Hot water is a pleasure, but the amount of energy used to produce it can be a concern. Fortunately, there are strategies for minimizing energy use while still enjoying hot water in your home.
1. Upgrade Your Current Heater
An old hot water heater will be less efficient and will require more energy compared to a newer Energy Star model of the same capacity. Replacing your old water heater may make the most sense if your goal is to save energy. This is especially true if your older unit has been needing frequent repairs to stay functional. Further, you can consider upgrading to a tankless or on-demand heater, which will use less energy than even the more efficient tank models.
2. Invest In Insulation
Insulating your water heater prevents heat loss, which means the appliance won't have to expend as much energy to maintain a tank of hot water. In summer, this insulation also prevents the heat from bleeding off into the surrounding air, which can lower your cooling needs. The easiest way to insulate a water heater is with a tank blanket. Your water heater service tech will custom fit the blanket to your tank in order to minimize as much heat loss as possible.
3. Schedule Regular Maintenance
Regular maintenance and repairs ensure that your water heater is working as efficiently as possible. For example, most hot water heaters need to be flushed once a year to remove hard water deposits. By doing this task, the water in the tank can be heated more efficiently. Plan for a flushing and inspection annually if you want to ensure maintenance issues don't affect energy usage.
4. Install in the Right Location
Not every area of your home is suited to a hot water heater. Ideally, the appliance won't be subjected to outdoor temperature fluctuations. This means that your unheated garage is not the best place for the heater since it will have to use more energy to keep the water hot in the middle of winter. An indoor utility room, heated garage, or a basement are better locations.
5. Use Vacation Mode
If you won't be using hot water for a while, such as if you are leaving on an extended trip, check the thermostat on the unit for a "vacation mode." Many modern water heaters offer the option to turn off or at least turn down the temperature on your water heater with a simple flick of a switch. This can save quite a bit of energy since your water heater tends to keep water hot in a standby mode, even if you aren't using it.
Contact a water heater installation and repair service for more assistance.