Hot Water Tanks – Oh my!

It’s well known that hot water tanks are the major energy bleeders inside a home. Some say on average that 15% to 30% of a home’s energy cost is spent on heating hot water.
Because that number is quite high, it also leaves lots of room for improving those numbers.
If you heat with natural gas, your savings are usually better than those of us who heat with electricity. I live in rural Canada and have no access to natural gas as of yet, so I wrote this mainly with electric water heaters in mind.
There are tankless water heaters now, hybrid tanks (solar etc…) that run on solar and electricity and point of use tanks. To find out the one that is best suited to your needs, you should look online and compare. For electric purposes I find that the tankless don’t show a significant enough savings for me and for the price you pay for them, it takes longer for them to pay themselves. So for now I will not review these.
If you have a standard electric water tank such as I do. Here a few tips on saving some energy on your monthly bill.
-Purchase a hot water blanket. Here is a link to amazon of one with good reviews but you can probably find one in your local hardware store. As with all things I would check to see the reviews. You will get more savings if your tank is in a colder area then if it’s in a warm place and or if you are heating with natural gas. Also the age of your tank will greatly increase or decrease your savings. Newer tanks are much better insulated. Savings will still happen but for less. Good heating blankets can save you 5% up to 40% of your heating cost. Some suggest sitting your tank on insulation to maximize your savings. Don’t forget to also insulate the pipes as well. You lose a lot of heat through the pipes if they are not insulated.

You can look it up by typing in WATER HEATER BLANKETS or WATER HEATER INSULATION BLANKET Both should get you some results.

Insulation Blanket (U.S. link)

-Some suggest lowering your heater at 120 but I have not done this at this point. There is some controversy of whether or not it’s good for your health, and since I am not an expert. I leave that up to you on whether or not to decide if it’s a good idea. They say that most are up at 140 and that you can get energy savings of 3% to 5% for every 10 degrees you lower it. Most think that 130 is a safe bet. There are many articles relating to this.

To look into it I would suggest typing in. LOWER WATER HEATER TEMPERATURES.

-Water Heater Timers
These timers can be set to turn on at key points in your day and turn off the tank at all other times. It is said you could save up from $6 to $10 dollars per month having one of these, but some sites that it doesn’t make a real difference. Again, I do believe that might depend on the efficiency of your heater, what source you are using to heat it and where it’s located. Here are both Canadian and US link to them on Amazon, but you should be able to find them if you type in HOT WATER HEATER TIMERS. Again these can probably be found at your local hardware store.
Hot Water Timers (Canada link)

Hot Water Timers (U.S. link)
A final note on this, since it deals with wiring. I would suggest you get a professional to install this for you if you have limited knowledge of these things. Simply to make sure you don’t electrocute yourself and also to find the right position for these timers, especially since its dealing with water and electricity. And if you don’t want to deal with a timer you can have your electrician put an off and on switch that you can control when and how long the heater is on!

-Smaller water heater or point of use water heater.
These come in all shapes and sizes. The smaller ones can be put at sinks to just heat up the water you need at that location when you need it. Or the small like 30 gallons can be used for showers if you have low flow shower heads and if you use front load washers which I will talk about later on in this book.
The more water you heat in a tank, the more it will cost you. If you don’t need to heat all that water every couple of hours, why would you. Half a tea kettle full of water will heat up much more quickly than a full one. You can easily calculate or watch your hot water patterns and see if you could save this way. On that note, I would not get rid of the current hot water heater if it’s less than 5 or 6 years old. You are throwing money away by buying a new appliance before it needs to be replaced. These things are not free and must be considered to really measure out your savings. But it is a good thing to study so that when it does comes time, you can really look at your options.

Here are few examples of places that carry smaller tanks. To search for these I would suggest writing the gallons you are looking for such as 30 GALLON HOT WATER TANKS OR 6 GALLON OR 3 GALLON. Google usually can give you places you can start looking to find. As always check reviews to make sure the product is liked by the public. Here are few links. As always I post American and Canadian sites just to give you an idea of what you are looking at, but there are plenty of choices out there once you start searching.

Hot Water Heaters Lowes

Hot Water Heaters Home Depot

Here are few other tips to saving on your hot water bills.
-Wash in cold water
-Shower instead of taking a bath
-Drain water out of your hot water heater every 3 to 6 months to remove sediment from your heater and help work more efficiently and last longer
-Shut off water heater is you are leaving on vacation, why heat water when there is no one there to use it.
Of course there is site after site of ways to save on hot water heating with reviews and opinions of what work and what doesn’t, all you have to do is simply write HOT WATER SAVING TIPS in your search engine and see the sites that come up.

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