Do you know how much of an average household’s total energy use goes to water heating? 14%; it is usually the second largest part of your energy bill. We use hot water throughout the whole year so any energy-saving strategy will make a big difference. Here are three tips to cut your water heating bill by one-fourth or more.
Insulate the water heater tank and hot water pipes: First, you have to check if your propane water heater needs insulation. Most of the new water heaters already have enough and no additional insulation is necessary. After checking that, then you can use foam wrap to insulate the hot water pipes all over the house. Insulating your water heater and hot water pipes will make a big difference and it will easily pay for itself in less than a year. You should also insulate the first few feet of the cold water pipe nearest the heater. Make sure you keep the foam insulation at least three inches from the heater drafthood and exhaust vent. You can use a fiberglass insulation blanket to wrap your propane water heater. These insulation kits are widely available at minimal cost. Make sure you leave the top and the area near the bottom open so that the pilot and burner can have air and your heater works properly. Also the control panel should not be insulated. (Make sure you read the safety instructions and not do anything against them. It is highly recommended that you should consult a professional for insulation.)
Turn down the temperature: There is no need for water to be hotter than 120 – 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher temperatures are not only a waste but also a danger, especially for children. If the control panel of your water heater does not have temperatures, you can use a cooking thermometer to check the temperature of the water in your sink or bath and then determine where to set the button to get a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Also if you think you need really hot water to sterilize your dishes and clothes, let me tell you that it is nothing more than a myth. You can set the button to the hottest, still your dishes and clothes will not be sterilized.
Repair or Replace: Statistically the average lifetime of a water heater is 12 years. Although with regular maintenance and routine repairs it can be two or three times longer, it is not always to your advantage to keep the old units. The new, energy-saving water heaters will pay for themselves within 3-5 years. You can replace almost all components of a water heater except the tank itself, so when the tank rusts through the only solution is to replace the water heater. There are internal anode rods that protect the water heater against rusting. Replacing these anodes every 3-4 years will considerably add to the life of the water heater.