H2…Oh! Maximizing Energy Efficiency with Your Water Heater

August 25, 2023

Water heaters play a critical role in powering daily life, from washing your hands to cleaning dishes. Over time, these activities can increase energy consumption, so it is no surprise that electric water heating is typically the second-largest energy expense in a home. Becoming more aware of how you use your water heater and making a few adjustments can help you conserve hot water and save on water heating costs.

According to the Department of Energy, the tips below can help you conserve hot water and reduce your water heating expenses:

Install low-flow faucets and showerheads

Replacing old faucets and shower heads can help reduce the amount of water flow. According to the Department of Energy, you can purchase a low-flow fixture for $10 to $20 a piece to achieve water savings of 25%-60%. When purchasing a new shower head or faucet, look for the WaterSense label.

Lower the Thermostat

Before adjusting the water heater’s thermostat, cut off the power from the breaker or disconnect. For most households, 120°F is sufficient and is usually the factory setting. Lowering your water heater thermostat can increase the longevity of your water heater, reduce mineral buildup, eliminate the risk of scalding water, and corrosion in your water heater and pipes.

Insulate Your Water Heater

Insulating water heater pipes can reduce standby heat loss by approximately 45%, leading to 7-16% savings in water heating costs. This small change allows the water to arrive at the faucet 2° to 4° warmer, which means you won’t have to wait as long for the water to heat up, saving water and money simultaneously. If your home has older water lines, consider replacing them with newer efficient PEX pipes.

Check the size of your Water Heater

Make sure your water heater is sized appropriately for the size of your family. Most homes 1,000 to 2,000 square feet come with a standard 40-gallon water heater. If you have four or more family members living in your home, you may need to upsize the water heater.

Consider upgrading your Water Heater   

If your water heater is over ten years old, newer models, particularly with the EnergyStar® ratings, are designed for superior energy efficiency.