Guess which home appliance accounts for nearly 20 percent of the average monthly home energy bill?
If you just guessed “water heater,” you already know why we decided to dedicate a whole blog post to this topic.
In fact, there is only one home appliance that costs you more to run than your water heater, and that is your furnace.
So if you are trying to trim your monthly home energy bills, you want to give your water heater some serious attention.
In this blog post, we take a look at why running hot water may be costing you more than it should and what to do to fix it.
Calculate What You Spend On Hot Water Usage
According to National Resources Canada, the typical Canadian family uses about 75 litres (19 gallons) each day.
Approximately 19.3 percent of these household energy costs are spent heating that water.
What is this costing you? Let’s find out!
The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario states that the average annual residential energy bill is around $2,358. 19.3 percent of $2,358 is about $455 per year.
So anything you can do to trim those costs will put welcome cash back into your pocket.
How To Reduce Your Water Heater Energy Bill Expenses
In the following sections we will teach you how to reduce your hot water heater-related energy bills each month.
1. Insulate your hot water heater pipes.
If you have not insulated your hot water heater pipes (both the cold and hot water pipes that connect to your hot water heater), your water heater is going to have to work harder to heat your water.
The general rule of thumb is to insulate at least six feet of piping that extends out from the unit.
The insulation conserves heat energy that would otherwise be lost and wasted. As a side benefit, the insulation also acts as a safety measure to reduce home fire risk.
2. Insulate your hot water heater tank.
If you have a hot water heater tank, you also want to install insulation around the tank itself.
Why insulate the tank, you might be wondering?
As with insulating the pipes, the tank insulation prevents heat loss as well as lowering home fire risk.
NOTE: Be careful not to cover the thermostat, burner and top/bottom unit with insulation!
3. Lower the hot water heater thermostat temperature.
In most cases, the thermostat setting on a new hot water heater sent straight from the manufacturer will be set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius).
At this thermostat setting, not only will you be paying for hotter water than you probably need, but you also run a greater risk of scalding as well as mineral buildup and corrosion.
Most homeowners find that a thermostat setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.88 degrees Celsius) is perfectly adequate for their needs.
This also extends the useful life of your hot water heater.
4. Add heat traps for your older hot water heater.
A high quality, well maintained hot water heater can easily last 10 years or longer. But most older hot water heaters don’t have heat traps.
Heat traps are small valves that trap and conserve heat energy that would otherwise be lost and wasted.
Heat traps can trim your monthly water bill by $15- 30 depending on your household hot water usage patterns.
New model hot water heaters will come with heat traps already pre-installed.
If your hot water heater is near the end of its useful life, you may want to consider upgrading to a new unit rather than going to the trouble of installing heat traps on your old unit.
5. Use a hot water heater timer to limit hot water heating.
Most people find they don’t need to use hot water during the night. But a traditional tank hot water heater will continue to preheat the water all night long.
This is precisely why Energy Star states that installing a tankless water heater can save you up to 30 percent on annual hot water bills.
But unless you are already in the market for a new hot water heater, it will likely be easier and cheaper to simply install a timer on your existing tank hot water heater.
As a side benefit, the timer will give your hot water heater a rest daily and potentially extend its useful life.
6. Install low flow fixtures and faucets.
The new low flow fixtures, faucets and shower heads can trim your hot water usage by up to 60 percent annually.
While it is true this represents a bit of an up-front investment, it is a one-time cost that can easily pay for itself within one calendar year.
Using our $455 energy bill calculation from earlier in this blog post, adding these low flow fixtures could potentially put a cool $273 back in your pocket annually.
7. Schedule your hot water heater preventative maintenance service.
Some experienced homeowners are willing to take on the annual task of draining their hot water heater tank, cleaning the unit and doing other light ongoing maintenance chores.
However, your time is valuable and if you don’t know what you are doing, you could wind up spending a lot more than you save by trying this yourself at home!
Our experienced, professional and highly trained service technicians can maintain, service, repair and install all makes and models of tank hot water heaters and tankless water heaters.
Contact Shipton’s Heating and Cooling in Hamilton For Hot Water Heater Installation and Service
Shipton’s is a family-owned HVAC company with nearly a century of providing exceptional customer service in and around the Hamilton, Ontario area.
Want to find out if your hot water heater is working as it should be? Our prompt and professional service technicians can help.