Serving Greater Lynchburg

Money Saving Water Heater Tips

Money Saving Water Heater Tips

Hot Water

Tank storage water heaters are one of the most energy intensive appliances in the home, second only to heating and cooling systems. By changing a few habits and installing some simple accessories, you can significantly reduce energy consumption and water usage.

1. Reduce Hot Water Usage At the Source

One of easiest ways to cut hot water usage is to install water saving low-flow shower heads. The flow rate on a shower head should be no more than 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM). Many water conserving shower heads can reduce flow to as little as 1.6 GPM while maintaining good water pressure. At this flow rate, water savings for a household of four could be as much as 14,000 gallons a year along with greatly reduced energy required to heat the water.

2. Install Pipe Insulation

During cold weather it can take a while for the water at the tap to warm up. This means running the water for a longer period of time because the cold metal pipes are cooling the water as it passes through. In even a small home, as much as 10 percent of the energy used to heat water is lost traveling through supply pipes. By installing inexpensive foam insulation around hot water supply pipes you can significantly reduce heat loss and energy waste.

3. Insulate the Tank

While many new gas and electric water heaters have good insulation built into the tank wall, many older tanks allow a lot of heat to escape. The larger the water heater, the more surface area there is for heat to escape. You can prevent heat loss by wrapping the water heater tank in an insulation blanket designed for water heaters.

Before adding insulation to the water heater tank be sure to read the owner’s manual. Some manufacturers recommend against installing insulating blankets on energy-efficient models. It’s also important to ensure that none of the vents or controls are blocked and that the blanket material is heat resistant.

4. Perform Annual Maintenance

Over time, storage tank water heaters will accumulate sediment that reduces heating efficiency. Flushing the tank annually will remove this sediment and make it easier for the burner or heating element to heat the water. If your home has hard water this is even more important as mineral deposits can build up quickly, wasting energy.

5. Wash Laundry In Cold Water

Many liquid laundry detergents are formulated to clean very effectively in cold water. Depending on the size of your household, switching the washing machine setting to cold water could save hundreds of gallons of hot water each month.