5 Ways to Use Your Hot Water Heater More Efficiently

You know the joys of a hot bath and the absolute necessity of warm water for cooking. But as a homeowner, you also know the frustration of a power that seems to grow exponentially, especially when you host guests or expand your family.

The contents of your power bill depend on many factors, but one of the most significant is your hot water heater usage. In fact, water heater charges can account for 18% of a single household's utility bills.

To reduce your power costs and prolong your heater's lifetime, you have to use the unit as efficiently as possible. In this blog, we give you five strategies to help you meet that goal.

1. Check Your Water Heater Settings

All hot water heaters with tanks keep a set amount of water warm in the reservoir. One of the simplest ways to reduce how much energy your heater uses is to turn down the tank's temperature.

You want to keep the settings high enough to ensure hot water flows throughout your home, but low enough that the heater doesn't waste energy. For most heaters, 48℃ to 49℃ (118.4℉ to 120.2℉) is hot enough.

2. Choose to Use Less Water Overall

When you use less water, you decrease the strain on your water and energy bills. Start habits that save water during everyday tasks, such as:

  • Filling up a bowl to wash vegetable in
  • Taking showers instead of baths
  • Turning off the shower while shampooing your hair

If you feel concerned about your home's sustainability, using water responsibly represents perhaps the most important step on this list.

3. Install Low-Flow Appliances

To improve your hot water heater and overall plumbing system performance in the long run, choose more efficient appliances. Opt for low-flow appliances, including dishwashers and washing machines, as well as low-flow fixtures.

Low-flow appliances and fixtures enable you to enjoy the hot water you do use, without putting unnecessary heating demands on your hot water unit.

4. Insulate the Tank and Pipes

In many homes, cool weather and seasonal wear and tear together reduce a hot water heater's efficiency. In cold weather, for example, your hot water heater has to work harder to maintain its internal temperature, thereby using more energy.

Insulate the heater with a tank blanket and the pipes with foam insulation to increase the unit's performance, especially in cold weather.

5. Perform Regular Tank Maintenance

Like most plumbing components, your hot water heater endures harsh conditions regularly. Over time, your heater can experience corrosion due to ageing, inappropriate use or damage.

Have your heater serviced by a plumbing professional as recommended by the model's manufacturer, usually once a year. A professional technician will check the piping, thermostat and heating to ensure each component works properly.

Additionally, he or she may drain residual sediment from your heater, a step which encourages more efficient performance. This build-up occurs at the bottom of the tank and usually consists of minerals and particles found in your water supply. Sediment control is particularly important if your heater uses water from a well.

If you implement these tactics and don't see a change in your heater's function or in your energy costs, talk to a professional plumber. Lack of results could mean that your heater has aged or sustained damage that affects its ability to function correctly. In this case, you may need to repair or replace your water heater.

Use the strategies listed here to make your hot water use more sustainable, cost-effective and efficient. To learn more about your home's plumbing systems, from the sink faucets to the concealed pipes, read our other  blog posts.

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