Plumbing Tips

Quick Tips to Save on Your Water Heating

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Rinnai RUC 98 Tankless Water Heater. Photo David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.caMost people know their water heater is an essential household appliance, but do you know that it typically accounts for 15-20% of your energy bill expenses?

When you use hot water in your home, some goes unused and then has to be reheated due to a process called "standby heat loss". This can account for up to 20% of your water heating costs in colder weather, especially if you live further north on the island in locations like Parksville or Campbell River.

Going without a water heater entirely isn't practical, but there are definitely ways you can ration your use to conserve energy and keep some extra money in your pocket. Give these tips a try.

Tips To Save On Your Water Heating Energy Bill

Turn Down The Temperature — Carefully

You may have heard advice telling you to save money by lowering the default temperature of your hot water tank, but this can put your household at serious risk for Legionnaire's disease and pneumonia. Make sure to consult with a professional plumber before making any changes to your water heater's settings, especially in the winter.

The ideal temperature to kill bacteria in your hot water tank is 60°C, but this can vary depending on whether your water heater is electric, gas, or oil, and how large your tank is. You may want to apply anti-scalding devices as well. A professional technician will know best whether you can safely lower your water heater's temperature, and by how much.

Get A Water heater Inspection

Do you get your water heater inspected every year before the winter? It's a good idea to do so — it can save you from huge energy bills by ensuring the heater is working optimally. Reputable and certified plumbers in Parksville will detect any problems and do the necessary servicing, so you get the right water flow and temperature in the winter, and your bill doesn't suddenly soar.

Use Less Hot Water

New water heater installation. Photo credit  Brian Cantoni / @cantoni on Flickr.Can you use your water heater less often? Hot showers are the number one culprit of soaring water heating costs. You can try switching to low-flow showerheads, taking shorter showers, turning off the water while you're soaping up, and always using lukewarm water.

There are plenty of cold water laundry detergents these days, and a lot of water goes into washing clothes, so you can try doing your laundry in cold water and saving the hot water for really stubborn stains. Switching to Energy Star rated washing machines and dishwashers can also reduce your hot water use.

Repair Any Leaks

Gallons of water are wasted every year due to water tank leaks, so don't wait to get them fixed. Call a professional plumber in Parksville to catch leaks early and get them repaired quick.  As long as water is being wasted, your bills are rising!

Add Thermal Insulation

It's usually inexpensive to add insulation to your hot water tank, and doing so can cut standby heat loss by 25-50%, reducing your water heating costs by 5-10%. If your tank is warm to the touch, it's a good candidate for insulation, especially if it's located in the basement, attic, garage, or outdoors. Try wrapping it in a thermal heat blanket, and wrap the pipes running from your tank with pipe foam. Get the highest R-value insulation you can afford: most pipe insulation is R-3, but higher numbers block more heat.

Reuse Hot Water

Have you heard of drain water heat recovery systems? Most hot water flows down the drain, but this technology captures the heat within the drain and uses it to pre-heat fresh cold water making its way into the heater. These systems are usually only a few hundred dollars, and let you reap the benefits of lower water heating bills for years to come. Just call your local Parksville plumber to have it installed.

Upgrade To A More Efficient Water Heater

Exterior tankless water heater installation.Old water heating systems tend to consume more electricity. By upgrading to an Energy Star rated model, you can save 15% of the total cost of energy bills. You can also invest in a system with heat traps for even more energy efficiency.

Switch To Solar or Tankless Water Heaters

If you decide to replace your old water heating system, another option is to invest a little more up front to purchase a solar or tankless hot water system. These systems can slash your energy costs by half, or even more. Tankless heaters in particular minimize many of the inconveniences of traditional hot water tanks, such as space, temperature fluctuations, and risk of flooding. They can be a great option for your household — give it a thought, and if you have any questions about tankless water heater brands and how they work, feel free to contact our professional plumbing technicians. We're happy to help!