Conventional hot water tanks are one appliance that constantly bites into our energy savings. We want hot water when we turn on the faucet, and this comes with a price in high energy costs. A conventional hot water tank stores hot water until it is needed. When the water in the conventional hot water tank cools it’s called ‘standby heat loss’. When this occurs the tanks heating element starts up and begins to heat the water again. According to statistics, this cycle of cooling and reheating your water makes up for approximately 13 percent of your total household energy usage. However, there are a few steps that can be taken to reduce this energy cost.
How to Save Energy When Using Water Heaters
Purchase a Tankless Water Heater
This may sound a little drastic, but if your family uses a lot of water, consider going tankless. Tankless hot water heaters are also called ‘On Demand’ hot water heaters. No water is stored, as it is in a conventional tank, so no water needs to be consistently reheated. Instead, water is only heated when the faucet is turned on, so no standby energy loss occurs. Cold water simply travels through a pipe and is heated by a gas or electric heating element. The result is instant hot water with no storage required.
Turn Down the Thermostat
According to current statistics, for each 10 degrees you turn down, a saving of 3 to 5 percent will be accrued. The Department of Energy recommends hot water tank temperatures to be set at 120 degrees, as any higher will cause scalding of the skin.
Insulating your Hot Water Tank
When you are not using hot water, standby heat loss occurs. If you touch your hot water tank and it feels warm, this means that it suffers from being poorly insulated. By purchasing a hot water tank jacket or blanket, and following the manufacturers instructions, you can reduce standby heat loss by up to 25 percent.
Reducing Your Hot Water Usage
This is probably the simplest way to go in the beginning. Just use less hot water. Check your faucets and make sure none are leaking. Purchase a new, modern, energy-efficient shower head. If you have a dishwasher, use the ‘economy setting’. Wash your clothes in warm water, instead of hot water, or choose a neighborhood laundromat.
Insulate Your Water Pipes
This is economical and very easy to do. Home improvement stores will always have a good supply of pipe insulation on hand, and it’s not expensive, plus it’s easy to use, and only the first 5 to 10 feet of piping from the water heater need to be insulated. Once your pipes are insulated you will be using less energy, simple as that.
There you have it, the basic steps to take in saving energy using your hot water tank. By following these and other recommendations, along with proper maintenance of your hot water tank, your household should see a definite overall reduction in high energy costs after a significant period of time. Using the right type of water heater helps a lot too!