Should you keep your old water heater or buy a new model to save energy?
If you’re not aware of what the bulk of your home’s energy use goes to, you may be interested to know that water heater tanks are a major source of energy waste in most households. Old homes are usually equipped with outdated water heaters that are close to retirement, but if you’re hesitating about making that big investment to buy a brand new one, you can still start saving money without installing a new unit.
Does Your Hot Water Have to Burn You?
The most obvious trick to save on energy costs is to consider whether you really need your hot water to be scolding hot, or get by turning it down a few degrees. Just by tuning the knob on the hot water heater a tad you are guaranteed to decrease in your monthly utility bill. Turning the heat up, on the other hand, is usually not recommended because you risk burning out the heating elements.
Insulate Your Old Hot Water Heater
The second trick is not as obvious and common as just turning down the heat, and it does require a bit of work. Insulating your water heater either with a cabinet or with an insulating blanket that wraps around the hot water heater is a great way to save money with relatively little effort. Older water heater models are especially susceptible to losing heat around the tank, whereas modern water heaters don’t necessarily require insulation. Here are some tips on how to go about insulating your hot water heater tank:
- Water Heater Insulation Cabinet: If you’re a natural born DYI builder, you may want to consider putting together a cabinet that surrounds the water heater tank, and insulating the box to prevent heat from radiating from the tank.
- Water Heater Insulation Blanket: These water heater accessories are available in most hardware stores, and shouldn’t cost much more than $20. A blanket around the water heater will ensure that the tank retains the temperature of the water longer, hence needing less energy to keep reheating it. If you’re not sure whether your water heater actually needs insulation, you can test the temperature on the top of the heater with your hand, and if the temperature difference is major, you can probably benefit from insulation.
Ready to Switch to an Energy Efficient Water Heater?
Resuscitating an old water heater just might be a lost cost, and there comes a point when switching out your outdated model to a new one makes the most sense. If you’re afraid of high installation costs, remember that down the line you are looking at significant monthly savings on your energy bill when your home is supplied with a modern hot water heater that’s designed to conserve energy.
Before you start calling around for deals on new water heaters, it’s a good idea to make a decision on which type best fits your needs. Tankless water heaters combine efficiency with compact size, but you may even want to consider a solar heating system for even better savings. If you are a believer in traditional water heater tanks, you may want to go with a gas water heater, since natural gas is a cheaper form of energy than electricity.