DIY Plumbing | Water Heater Energy Efficiency

water heater temperature

Your water heater gets used every single day. Considering this it’s not much of a surprise that it accounts for 18% of the total energy your home uses according to the Department of Energy. Since your water heater uses so much energy it’s a great place to try to be more efficient and save money on your utility bills. We’ll run through some simple repairs and changes you can make to make your water heater run as efficiently as possible.

The two main areas you should focus on are reducing your hot water usage so that your water heater isn’t working so hard and reducing the heat loss of your water heater and your pipes.

How to Use Less Hot Water

  1. Installing low flow shower heads is a great way to conserve energy and water. New low flow shower heads can use as little as 1.6 gallons of water per minute while still pumping water out at 80 PSI
  2. Replace your faucet aerators with ones that use 1 gallon per minute or less.
  3. Use cold water to do laundry or at least use a cold rinse cycle.
  4. Find and repair leaks throughout your home.
  5. Don’t wash dishes by hand. Most modern dishwashers use as little as 3-4 gallons of water for a full load which is over 20 gallons less than washing the same amount of dishes by hand.

How to Reduce Heat Loss from your Water Heater

  • Invest in a water heater blanket – Just like you, your water heater likes to snuggle up on cold days. Using a water heater can go a long way to reducing heat loss and energy usage.
  • Insulate your pipes – You can buy inexpensive pipe insulation from a hardware store to prevent water from losing heat as it travels through your pipes.
  • Turn down the water temperature – Reducing your water heater temperature from 140 degrees F to 120 degrees F can reduce energy usage from 6-10 percent which can translate to a lot of savings on your utilities

These steps are a great start, but when you’re ready to get serious about energy efficiency in your home we recommend installing a tankless water heater. Modern tankless water heaters provide instant hot water and don’t have to reheat water over and over again like tanked models do. If you decide to make the switch make sure to contact a professional. Your new tankless water heater will be a major investment in your home and could be damaged if it is installed improperly.

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