Winter is well on its way, which for many households means bitter temperatures, snow on the ground and sky-high utility bills. People who live in colder areas of the country inevitably see their heating bills rise during the frosty winter months, no matter how many efficiency measures they take. That's all the more reason to pay attention to other aspects of your home systems, like your household plumbing, to try to make up some of the money you spend on heating your home. In particular, there are savings to be found in your water heating bill. Read on for tips on how to cut back on hot water consumption this winter.
Savings Found in Your Household Plumbing
Water heating typically accounts for the second largest chunk of the average American's energy bills, just after heat and air conditioning. Follow these suggestions to keep the bills from getting out of hand over the winter:
- Keep the Temperature Low: This isn't just a winter tip, it applies all year long. The federal Department of Energy recommends keeping the thermostat on your water heater set to 120 degrees, even though many units can go as high as 140. In addition to keeping your energy bills under control, lower temperature settings prevent scalds, which can be especially dangerous to children and the elderly.
- Take Shorter Showers: When the temperatures outside plummet below freezing, it's tempting to linger in the shower, soaking up all that hot water. Just remember that the water comes through your household plumbing at an average of two gallons per minute, and you're paying to heat all of it. Keep the shower short and bundle up afterward for comfort instead.
- Insulate, Insulate, Insulate: You can help your water heater preserve its warmth by insulating the tank, preventing the water from cooling down and forcing the unit to do twice the work. This can be particularly important if your appliance is located in the basement or another area of the home that isn't well-heated. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer instructions when installing the insulation so you don't accidentally cover up the thermostat or burner.
- Spring for a Replacement: If your hot water heater is getting long in the tooth, you might find the most effective way to save money is to shell out the cash for a new one. Energy Star-certified models cost less to run over time due to increased efficiency features, and there are a variety of new technologies available as well that could help you save, such as tankless or solar-powered units.
Plumbing Experts With an Eye on Efficiency
If you need service for your water heater or any other work on your household plumbing, call up an expert plumber today.