Improve Your Water Heater's Efficiency

It costs around $781 a year to operate a water heater. This might not seem like a lot of money, but over about seven years, the cost of operation would exceed $5,000. Finding a way to save some of this money could free up cash to make several small home improvements. Learn how to increase the efficiency level at which your system operates to save money.  

Make Fixture Upgrades

The less water you use, the less water you have to heat. You can minimize your water usage by upgrading to low flow fixtures. Typical shower heads generate about 5 gallons of water per minute, whereas low flow fixtures only generate about 2.5 gallons. For a 10-minute shower, that's a savings of about twenty-five gallons of water. Over the course of a year, this reduced water usage could result in a significantly decreased need for relying on your water heater.

Clean The Tank

Make sure you aren't overlooking tank maintenance. More specifically, cleaning the tank. With regular use, sediment can build up along the base of the tank, creating a barrier over the heating element that increases the time it takes to heat the water in the tank. This ultimately increases energy usage and operating costs. All manufacturers provide recommended cleaning schedules so a glance at your owner's manual can help. However, a technician can also help you determine how often to clean.

Adjust The Thermostat

Lower the temperature on your thermostat. Many manufacturers preset heaters to 140 degrees; however, the needs of the average household only require a temperature setting somewhere between 120 and 130 degrees. To offer an incentive for making this adjustment, recognize that every ten degrees in reduction of temperature on a water heater can result in as much as $30 a year in reduced operating costs. The average homeowner can generally make this adjustment on their own.

Insulate Your Tank

Most newer tanks already come with built-in insulation; however, older tanks don't. A lack of insulation causes a water heater to work harder to maintain the temperature of the water, resulting in increased energy consumption. Visit a home improvement store and select an insulting blanket that is large enough to fit around your tank to solve this problem. When installing the blanket, ensure you aren't covering the exhaust or air inlet to maintain proper ventilation.

There are a number of ways in which you can improve the efficiency level at which your system works. A technician can provide you with further assistance in this area.