The first day of winter, December 22, is just around the corner! Even in the East Valley, where the temperature doesn’t drop too low, we can still feel the change in the weather. Unfortunately, that chill factor can also show up in a place we don’t want to see it: Our water heating bills!
In light of this, smart homeowners can take steps to protect their budget during the chilly winter months. Before the temperature drops even further, it’s a great idea to make sure you are prepared to be a smart saver and conscientious utilities user, no matter how low that weather gauge gets!
Here are some helpful tips for East Valley homeowners looking to keep their water heating bills down during the winter:
- Take short showers. Of course there are very few people who want to take a cold shower when it’s cold outside! But simply by limiting your shower time and avoiding baths, you can save yourself and your family a lot of money in water heating costs. On average, the water coming through your household plumbing rushes in at two gallons per minute! Imagine how much it costs to heat all that water? Limit your shower time, and have big warm towels, robes, and slippers waiting for you afterward.
- Insulate your water heater tank. This one’s a no-brainer! Your water heater will perform much more efficiently and hold its warmth more effectively if it is thoroughly insulated. Without proper insulation, the water in your tank will cool faster. This makes your tank have to work even harder to get your water to the right temperature. Plus, most people have their water heater in a basement or other part of their house that doesn’t stay as warm or heated as their living areas. Apply installation around your water heater for added efficiency, but make sure you read manufacturer instructions first. Covering a thermostat, burner compartment, or other certain areas with your insulation could be dangerous! It can also help to insulate the first few feet of your hot and cold water pipes as they extend from the heater.
- Keep the temperature on your water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Some water heating units can go up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but did you know that by reducing the temperature of your water heater just 10 degrees Fahrenheit, you can lower your water bill 3% to 5%? Besides, the federal Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit anyway. Any hotter and you could run the risk of scalding hot water.
- Check for leaks. Fix any and all leaks! Why waste water and money? Call a plumber to check for and to fix any leaks you might have.
- Avoid water running. Even little bouts of keeping your water running unnecessarily, such as while you brush your teeth or soap your hands, can add up. Watch your usage of water and watch your bills go down.
- Be more efficient with dishwasher use and water heater use. Use cold water for the washing machine when possible. Only wash full loads. Choose the shorter dishwater cycles.
- Use a timer. Buy a timer that turns off your hot water heater at night and low usage times.
- Check your washing machine and dishwasher. Is an old or inefficient washing machine or dishwasher contributing to your water bill blues? Getting a new unit could make a huge difference. If your washing machine is more than 10 years old, you could save over $135 per year by upgrading. New dishwashers may use as much as 33% less water.
- Buy heat traps for your water heater tank. Installing heat traps on your water heater tank could save you up to $30 a month.
- Find out if it is time to upgrade your water heater. If all else fails, it might be time to replace your water heater. Look for a unit that is ENERGY STAR certified. Ask your plumber about tank-less options or water heaters that are solar powered for even more saving options!
For more advice, or to schedule an appointment with your friendly local plumber, call Leak Dr. Plumbing today at (480) 630-3463!