Aside from home heating, water heating represents the greatest consumption of energy, accounting for up to 25 percent of a typical energy bill. That’s a large portion of any household budget. But the good news is that you can reduce your utility bill and cut down your energy use with some relatively simple steps.
Energy-efficient heaters can reduce costs
The easiest place to start is by choosing an energy-efficient water heater. Water heaters that use less energy cost less to operate. But no matter the age or efficiency level of your water heater, you can still trim your monthly utility bill by making simple energy-saving upgrades elsewhere in your home.
Use low-flow faucets and showerheads
When you use less water, there’s less water to heat. So install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads in your kitchen and bathrooms. According to Energy.gov, you’ll achieve water savings of up to 60 percent.
Fix leaky faucets
Keep an eye out for leaky faucets because they can waste gallons of water in a short period of time. One drip per second wastes 6,288 litres of water per year, according to Energy.gov.
Use cold water for washing clothes
Not only is washing in cooler water gentler on fabrics, but according to BC Hydro, changing from hot to cold water can save about $30 a year in energy costs, based on 3 loads per week.
Is your tank well insulated?
Make sure your hot water heater is well insulated to maximize energy efficiency. If your tank is warm to the touch, it needs more insulation. Added insulation can reduce heat loss by 25 to 45 percent. This can save you around 4 to 9 percent in water heating costs.
Check your pipes for insulation
Adding insulation around piping can minimize heat loss, so be sure to insulate at least the first six feet of the hot and cold water pipes that connect to your water heater. And check all hot water lines and tanks to be sure they are insulated. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for how to add insulation.
Optimize your thermostat settings
Consider setting the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit / 48.9 degrees Celsius. This temperature will provide comfortable hot water for most uses.
Maintain your system
Drain a litre of water from your water tank every three months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for how to do this safely.
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