water heater tank

11 Proven Ways to Save on Your Water Heating Costs

Heating your home is an expensive effort, and heating water is no exception. If you’ve already made strides in cutting down your home’s heating expenses but still find your utility bills higher than desired, your water tank might be the culprit.

According to Energy guide studies, water heating constitutes about 18 percent of your utility bill, making it the second-largest energy expense in your home after heating and cooling. Adjusting your water heater setup and usage habits can lead to significant savings.

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Curious to learn more? Read on for practical ways to lower your water heating costs.

  • Adjust the Thermostat

Check your water heater’s thermostat setting. If it’s above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, consider lowering it. For every 10-degree reduction, you can save 3 to 5 percent on energy and reduce the risk of burns.

  • Fix Leaky Faucets

Address that persistent leaky faucet you’ve been ignoring. A slow leak of 60 drips per minute wastes 3,153 gallons of water annually, costing you the wasted water and the energy used to heat it.

  • Upgrade to Low-Flow Fixtures

If your showerheads and faucets predate 1992, replacing them with low-flow models is smart. Modern fixtures use half as much water, saving water and energy.

  • Conserve Hot Water

Be mindful of your hot water usage. Take shorter showers, wash laundry in cold water, and run the dishwasher only when it’s complete. Small changes in your daily routine can add up to significant savings.

  • Drain Sediment From Your Tank

Regularly drain sediment from your water heater to enhance efficiency. Manufacturers recommend doing this once every year, but quarterly maintenance is even better. Sediment buildup forces your heater to work harder, leading to higher bills and a shorter lifespan.

  • Install a Timer

Avoid heating water when it’s not needed. Install a timer on your water heater to turn it off during inactivity, such as at work or asleep. This simple step can result in substantial savings.

  • Insulate Your Pipes

Older water heaters may need more insulation. If the R-value is below R-24, consider installing an insulation blanket. If the tank feels warm to the touch, additional insulation is required.

  • Install Heat Traps

Prevent heat loss through pipes by adding heat traps if your heater doesn’t have them. These valves save $15 to $30 annually, paying for themselves quickly.

  • Consider Recirculating Systems or Point-of-Use Heaters

If you wait long for hot water, explore recirculation systems or point-of-use heaters to reduce water waste and heating costs.

  • Upgrade to a More Efficient Heater

If your tank heater is nearing the end of its 15-year lifespan, consider a more efficient model like tankless or heat pump heaters. They cost less to run and provide an endless hot water supply.

Early Warning Signs Your Water Heater Might Fail

fact about water heater

Recognizing the signs that your water heater is approaching the end of its lifespan is crucial. While age is a common factor, there are various other indicators to be mindful of. While some issues may only require water heater repairs, more severe problems could necessitate a complete replacement. For instance, a water heater that’s been faithfully serving for 20 years likely needs replacement, whereas a younger unit with minor issues might get by with water heater repairs.


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Here are some signs that it might be time to consider a new water heater:   

  • Unusual Noises

Hearing strange sounds from your water heater, such as popping or cracking, could signify an impending failure. These noises might indicate sediment buildup at the tank’s bottom, causing the heater to work harder leading to increased bills. Regular professional tank draining can prevent sediment accumulation, but replacement may be necessary to avoid cracks and leaks if it has solidified.

  • Discolored Water

If your water heater fails, you may notice discoloured water containing sandy or rusty particles. Once your water quality is compromised, replacement is likely imminent.

  • Fluctuating Water Temperature

A failing water heater may result in inconsistent water temperature due to a gas burner, electric coil, or sediment buildup issues. If you’re struggling to achieve sufficient hot water or experiencing temperature fluctuations, it may be time to consider a replacement.

  • Visible Damage

The presence of visible rust or cracks signals the need for either water heater repairs or water heater replacement. While some issues can be repaired by professionals, an aging water heater, such as a 20-year-old unit, may require replacement, even if repairs are feasible. If you detect damage, it’s crucial to ask whether it’s time to replace your aging water heater.

  • Leaks

If your water heater is already leaking, it indicates that a new system is necessary. Leaks are often caused by pressure buildup inside the tank, indicating potential malfunctions in the relief valve or excessive pressure/temperature. Any observed leaks signal an immediate need for replacement.

Advantages of Water Heater Replacement Before Failure

I am contemplating replacing my water heater before it breaks down. While water heater repair is an option, several compelling reasons support proactively replacing water heaters, especially for those older or experiencing significant issues.

  • Time for Research

Both traditional and tankless water heaters boast long lifespans. However, waiting until the last minute leaves little time for research when replacement becomes unavoidable. By recognizing signs of failure or aging, initiating an investigation allows you to select the ideal water heater tailored to your home’s efficiency and performance demands.

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  • Preventing Damage

Replacing your water heater before it fails can prevent further damage to your home. What might seem like a minor leak can escalate to flooding, leading to catastrophic consequences. Unchecked leaks often indicate the overall failure of the unit, with water heater repairs being an inadequate solution.

  • Avoiding Emergency Replacements

While maximizing the lifespan of your water heater is desirable, relying on a faulty or aging unit may lead to a sudden breakdown, necessitating an emergency replacement. This situation can be stressful, inconvenient, and potentially more expensive due to emergency installation costs.

  • Cost Savings

Proactive replacement can lead to cost savings. Newer models are likely to be more energy-efficient, with tankless water heaters, in particular, offering increased efficiency compared to traditional ones. Additionally, upgrading to a new water heater can save money on recurring water heater maintenance and water heater repair costs associated with an aging unit.

Contact The Pros:

Contact the professionals here at Knowledge HVAC & Refrigeration for all your hot water needs. Our experts  have been working with all heater brands and will provide you with any hot water tank installation, repair or service.