6 Tips on How to Improve Hot Water Heater Efficiency in Your Home

Whether you’re washing your hands, washing dishes, doing laundry, or taking a shower or bath, your water heater is an important part of daily life. Heating water accounts for approximately twenty percent of an average household’s energy budget. Here are tips on how to improve water heater efficiency. Let’s help keep your water heater’s energy consumption as low as possible.

  1. Use Less Hot Water
    This is the first and most obvious solution to improve water heater efficiency. During the cold winter months, reducing hot water usage is a simple and effective option that’s always available to you. Fewer baths, quicker showers, cold water laundry loads, and efficiently loaded dishwasher cycles all add up to greater savings.
  2. Install Efficient Showerheads and Faucet Attachments
    One way to reduce the amount of hot water you use is to replace current plumbing fixtures with more efficient alternatives. Low-flow fixtures help reduce how many gallons per minute end up as unnecessary wastewater. Showerheads and faucet aerators can be easily and affordably replaced. The difference in energy consumption is well worth the minor expense.
  3. Lower the Temperature of Your Water Heater
    Another step you can take is to lower the temperature on your water heater’s thermostat. Water heaters are commonly installed with temperatures set to 140 degrees. However, this is an unnecessarily high setting.

    The average shower temperature in the US is approximately 106 degrees. Setting your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees will leave you with plenty of heat. Lowering the setting to 120 degrees is unlikely to change any aspect of your hot water use. It will also lead to a 6-10 percent reduction in your water heater’s energy usage.

    While every water heater has a built-in thermostat, many have thermostats that don’t show actual temperature settings. Instead, these have fewer, simpler settings like “hot,” “warm,” etc. If this is the case, the “warm” setting is the more efficient (and safer) option. Here’s a short video that explains how to turn down your water heater’s thermostat.

  4. Insulate Your Water Pipes
    One way to keep your water heater from working harder than it needs to is to insulate. Insulating your hot water pipes (and your cold-water pipes) that run through exposed areas of the house can reduce unwanted heat loss. Insulating pipes is fairly simple once you’ve done some research and have taken the required measurements.

    You can also insulate your water tank itself with a water heater insulation blanket kit. This may be unnecessary if you own a newer water heater since they generally feature built-in insulation. For more information on water heater insulation, check out this link from energy.gov’s Energy Saver Guide.

  5. Drain the Tank
    Flushing out your water heater is another way to help it function more efficiently. Manufacturers typically recommend doing so two times a year. Before flushing it out, carefully consult your owner’s manual. Disconnect the energy source, close the water supply valve, and attach a hose to the drain valve that runs somewhere outside your home, like a storm drain or a large five-gallon bucket.

    Here are more in-depth instructions. As stated above, you should also refer to your owner’s manual. If you feel unsure about any step of the process, contact a reputable plumber instead of attempting to flush it out yourself.

  6. Invest in a Tankless Water Heater
    The tank of a water heater needs to be flushed out to prevent the buildup of calcified mineral sediment inside. This is one of many problems you can avoid by investing in a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters only turn on when hot water runs through them and shut off when hot water is no longer needed. This is part of what makes them the most efficient option available.

    If you’re considering replacing your old water heater, ask your plumber about tankless water heater options.

Save Money with Greater Efficiency

These tips won’t just save money during the winter; they’re reliable, cost-effective steps you can take any time to save money throughout the year. There is more to figuring out how to improve water heater efficiency than just money saved.

If you’re experiencing any issue with your water heater, or want to explore more efficient options, contact Laury Heating Cooling & Plumbing Laury Heating Cooling & Plumbing in South Jersey. We specialize in Energy Star-rated tankless water heating. Our licensed, experienced plumbers are ready to solve any problem you might encounter with any type of water heater.

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