By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

According to the US Department of Energy, water heaters are the second biggest contributors of electricity in the home. They account for almost 17% of a home’s energy use. The estimated average cost per hour of a water heater that uses 4,000 watts is $0.40 per kWh. If you regularly consume 2 to 3 hours of energy per day, that would result to $25 to $37 per month. It is a different matter during winter, when you probably have to heat more water for your bathing, cleaning or hand-washing needs.

Aside from buying low-flow shower heads and faucets, there are simple domestic strategies that you can employ to conserve energy when heating water.

  1. Reduce the temperature. Setting the thermostat to a moderate level, say 120 degrees Fahrenheit, can definitely lower the energy consumption by 3 to 5% without sacrificing the heater’s function. Sinks require even lower temperature (105 degrees F) for cleaning hands.
  2. Use a thermal insulator on the pipes to delay heat loss and control the condensation.
  3. Limit the hours of operation as much as possible. You can take short showers instead of the regular baths or simply try to reduce your time showering.
  4. Strategically place the heater near the most frequent areas of use to minimize piping heat loss.
  5. Install heat traps on the water heater tank if it does not have yet.
  6. Use cold water when doing laundry especially during the rinse cycle.
  7. Ask a plumbing professional to repair leaks from fixtures, appliances and hot water piping.
  8. Invest in a more modern and efficient water heater. There are new models of water heating systems that provide energy savings and improved performance.

Below is a video demonstrating the proper installation of a water heater wrap:

In case it has been determined that there is a need to replace your water heater, a plumbing expert should be able to provide you informative options suitable to your household needs.