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How can I keep my water heater bill low this winter?

Contrary to common belief, it’s actually possible to stay warm this winter without breaking the bank. There are easy cures for those skyrocketing energy bills. Whether your water heater is electric or gas, water heating costs play a big role in your monthly energy consumption. As appliances go, your water heater is one of the top energy using appliances in most any house. Cutting consumption starts with forming simple habits. Save more money this season on your water heater bill (energy costs) by following these energy-saving tips.

  1. Turn your water heater down. Most heaters are set to a default of 140 degrees, but the optimal setting is 120 degrees fahrenheit. This setting allows you to have plenty of hot water while consuming less energy and eliminating the risk of hot water scalding you or a family member.

  2. Short showers are key. Reduce your time spent in the shower and avoid baths altogether. A bath with just a few inches of water in it can cost you a lot more money than a shower. You can even turn the water off while shampooing or shaving and then turn it back on to rinse to use less water.

  3. Don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth shave or turn away to grab dishes for the dishwasher.

  4. Wash only full loads of dishes and choose shorter cycles. You can also choose to use cold water for laundry loads, which will lower your bill significantly.

  5. You can also replace an old inefficient water heater with a modern energy efficient model. You might even consider a tankless water heater instead of a traditional one that always has to keep its water tank hot. Compare the merits of conventional water heaters to tankless heaters with this helpful water heater infographic.

Here are more fall and winter energy-saving tips that you can apply around the house:

  1. Keep control of your ventilation. Seal all window and door frames, power sockets and recessed light fittings. These openings could lead to more warm air leaking out. You can use caulk or foam to fill these openings.

  2. Add extra insulation. You can layer up mineral wool in your attic or use thick curtains to insulate glass windows. You can also stick transparent polyethylene film to your windows.

  3. Leave thermostats alone. Set it to one temperature and don’t change it on a whim. Or if you have a smart thermostat, program it for maximum efficiency so the house doesn’t stay as warm during the day when nobody is home. Program the temperature to turn a bit warmer about an hour before you get home from work so the house is comfortable when you get home.

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