With cold weather just around the corner, households are looking for ways to save energy and money this winter. And one of the first items that come to mind for many homeowners is the water heater. While you know that you cannot live without hot water, many could spend just a few fewer minutes enjoying the piping hot water when showering. But that is only a fraction of the energy this appliance consumes. So it is vital to find ways to help take a little of the stress out of your water heater’s life this winter to save money and lengthen its life expectancy.
A Little Water Heater TLC
While your water heater never lets you down when you need a hot shower or to soak in a hot tub, you probably have not returned the favor. If you do not recall the last time you drained and flushed your water heater’s holding tank, the cleaning is past due. There is sure to be a bunch of sediment build-up in the holding tank, causing the heating element to be overworked. In addition, you might have noticed that your energy bill is climbing due to the added consumption of your stressed-out water heater.
Professional plumbers recommend this cleaning each year to reduce the potential for damage to the inside of the holding tank and to reduce the sediment that creates an insulating barrier between the water and heating element. If you know that your water is particularly mineral-laden, you might even want to make this a project that you take on every six or eight months to keep your energy cost down and to extend the life of your water heater.
The hot water flowing through any exposed pipes is sure to lose valuable heat in the winter. Adding pipe insulation is a great way to keep the water as hot as possible as it flows to your shower, sink, or tub. This is a much better option than turning up the thermostat on your water heater and paying even more for your hot water.
In addition, consider buying a water heater insulating blanket for the holding tank. There are covers made specifically for each style and size of holding tank to provide access to the controls. These insulating blankets have been found to increase the temperature in the average water heater holding tank by 2 to 4 degrees in the cold winter months.
Lower The Thermostat
This might sound odd if you enjoy a nice hot shower. But the average water heater is set over 120 degrees, which is considered the ideal temperature. At 120 degrees, the water is warm enough to prevent the growth of bacteria in the tank. But it is also a safe temperature to avoid any scalding burns when bathing. So unless you are showering in nothing but hot water, no cold water blended in, you will never notice the difference in lowering your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees from a comfort perspective. But you will see that your power bill is decreasing a bit.
For more information about how to reduce the cost of operating your water heater, call (720) 650-2455. The licensed plumbers at Flatirons Plumbing can provide you with many tips and schedule an appointment to drain and flush your water heater to increase its energy efficiency and life span. Our pros will also inspect for any leaks or signs of damage that could be reasonable indications that your water heater will soon be leaking or creating other issues for you, such as no hot water or no temperature control.