In some parts of North America, the weather stays fairly mild year-round.
But that doesn’t describe our weather here in Ontario. Sure, we can get lucky some years when summer is less hot and winter is less cold, but there is still no mistaking the changing of the seasons.
With winter not so far away now, it seems a perfect time to take a closer look at how to keep two of your most vital winter appliances—your hot water heater and furnace—happy and healthy through the long, cold season.
Speaking of perfect timing, we also decided October is an ideal month to help you reduce your winter preventative maintenance costs by adding a free hot water tank tune-up when you schedule your annual furnace inspection and maintenance services. Be sure to read all the way to the end of this post to find out how to claim your freebie!
How Hot Water Heaters Double-Dip Into Your Wallet
As Natural Resources Canada (NRC) helpfully points out, even the most affordable hot water heater has a second hidden price tag.
The price tag you can see—the cost to purchase the hot water heater—may look like a steal. The really good deals are out there when you take the time to shop smart and research your hot water uses and needs.
But there is a second price tag that isn’t quite so appealing, and that is the cost to run your hot water heater. Using general use and energy rate data, NRC estimates that your costs of hot water use over 10 years will be a whopping seven times what you paid to purchase your new hot water heater and have it professionally installed.
In fact, according to NRC’s data, hot water use accounts for an estimated 17 percent of your monthly energy use, and it can be even higher than that.
Given that the average household in Ontario pays around $2,358 per year depending on energy sources and number of occupants, that is just over $400 annually for heating your water alone! In some areas, annual costs for heating water can be as high as $600.
4 Proven Ways to Lower Your Annual Hot Water Heating Bill
Since purchasing energy to run your utilities is not exactly considered a “fun” monthly expense, we haven’t yet met a new customer who wasn’t keen to find out how to spend less in this area.
The optimal reduction strategy can look different from household to household and even from day to day. You may find all four of these strategies useful to shave valuable dollars off of your monthly hot water expenses.
Upgrade to a new energy efficient hot water heater
According to Energy Star, the household hot water heater is the second most frequently used home appliance and also the second most expensive home appliance to use.
Depending on the type of hot water heater you select, your new appliance may be anywhere from 8 to 34 percent more energy efficient than your existing unit. Using general data, this may translate in savings from anywhere to $32 to $204 per year!
Take steps to reduce your household’s daily hot water use
The least-popular yet definitely effective option on this list is to simply reduce the amount of hot water your household consumes each day.
This can be accomplished by taking shorter showers (or cooler showers), waiting longer to ensure a full load of laundry for every use, hand-washing dishes using the two-bucket system, or installing low-flow restricting faucets and showerheads. These fixtures can reduce hot water usage rather effortlessly by 30-plus percent daily.
Using hot water during off-peak hours is yet another way to cut costs, as is simply switching off your hot water heater when you are out of town.
Another often-overlooked method for reducing daily hot water usage is fixing leaks. A single dripping source of hot water can cost up to $1 every day—$365 per year!
Which specific options you choose will impact how much you save.
Install a drain hot water heat recovery unit to recycle heat that is otherwise lost.
This device recaptures the heat from waste water and re-uses it to preheat fresh water. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these neat devices typically pay for themselves within seven years and sometimes much sooner.
Give your existing hot water heater an efficiency inspection and tune-up
The last and most immediately impactful option is to simply schedule an annual hot water heater inspection and tune-up service.
The temperature setting on your hot water heater can have a measurable impact on your monthly hot water bill.
This is best done during a maintenance service call, because a too-cool setting can encourage bacteria growth while a too-hot setting may cause scalding.
Installing insulation for your hot water heater tank and pipes to help reduce heat leakage and loss plus condensation can also add valuable dollars back into your wallet. The less your hot water heater has to work to do its job, the less energy it will draw.
Heat traps are a standard component of new energy-efficient hot water heaters but may be missing in older units. Retrofitting an existing older hot water heater with heat traps can also conserve heat energy along with useful life.
Get in Touch & Get a Free Hot Water Heater Tune-Up
Have you been putting off scheduling your annual furnace safety inspection and maintenance service? October is definitely the month to get this on your calendar, since we will throw in a free hot water heater tune-up with every furnace maintenance service appointment!