Heat water efficiently

The water heater uses a large amount of energy in most homes. The average household spends about $15-20 per month to heat water. There are a number of things you can do to conserve energy and trim your water heating costs.

  • Use less hot water
  • Install water-conserving showerheads and faucet aerators
  • Repair leaky faucets immediately
  • Wash only full loads in your washer, using cold water whenever possible
  • Adjust the water level on your washing machine to match the load size
  • Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher
  • Run your dishwasher instead of hand washing; it uses a third less water
  • Use the energy-saving cycle
  • Adjust the temperature on your water heater; lower the hot water thermostat to 120 degrees

Consider buying a new water heating system

The average life of a standard electric water heater is about ten years. If you're in the market for a new one, here are some things to consider when shopping around.

  • Efficiency - Higher efficiency water heaters may cost more up front, but they will save you money over time because they use less electricity to operate.
  • Size - Assess your family's present and future hot water needs and purchase a water heater to match your family's size based on the chart below.

Family Size

Heater Size

2 people

30-gallon

3 people

40-gallon

4 people

50-gallon

5 people

80-gallon

  • Comparison - Look at the EnergyGuide labels on the units you are considering. Compare operating costs and operating efficiency.

Consider the alternatives

There are alternatives to the standard electric water heater. Some alternatives include:

  • Solar water heating systems - These use the sun's energy to heat water.
  • Heat Recovery Units - These recycle waste heat from your central A/C so your water heater does not use as much energy to heat water. However, it will only produce hot water on the days your A/C is being used.

These devices may save you money if you have a large family, but they have a much longer payback period.