Energy Saving Idea

We have quite a few water heaters at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters and many of them are only used during the summertime. I found some great tips for dealing with water heaters from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. You may only have one water heater but these tips could help you cut down on your energy use and save money too.

May 15, 2015

Water heating tips to save on your utility bill
Water heating is the second largest energy expense in U.S. homes, accounting for about 18 percent of your utility bill. Heating and cooling is first at about 50 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), there are several basic ways to cut your water heating bills: use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, and buy a new, more efficient water heater.

Some common water heating tips from the DOE and Minnesota Department of Commerce include:

  • Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
  • Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
  • Use less hot water—take shorter showers, wash only full loads of laundry and dishes, and don’t let hot water run when shaving or washing dishes by hand.
  • Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees F to get comfortable hot water for most uses. Set too high, or at 140 degrees, your water heater can waste up to $60 annually in standby heat losses. Temperatures over 120 can increase the risk of scalding.
  • 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, buy 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.
  • If your water heater is 10-12 years old, you will likely need to replace it soon. Buy a new high-efficiency ENERGY STAR water heater. A gas-fired, power-vented model, for example, is vented through a sidewall or vertical roof vent and reduces backdrafting concerns.
  • It is best to research new water heaters before the old one fails. Determine the water heater that best meets your needs and look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels. ENERGY STAR-certified water heaters can use 50 percent less energy than equipment that meets the minimum federal standard. You can find the ENERGY STAR label on water heaters in several categories.

DOE offers guidance on “Selecting a New Water Heater”  and “Water Heating Tips.” For consumer information on water heating, including water heating options and when to replace your water heater, check out the Home Energy Guide (pdf) from the Department of Commerce.

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