Does my water heater use a lot of energy? 

Does my water heater use a lot of energy? 

Dear Matt,
Does my water heater use a lot of energy? 

Water heating is something we sometimes forget about when it comes to energy conservation, but saving energy here is easier than you think. Water heaters are large users of energy behind heating and cooling your home. Most estimates I have seen say between 12 to 14 percent of your home’s energy usage is from the water heater. 

I have seen water heaters in uninsulated garages and in other areas in the home that are not protected from the elements. If you have a situation like this I would make it a priority to insulate the space it is in. Units can overflow, have elements go bad, or other malfunctions that can also impact the amount of energy it uses. So, check on the water heater from time to time. It’s something we tend to overlook even though we use it daily (much like electricity). 

Most members have a tanked water heater that runs on propane, natural gas or electric. No matter how you heat water, you can save by doing a few simple things. 

Set the water temperature to 120 degrees or less. If you are a home of only one or two, try setting that temperature at 115 degrees and see if that doesn’t make even a slight difference. If that doesn’t work, you can return the temperature where it was. 

Insulating your water heater with a wrap will help insulate older models. Most newer water heaters have good insulation built-in, but adding a wrap around the unit does not hurt. The hot water lines coming out of the water heater are another place to insulate. Make sure you don’t have any dripping connections or faucets that are also wasting water. 

Another great tip is to drain a couple of gallons of water from the bottom of the unit annually to reduce sediment buildup. 

The fastest way to reduce the amount of hot water you need is to find alternatives. For example, wash laundry in cold water, and rinse dishes in cold water before loading a dishwasher. These are the easiest ways to start saving a little when it comes to your home’s water heater.