There are only two times when we think about our water heater. The first is when we’re in the shower, with a head full of shampoo suds, and the water coming from the shower head turns ice cold. The second is when the water heater blows and there is water all over the place. I mean, let’s be honest, right? Out of sight out of mind.
A water heater is going to be one of the least efficient appliances in your home and at the same time one of the easiest things to “fix.” When talking about saving energy with a water heater you’ve got two main areas.
The first is simply to turn the heat down. There is a wide range of debate on this topic including the proper temperate, the dangers of “cold” water dish washing, the “smelly” washing machine syndrome and on and on. A lot of it is, in my opinion, wildly overblown.
The simple truth is very often people have no idea what their water heater is set to. None at all! The first step is to simply go down (or up) and look.
Some water heater thermostats may simply say “Hot” and “Warm” (in which case you may want to grab a thermometer) but most relatively modern units will show you the actual temp settings. Either way, what we’re looking to do here turns it down…even a little bit.
It’s generally accepted that a temperature of around 120 degrees is totally fine. If you’ve got any questions or concerns contact your local power authority – chances are they’ll help you out for little or no cost.
The other really easy way to decrease the energy use of your water heater is to insulate it which is really easy to do. You need no mechanical aptitude to pull this off.
What you’re going to do is get a water heater “blanket” which is just a piece of insulation that’s easy to put around a water heater. With the addition of some insulation the water heater will lose, or “leak,” less heat and therefore require less additional energy to maintain the desired temperature.