Water heaters produce it feasible to take a hot shower, clean your hands in warm water, and many more tasks — just by turning on the hot water tap. But hot water heat tanks utilize a substantial amount of energy, which will make them costly to operate. Understanding how much the hot water heater affects an electric bill might help you do it to reduce water heating costs.

Electricity Consumption

Water heating systems would be the second largest user of electricity in the house, accounting for an average of 18 percent of electricity prices, explains the U.S. Department of Energy. Water heaters are rated by energy factor (EF); the higher the EF, the more efficient the heater. EF is a rating of the amount of hot water produced daily per unit of fuel. For electrical heaters, EF ranges from 0.75 to 0.95. The total amount of electricity used by an electric water heater is dependent upon the magnitude of the water heater tank, the amount of water used, the temperature setting of the water heater, and also if the tank is insulated.

Calculating Energy Usage

An typical water heater runs three hours daily. An 50-gallon, 5,500-watt water heater having a .90 EF and an electricity rate of $.16 per kilowatt hour will cost $781 to operate each year. Most water heaters incorporate a label listing the annual operating price.

Reducing Water Heater Electricity Usage

To reduce the amount of electricity used by the water heater, you can lower its thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, install an insulation blanket around the tank (with an “r”-value evaluation recommended by the producer), update to an Energy Star-rated unit, or make the change to an immediate water heating program.

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