Did you know water heaters are the second highest energy user in the home, right behind heating and air conditioning? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, water heaters consume as much as 25 percent of a home’s energy supply. The average family consumes a lot of hot water — for a household of four it costs about $620 a year just to run a water heater.
The next time you find you have a too-old or already broken water heater, replacing it with a more efficient unit can drastically lower your utility bill. Although today’s water heaters are expected to function for an average of 13 years, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends shopping for a replacement if your unit is more than seven years old. This allows the homeowner an adequate amount of time to research and select a water heater that best meets their needs instead of waiting until their heater breaks down and selecting the cheapest quick fix for cold showers.
Consumers are increasingly turning to high-efficiency water heaters that may cost more initially, but produce significant savings in water and energy usage throughout the lifetime of the appliance. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that these high-efficiency units use up to 50 percent less energy, benefiting both the homeowner’s budget and the environment.
What type of water heater is best?
How should you choose your new water heater? First, consider how much hot water you use. Do you run many hot water appliances simultaneously? Does your family use a large volume of water throughout the day?
While traditional gas and electric water heaters are still reliable and readily available, two newer types on the market can perform more efficiently: tankless and high-efficiency condensing water heaters.
Tankless water heaters are best suited for applications with periodic demand, like in apartments with one or two residents or in vacation homes. Using too many hot water appliances at the same time can overtax tankless water heaters. For example, running the clothes washer and the shower at the same time could use up all of the tankless unit’s hot water.
For families who require large volumes of hot water, high-efficiency storage-type models are best for meeting household demands. These units are effective at providing larger quantities of hot water while delivering cost savings at the same time.
Additional tips for energy efficient water heating
- Look for the Energy Star label. In many places, utilities offer rebates on Energy Star certified water heaters, up to as much as $600. With or without a rebate, choosing a model that’s earned the government’s Energy Star label can pay you back in energy bill savings. For more information, visit www.energystar.gov/waterheaters.
- Lower your water heater temperature to 120°F. Choosing a lower temperature setting can help you save up to 5% on your utility bill.
- When leaving your home for long periods of time, turn your water heater to its “vacation” or lowest setting. You can even turn the unit off, but if you have a gas water heater, be sure you know how to restart the pilot light.
Not sure whether it’s time to replace your water heater or need advice about the best model for your family’s needs? Call your local plumber for an evaluation.
Howell Services provides quality, trusted plumbing services to the Fort Bend area. We are fully licensed, insured and bonded, and offer competitive pricing and a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Call today to schedule your repair service or a comprehensive plumbing inspection.