SEP 15, 2014

Hot water on demand is a modern convenience that most of us take for granted daily. However, it takes a surprising amount of energy to keep an electric hot water heater pumping out warm water, and particularly when supplying an entire household. Learning a bit about how your water heater usage can affect your electric bill may help you to reduce your monthly costs, and improve your household efficiency.

Energy Consumption Averages

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, water-heating systems are the second largest users of electricity in the average home. An electric hot water heater accounts for about 18 percent of total electricity costs. As with washers, freezers, refrigerators, and other appliances, however, modern units often come with an energy efficiency rating (EF) that lets consumers know how much they can expect to pay per month.

For water heaters, the EF corresponds to the amount of hot water the unit can produce each day per fuel unit. The higher the EF rating, the greater the efficiency of the heater. Most electric heaters have an EF range between 0.75 and 0.95, though the actual amount of electricity used will depend on the amount of water heated, the size of the water tank, the temperature setting on the thermostat, and whether the tank itself is well insulated.

Reducing Your Energy Usage

You should be able to find the energy efficiency of your heating unit by checking the yellow efficiency guide supplied with the original equipment. This document lets you know what your expected energy usage should be annually. While you can always simply purchase an energy efficient heater to replace an older model, there are a few ways you can try to minimize your current electric footprint:

  • Enclose the tank in an insulation blanket to keep water warm.
  • Lower the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Reduce your reliance on hot water.

Those living in warmer areas may find that an efficient solar water heating system can help significantly to reduce energy costs, particularly when installed in an area of the home with good southern exposure. Call (602) 870-6840 today to speak with an expert at Donley Service Center to learn more information about using an electric hot water heat.