5 Ways to Cut the Water Heating Costs Without Affecting Your Comfort

reduce water heating costsYou probably use hot water on a daily basis without even thinking about it. Washing your dishes, enjoying a hot cup of tea, and taking a long shower all consume hot water. However, did you know that water heating can account for 14 to 18 percent of your energy bill? You can lower your energy bill by using less hot water -- but how? Here are five ways you can reduce water heating bills.

Lower Thermostat Settings

Many water heaters are set at 140 degrees, but you can reduce the thermostat settings to 120 degrees without noticing a difference. One-hundred-forty degrees is hotter than necessary for most uses, and that temperature can even be dangerous -- scalding even -- to the bare skin. Make it safer for your family and reduce water heating bills at the same time by turning down the thermostat on your water heater.

However, many water heaters have inaccurate thermostats. Ensure that you set it to the right temperature by testing the hot water at the faucet that’s farthest from your water tank with a thermometer. Set the thermostat according to your measurements. Also, check if your water heater has two thermostats; some of them do.

Decrease Hot Water Usage

Leisurely hot showers use up a lot of hot water, which shows up on your energy bills. Encourage your family to take shorter showers and install low-flow shower heads. You can also install faucet aerators to reduce water consumption. These simple adjustments can reduce the amount of hot water your household uses by as much as 60 percent.

When you wash your clothes, set the washer to use cold water instead of warm or hot water. Don’t worry about rinsing your dishes with hot water before putting them in the dishwasher; your dishwasher will probably do the job of cleaning them just fine without the hot rinse.

Drain the Water Heater Tank

The hot water in your water heater tank can cause mineral buildup in your pipes and tank. This accumulation of sediment can reduce the efficiency of your tank, increasing your water heating bills. Prevent this by draining the water heater tank every three months to get rid of the sediment buildup and increase your tank’s efficiency.

Before you drain the tank, turn off the water and the power to the tank. If your tank is gas-powered, set the burner to pilot. Grab a water hose and connect it to the spigot. Take the other end of the water hose and point it toward the floor drain. Then lift the tank’s pressure-relief valve, turn on the spigot, and the water and sediment buildup will flow out through the house (which should be run outside or connected to a drain). Make sure that at least a quart of water is let out before you stop draining the tank.

Insulate Exposed Pipes

Check the pipes that are connected to your water heater to see if they're exposed and uninsulated. Hot-water pipes without insulation can result in a lot of standby heat loss, which causes your water heater to work harder to keep the water heated, consuming more energy and giving you higher water-heating bills.

Reduce water-heating bills by insulating your exposed pipes with long, self-sealing sleeves. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, you can always get a professional to add insulation to the pipes for you.

Add Insulation to the Water Heater Tank

Reduce water heating bills by wrapping an insulating blanket or jacket around your water heater tank. However, do this only if you have an older model. Check the label on your tank to find out the R-value of the unit. If it’s at least R24, the tank is already insulated. If not, adding an insulation blanket can reduce water heating bills by 4 to 9 percent. Make sure to not block the thermostat if you have an electric water heater or the exhaust and air inlet if you have an gas unit.

If you have a newer model that’s already insulated, adding insulation to it will not reduce water-heating bills and actually may be dangerous because it can interfere with critical components.

For more tips on how you can reduce water-heating bills in your Texas home, contact us at Thermacon Service Company. We proudly serve the areas of Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange, and Vidor.

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The Interdependent Systems in Your Energy-Efficient Home

energy-efficient homeAchieving an energy-efficient home involves looking at all the factors that account for its conditioning load. Homes that have adequate insulation, good windows, and low levels of air infiltration need less conditioning resulting in lower energy bills. Making home improvements that lower energy bills will keep more money in your pocket, while creating a more comfortable home.

Insulation

The amount of insulation in the attic and walls will make a big difference in the rate of heat transfer in your home. The DOE recommends that homes in our region have at least 10 inches in the attic to deter heat transfer. Batt and blown-in are affordable products and start working immediately. If you install your own, be sure you don't block the vents in the attic.

Windows

Unless you have upgraded thermal or Energy Star windows, they can be a source of tremendous energy gain or losses. In our region, the sunshine in the summer can add substantial heat to a room. Shade screens can block up to 90 percent of the UV light and heat entering through windows the sun hits. Reflective window film also works well, and will even keep your home warmer during the winter since the film blocks heat transfer.

Air Infiltration

Sealing the air leaks in your home's envelope and ductwork contribute a great deal to creating an energy-efficient home. It's possible to find the air leaks around windows and exterior door frames by visually examining them. Professional energy auditors and HVAC contractors can also conduct a blower door test that finds all the air leaks in your home and measures the amount of infiltration.

Duct leaks can be harder to diagnose unless the ducts are easy to access. HVAC professionals use special equipment to test the ducts and have the tools to permanently seal them. Ductwork leaks can happen at any time and will increase conditioning costs and lower indoor air quality.

To learn more about achieving an energy-efficient home, contact the experts at Thermacon Service Company. We provide outstanding HVAC services for the Beaumont, Vidor, Port Arthur and Orange areas.