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Reducing Water Heater Energy Usage

Did you know that a water heater uses as much as 18 percent of your home’s energy? This can cause your energy bill to be extraordinarily high. As the water sits unused for a while, it will cool down. When this happens, the water heater will work to heat it up again. The cycle is consistently repeating, so it never really stops using energy. Surely you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars a month to keep your heater running, so follow these easy tips to make your water heater more energy efficient.

Turn down the tank’s thermostat

Water heaters typically come preset at 140 degrees, but the Energy Department recommends that households keep the thermostat at 120 degrees or lower. This is plenty hot enough for your showers, dishwasher and washing machine. You can save up to 10 percent on your bill by decreasing the temperature by that much.

When you are changing the temperature, use a thermometer to test the hot water. Never trust the thermostat because often times it isn’t completely accurate. Use the faucet that is farthest away from the water heater. If it reads well over 120 degrees, turn down the thermostat. Wait at least two hours before measuring the temperature again.

Use less hot water

The easiest way to cut down on hot water costs is to simply use less hot water. A family of four that showers every day uses as much as 700 gallons of water a week. Using low-flow shower heads can cut down on hot water use up to 60 percent. It’s only a one-time cost of $20 which will save on both your water and energy bills.

When using the dishwater, make sure it is on the economy setting. Also, you don’t need to pre-wash your dishes. Many dishwashers are powerful enough to handle bits of food on dirty dishes, and the extra pre-washing uses unnecessary hot water.

Drain the sediment

Over time, tanks build up sediment. This can reduce the efficiency of your water heater and waste a lot of energy. Draining the tank at least once a year can prevent the build up. To properly drain the tank, you must turn off water and power. Attach a garden hose at the base of the tank, lift the pressure relief valve and turn on the spigot. The water should drain out, along with any sediment in your heater.

Insulate exposed hot water pipes

Keeping your pipes properly insulated will allow the water to arrive up to four degrees warmer. This means you won’t have to wait as long for it to heat up, thus saving you energy and water. Insulating pipes is a fairly simple DIY job. Purchase 6-foot long self-sealing sleeves and slip them over your pipes.

Insulate your hot water tank

If your tank is older, it might need extra insulation to make it work efficiently. To determine if your water heater requires insulation, check the label for an R-value of 24 or higher. Anything less means it is not insulated. Wrapping an insulating blanket around the tank can help keep the water warm, which will cut heat loss up to 45 percent. If you do have a newer model, do not add an extra layer of insulation. This can be hazardous and could even break the machine.

If you are experiencing problems with your hot water tank, don’t hesitate to get it fixed. The longer the problem occurs, the more costly it will be to fix. JMAC Plumbing & Air Conditioning offer 24-hour emergency service, so an expert can be at your home whenever your need. For more information about Las Vegas plumbing services, contact 702.227.5622.

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