Your household's hot water usage can account for a significant portion of your heating costs. Since you cannot forgo hot water, you need to find other ways to lower your energy costs. To help you save money, here are some steps you and your family can take now.
- Lower the water heater temperature. According to the Department of Energy, you can save up to $30 for every 10 degrees you lower your water heater's temperature. The water heater can be set at 120 degrees and still offer the hot water needed.
- Use cold water when possible. Instead of using hot water for tasks, such as washing clothes, use cold water. The cold water is usually as effective. If you prefer to use hot water though, switch to cold for the rinse cycle.
- Take shorter showers. The longer you are in the shower, the harder the water heater works to heat up water to fulfill the supply request. If you are game, taking a cool shower in the summer months can amount to energy savings.
- Drain the water tank. As the water heater is used, sediment can build up in the tank. The buildup can impact the efficiency of your water heater and lead to higher energy costs. Draining the tank every few months can not only lower energy costs, but reduce the wear and tear on the water heater.
- Install a water heater blanket. The water heater tank loses heat throughout the day, which means it has to keep going to heat water. A water heater blanket provides insulation and prevents the heat from escaping from the tank.
- Purchase a timer. A water heater timer works by turning off your water heater at times that you specify. For instance, you can have the water heater turn off during the late night hours.
- Fix leaks. A constant drip from a pipe can not only run up your energy and water costs, but also damage your cabinets and other furnishings. If you experience an unexplained spike in your water bill, inspect all of the pipes for a leak.
- Install low flow fixtures. Fixtures, such as the shower head and faucets, can help to regulate the amount of hot water that is being used.
- Upgrade your water heater. If you have an older model water heater, it will not be as energy efficient as newer model ones. Depending on when and where you purchase the water heater, you might even qualify for tax credits.
For more information about water heaters, go to sites that focus on energy savings.