When brainstorming the best places to cut back on energy use, you might think of the obvious things, like windows and light bulbs. But it’s time to take a look at your water heater.
Turns out, that important appliance uses a whole lot of energy.
Don’t worry. We’re not going to tell you to toss your water heater. And if you’re not ready to purchase a new one, that’s fine, too.
Here are five tips to help you use less hot water and save energy.
1. Turn down your tank’s thermostat
The Energy Department recommends you set your water heater at 120 degrees-Fahrenheit. This is not only good for energy savings, but it also lowers the risk of scalding from hot water.
On most water heaters, you can adjust the heat on a temperature-setting dial. But if your model doesn’t have one, you can test the temperature of the water with the faucet that’s farthest away from the water heater. From there, adjust the dial on the water heater and test the temperature again in two hours, once it’s had time to adjust. Be patient, this may take a few tries to get it right.
2. Use less hot water
Ok, so this one seems obvious, but there are some automatic measures you can take to ensure you’re using less hot water.
The easiest way to use less hot water is to install a low-flow showerhead. Also, be sure that you’re using the proper settings on your dishwasher and washing machine. For your dishwasher, only wash full loads and use shorter wash cycles. For your washing machine, opt for cold water over hot, since most loads of laundry can actually be washed with cold water.
3. Insulate exposed hot-water pipes
Covered pipes deliver water to the faucet that’s 2 to 4 degrees warmer, so no need to wait for the water to heat up.
To get the job done, buy easy-to-install, self-sealing sleeves at your local hardware store.
4. Cover your hot water tank
While most new hot water heaters already have built-in insulation, older units could benefit from some added protection. Installing an insulating blanket on older units can reduce heat loss by 25 to 45 percent, which saves you four to nine percent on your water-heating bill.
If your unit has an R-value of less than 24, you should consider covering your tank with an insulating blanket. You can find one at your local hardware store. Not sure what your R-value is? Check the label on the tank.
5. Go tankless
When you’re ready to replace your water heater, consider going with a tankless model. Tankless water heaters only heat water when you need it, as opposed to heating a large tank of water that may go unused. ENERGY STAR estimates an average family can save $100 or more each year with a tankless water heater.
Keep Service Guard on speed dial
As always, if your water heater wrecks, or any other appliance breaks down, give us a call at 800-504-2000. We’re happy to help get your appliances back in working order.