Improving water heater efficiency can trim your utility bills and may even lengthen the life of the appliance. The typical household’s water heating expenditures stand third in line, after heating and cooling the home. This checklist can help you trim your costs and you may not even notice any difference in the water temperature:
- Turn the thermostat down to 120 degrees. Each 10 degrees you turn the temperature down saves 3 to 5 percent on your water heating costs. Water at 120 degrees is far less likely to cause scalding injuries, and fewer hard water deposits will form at the bottom of the tank. As the deposits build, it takes more energy to heat your water, and over time, your water heating costs get higher as the sediments build.
- Drain a few gallons from the water heater every few months to lower the sediment load at the bottom. Turn the heater off and hook a hose to the spigot at the bottom. Place the end of the hose in a pail or by a drain and turn the spigot on. This removes the water at the bottom, where the heavier sediments in the water collect.
- Insulate the water heater. Unless your heater has factory insulation rated at R-24 and/or is an Energy Star-certified appliance, you can improve the water heater efficiency by wrapping it with an insulating blanket or jacket. These are available at home centers and are simple to install for electric water heaters. If yours is gas, you may want or need the help of a plumber or HVAC technician to be sure that none of the gas-related components are covered.
- Put heat traps on the pipes extending from the top of the water heater. These let water in, but don’t let it escape. They use ball valves that open in only one direction.
If you’d like further assistance with increasing your water heater efficiency, contact Cool Power LLC. We’ve provided HVAC and appliance services for Long Island homeowners since 1975.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about water heater efficiency and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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