Simple But Effective Ways to Save on Your Hot Water Costs

Heating water for everyday use is often a household's major portion of their energy bill, but many homeowners don't consider how they can lower that bill by changing just a few simple habits and with some simple fixes to the water heater itself. Consider some easy but effective ways to save on your hot water costs at home, and be sure you discuss these with your family so they're doing all they can to reduce energy consumption as well.

1. Wash clothes in cold water

Unless your laundry is greasy or oily, cold water is usually sufficient for the washing machine. Today's laundry detergents are strong enough to get out tough dirt and debris, and the powerful agitators in most machines will also help to get your clothes clean without hot water. Cold water can also be easier on your clothes and help them to avoid fading and shrinking.

2. Boil water for baths

It may take less electricity or gas to boil a pot of water on the stovetop than to heat it in a hot water heater, since that pot of water is smaller and in closer contact with the heating element. If you must take baths rather than showers, boil or heat some water on the stove and mix this with lukewarm water in the tub, rather than running the hot water out of the bathtub faucet itself.

3. Fix leaks

You may not think that water leaks affect the hot water heater, but those leaks could be allowing water to escape from the heater itself. In turn, it will need to switch on more often to heat up fresh water delivered to the tank. When you notice a dripping faucet or have water stains under a sink, replace the washer of the faucet or the connectors to pipes as needed.

4. Clean the hot water heater regularly

If the inside of the hot water heater tank or any of its hoses should get clogged with sediment or rust of any sort, this can cause the heating element to work inefficiently. You may notice a rattling or gurgling sound from the heater when it has rust or crystals that have collected in the water or the bottom of the tank, and you may also notice lukewarm water from the taps and showerheads. Having the tank cleaned every year or as recommended by the manufacturer will mean keeping it running optimally and saving energy on water heating costs.