Energy-Saving Tips For Cold Climates: Keeping Your Water Heater Efficient

During the winter season, residents of colder climates face an unfortunate reality: heating your home during the chilly months can easily lead to high energy bills. However, there are several energy-saving tips that can help keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank. One of the most significant culprits for high energy usage is the water heater, but there are several strategies that you can employ to keep it running efficiently.

Turn Down Your Water Heater’s Thermostat

Many homes have their water heater thermostat set too high. Hot water should be stored at around 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the "low" or "midpoint" setting on most common water heaters. When the temperature is set too high, the water heater works harder and longer to keep up. This not only wastes energy but also shortens the lifespan of the appliance. By turning down the temperature to the proper setting, you will save energy, extend the lifespan of your water heater and protect your loved ones from accidentally being scalded by overly hot water.

Add Insulation

During the winter months, the temperature of your water can drop significantly as it travels through uninsulated pipes. The water heater has to work harder to get the water back up to the desired temperature. Insulating hot water pipes can help retain the heat from the water,
reducing the workload for the water heater and increasing efficiency.

Install A Timer

A water heater timer can help you save energy by allowing you to schedule when the system runs. It’s especially effective for families with consistent routines during the week. For example, if your family leaves the home for work and school during the day, the timer can be set to only heat the water in the evening when everyone returns home. This strategy saves energy by avoiding the need to constantly reheat the water. The Department of Energy estimates that a water heater timer can cut energy usage by 5-12%.

Get A Maintenance Check-Up

Water heaters require maintenance to ensure their peak performance. Over time, sediment can accumulate inside the appliance, which can make it less efficient. Scheduling an annual maintenance check-up can help ensure your water heater is free of sediment. Common maintenance steps include flushing out the tank to remove sediment and debris and checking for leaks and damage.

Consider A High-Efficiency Water Heater

Technology has come a long way, and today’s water heaters have many advancements that can help save energy. High-efficiency water heaters can offer substantial energy savings with the same or better performance quality compared to older models. Two types of high-efficiency models are available: tankless and heat pump water heaters.

In summary, keeping your water heater running efficiently requires regular maintenance, proper insulation, and perhaps the upgrade to a high-efficiency model. Implementing these best practices can help reduce your energy bills, while keeping your home and family comfortable during the winter months.

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