Fall seemed to last forever this year, but fall is finally slipping away. Now, winter is approaching and you wonder if you’re ready to battle the low temperatures and high heating bill costs that lie ahead. It’s time to make sure your home’s heating system is ready and to check for any crevices that need re-sealing to hold in that precious warm air. These normal thoughts will help you keep your home comfortable and your heating bill manageable for the winter.
But, you should also think about your water usage. You already know your home’s heating will increase, but did you know your hot water usage increases as well?
According to the US Dept. of Energy, heating your water is the second largest expense in your home.
Luckily, there are several ways to keep your hot water usage to a minimum during the cold months. Here are 10 tips to minimize the heating bill by improving your water usage:
- Shorter showers
A long, warm shower at the end of a hard day can feel amazing. But, if you take extended showers day-after-day then you can expect to see significant increases in your hot water bill. One way to make it easier to shut the water off is to make sure your bathroom door is closed, which will help you keep as much warm air in the bathroom as possible.
If you prefer taking baths then you may want to start by switching to showers. On average, it costs more to run a bath than it does to take a shower. If you already take short showers then you can take that a step further by turning the water off while you’re not directly using the water (lathering, shaving, etc.) These changes may not seem like a big deal, but they’ll make a difference over the course of several months.
- Adjust your water heater temperature
Your home’s hot water heater is set to a default temperature when it’s installed. But, you probably don’t use it at it’s highest temperatures. One way to save is to lower that temperature setting to a temperature that works for you. For every 10 degrees you lower the setting, you’ll save around 4% on your hot water bill. If you lower it too much, just dial it up a bit until you settle on the perfect temperature. You may even find that you can lower it more during the warmer months.
- Use accessories for your hot water heater
If you’re like most people, your hot water heater has a pilot light (or a small flame) that stays lit all the time. This allows your hot water heater to deliver heated water to your bathrooms, kitchens and more on demand with little delay. However, if you maintain a fairly regular schedule, you can take advantage of a hot water heater timer. The timer will allow you to turn the pilot light on when you use it and off when you don’t. For instance, if you normally sleep from 11pm to 7am, without waking up, then you might set the pilot light to turn off and on around those times.
If you have an older hot water heater then you may want to look into installing heat traps on the pipes that connect to the unit. These areas around piping tend to allow cold air in and will make your hot water heater work harder. Newer units tend to have better protection but it’s worth checking, especially for older hot water heaters, to make sure you’re getting the most from your equipment.
Start lowering your heating bill costs today!
Don’t let your heating bill get the best of you this winter. Take proactive measures to keep your costs down while staying warm. These tips may not seem like a big deal, but if you add them up over time, you’ll notice a big difference in your hot water bill. If you want help identifying more ways to get the most from your heating system and to save money this winter, contact the plumbing experts at Robinson’s Plumbing today.