it needs to, which is inefficient. Because of the additional work being done, the pressure inside the tank eventually builds up, which leads to overheating and possibly even ruptures. You can simply remove sediment from your water heater by completely draining the tank and cleaning it out with cold water at least once per year (or up to three times if you have hard water). This will ensure that your water heater is operating at peak efficiency.
The removal of sediments will help your heater work much more efficiently and will prevent the more expensive repairs that can follow from the building of sediments. If you have the correct equipment, flushing your water heater is a project that is not overly complicated and can be done by you on your own. You might also hire a professional to do it for you as part of a broader maintenance call for your water heater.
Step 2: Insulate the Water Pipes
A rapid loss of heat is common, particularly in the plumbing and storage tank of your home. Even while this is quite normal, it will impede your water heater from heating the water as effectively as it might. In order to make up for the heat that is lost through the pipes in your home, you will need to heat up additional water. When you heat more water, your water heater has to run for longer periods of time, work more, and consume more power. Your monthly electric cost will consequently be higher as a result of this. Insulating water pipes helps minimize the loss of heat and increases the efficiency of the system.
If you insulate your pipes, the heat that circulates through the system will remain there where it belongs. Insulated water pipes keep the heat for longer and can even boost the water temperature by two to four degrees Fahrenheit on their own. Even something as simple as insulating your pipes for cold water can be beneficial.
If you do a little bit of research beforehand, insulating your pipes and water heater will be a process that you will find to be relatively simple. Simply choose an insulation material, take the necessary measurements of your pipes, and get started with some of the materials that you already have at home, such as scissors, a tape measure, duct tape, and gloves.
Step 3: Make Use of Fixtures With a Low Flow
Installing plumbing fixtures with a low water flow rate is another simple step you can take to cut costs over the long term without investing a lot of time or energy upfront. Because low-flow fixtures accomplish exactly what their name says, they lower the water flow rate (in gallons per minute), which results in less of your precious hot water being wasted unnecessarily down the drain.
Consider installing low-flow alternatives to fixtures such as shower heads, faucets, and even toilets for maximum energy savings, which will result in a reduction of water use that is anywhere from 30 to 50 percent. They have a higher initial cost, but they end up saving you a lot of money in the long term, which is especially beneficial if someone in your family has a reputation for taking long, hot showers.
Step 4: Set your Water Heater to 120 Degrees Fahrenheit
It’s a fact that many homeowners don’t realize, yet every water heater comes equipped with its own thermostat. This thermostat tells the system how much heat is required to be applied to the water that is stored in the tank. The higher the temperature at which your system heats the water, the longer it runs and the more energy it uses in total. If your hot water gets hot very quickly or looks to be at a dangerous temperature, you should check the setting on the thermostat of your water heater. Bringing down the temperature on the thermostat that controls your water will help keep it safe while also bringing down the cost of your water bill.
The temperature on most water heaters will be preset by the manufacturer to be 140 degrees. In point of fact, washing or bathing with water that is hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit is risky business. Even while most industry professionals will agree that a temperature of fewer than 120 degrees creates an environment in which bacteria can grow in the water that has been collected in the tank, you should still take care to ensure that you do not set the temperature of your water heater lower than that. This tutorial will provide you with the steps you need to take in order to save between three and five percent every year on your annual water bill by manually lowering the temperature on your water heater at home by yourself.
Step 5: Fixing any leaks in the plumbing systems
It happens more often than you might imagine that your plumbing has a leak. They can have a more significant impact on your property than you might anticipate having. Even the tiniest leaks from your faucets can waste 1,661 gallons of water and $35 on your annual water bill. Your water heater will suffer if all of that water is wasted because of it. When you have hot water leaking out of your pipes, your water heater has to work harder to keep up with the demand. That indicates that it is running for a longer period of time, which, of course, causes it to consume more energy. The fact that your water heater is continually operating because it needs to make up for lost hot water is the sign of a plumbing leak that occurs most frequently. The question now is how you can detect leaks before they empty your water tank and your pocketbook.
Many times, the water heater itself is the source of the leaks that plague your water heater. Begin by looking for any obvious leaks in the area around the tank of your water heater. The temperature-pressure relief valve and the drain valve both have a good chance of being the culprit. The temperature-pressure relief valve may leak to release pressure (as it is supposed to do) or it may leak for no other reason than that it is malfunctioning. It is also important to inspect the water pipes themselves, particularly those that are located close to fixtures such as bathtubs and sinks. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a leak that is “too little” to patch. Make a call to your neighborhood plumber if you are having trouble repairing plumbing issues or locating probable leaks in the system.
Keep up with the Water Heater's Routine Maintenance
When there (appears to be) nothing wrong with your water heater, it might be quite simple to forget about it. Even if you don’t detect any leaks or have any worries, it is still important to make sure that your heater is as energy-efficient and well-maintained as it can be. It will help you save money on your water bill right now, and it will also contribute to the overall longevity of the water heater in your home.
Make an appointment with the plumbing specialists at West New York Plumbing and Heating as soon as possible if you require assistance in ensuring that your water heater is operating as well as it should, if you would like your water heater replaced or repaired, or if you have any other questions regarding your water heater. If there is anything we can do to make you feel more at ease in your own home and help you save money over the course of time, we will gladly do it.