Natural Gas Water Heaters
Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 18% of your utility bill.
There are four ways to cut your water heating bills:
- use less hot water
- turn down the thermostat on your water heater
- insulate your water heater
- buy a new, more efficient model.
Tips for reducing your water heating bills
- Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
- Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
- Wash your clothes with cold water
- Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F to get comfortable hot water for most uses.
- Insulate your natural gas or oil hot-water storage tank but be careful not to cover the water heater's top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations; when in doubt, get professional help.
- Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
- If you are in the market for a new dishwasher or clothes washer, consider buying an efficient, water-saving ENERGY STAR® model to reduce hot water use.
- Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. Follow the manufacturer's directions.
Long-Term Savings Tips
- Buy a new energy-efficient water heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance. Look for the ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels. You can find the ENERGY STAR label on efficient water heaters in the following categories: high efficiency gas non-condensing, gas condensing, electric heat pump, gas tankless, and solar.
- Consider natural gas on-demand or tankless water heaters, which heat water directly without using a storage tank. Researchers have found energy savings can be up to 30% compared with a standard natural gas storage tank water heater.
Although most water heaters last 10-15 years, it's best to start shopping now for a new one if yours is more than 7 years old. Doing some research before your heater fails will enable you to select one that most appropriately meets your needs.