Your hot water heater also 'heats' fuel bills

By

My wife and I are away from the house from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Is it worthwhile and practicable to turn down the temperature on the water heater, as we do the thermostat on the furnace? Also, does simple technology exist for doing so, either in regard to existing or new gas hot-water heaters? A reader Glencoe, Ill.

It certainly will save you money to reduce the temperature of your water heater. How much depends on the size and life style of a family; in other words, the demand for hot water.

It certainly will save you money to reduce the temperature of your water heater. How much depends on the size and life style of a family; in other words, the demand for hot water.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Perhaps surprisingly, the hot-water heater is a major part of the energy bill these days. In fact, new houses are so much better insulated that the hot-water portion of the energy bill can approach, or even equal, the cost of heating the house itself, according to a spokesman for Mass-Save Inc., a company that performs home energy audits in Massachusetts.

The firm recommends a water temperature of 120 degrees or less, unless the house has an automatic dishwasher.

''We prefer 110 degrees, if possible,'' says the Mass-Save spokesman. With an automatic dishwasher the temperature has to reach 140 degrees or hotter.

If you can control the temperature of the water on your water heater, by all means turn it to a lower setting. If you cannot control it yourself, you'll have to ask the utility company to do it for you.

In other words, keep the temperature as low as you can while still being satisfied with the temperature of the water.

There is no time-clock thermostat on the market for hot-water heaters, as there is for the home heating system. However, such a device is on the way, according to Mass-Save.

What every homeowner can do is buy an energy-saving insulation blanket for the water heater at hardware and home-improvement stores. The cost may be $15 to low-cost insulation tubes that are easy to install.

Hot-water heaters today are much more energy-efficient -- more thickly insulated - than they were a few years ago. Even so, an outside insulation wrap still makes sense.

By the way, Mass-Save Inc. already has performed more than 50,000 home energy audits and is receiving requests at the rate of more than 100 a day. The backlog right now is running from four to six weeks. The nationwide home-energy-audit program was mandated by Congress in 1978.

Mass-Save bills the consumer $10 for the two- to three-hour audit, although the total cost runs closer to $130. An added charge on everyone's monthly utility bill helps to offset the cost.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...