How To Make The Most Of Your Water Heater
Most water heaters should last around 10-15 years. To get the most out of your water heater and to keep your water heater in the best energy efficient shape, follow these simple tips.
Bundle up your water heater
You can bundle up your water heater in a nice cozy insulating jacket. This is particularly helpful if the heater was made before 1992. This insulation will help reduce heat loss through the walls of a tank by 25-40 percent. The most dramatic savings, of course, will come from the older water heaters. Make sure you don’t put a jacket on a model that the manufacturer says not to and make sure that you don’t cover the thermostat. Also don’t restrict the air inlets on gas- or oil-fired water heaters.
Set your water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
This should be plenty comfortable and prevent any scalding injuries that could occur if the water is set too high. Each 10 degree reduction in water temperature setting cuts the heater’s energy consumption by 3-5 percent. (Hint: You should be washing clothes in the “warm” or “cold” wash and rinse settings).
Turn thermostat off or down.
When you go on vacation remember to turn the thermostat on your water heater off or down to its lowest possible setting. If your water heater has a pilot light, make sure you know how to relight it when you get back. You don’t need to heat and reheat water when you are not home!
Insulate your hot water pipes to reduce heat loss on the way to the tap. Putting in heat traps or one-way valves in the pipes to cut loss helps too. Insulate the first 3 feet of the cold-water pipe connected to the water heater.
Replace it before it breaks down!
If your water heater is in its golden years (10-15 years old), you should have a plumber take a look at it to advise you on how much life is left in it. If it is starting to go or just running very inefficiently, it may make sense to start looking at a more energy efficient water heater. Don’t wait until you have a houseful of overnight guests during the holidays. You don’t want to be forced to make a quick decision regarding your water heater without having time to way the options and pick the best one for your needs.