EPA encourage residents to seal leaksEveryone loves a long shower or a warm bath, but hot water can be expensive, especially if you have a large family. Water heating is the second most costly utility expense. Although it is usually easier to heat water and keep it hot during the summer months, it can still be a strain on your finances due to water bans, increased electricity rates and natural gas prices. Fortunately, energy.gov recommends several solutions for lowering your utility bills with hot water efficiency tips.

Tankless water heaters

Rather than relying on a hot water heater and storage tank, tankless water heaters heat water directly as you use it. When you turn on a hot water tap, whether it is your kitchen sink, shower or dishwasher, cold water flows into the water heater, and a gas burner or electric element heats the water. Most tankless water heaters can put out 2 to 5 gallons per minute of hot water, which makes them optimal for smaller households.

Due to their limited output, it is not advisable to run too many appliances at the same time. For instance, if you try to take a hot shower at the same time as you are running your dishwasher, you will probably max out your water heater’s capacity. Still, this is not terribly difficult to manage with a little forethought and planning. It might cost more, but to meet higher demand, you can install multiple units at key points in your plumbing to get the most out of your tankless heaters.

Solar water heating systems

Solar water heaters create hot water with solar power. These systems include solar collectors and storage tanks. The design is relatively simple, but they are only feasible in areas that do not experience any hard freezes during the winter months. Solar water heating systems work by running water through a solar array, which collects solar energy in order to heat the water. That water is then run into a storage tank, where it is kept hot and available for use in the household.

Reduce hot water usage

If you don’t want to invest in a new hot water heater, you can still save money on your utilities bill by reducing the amount of hot water you use. One of the most basic and obvious things you can do is fix leaks. Leaks happen all the time as pipes and water faucets age. Homeowners who are not comfortable doing their own plumbing should hire a professional to fix leaks to avoid wasting hot water.

A cheap and easy solution to reducing hot water usage is to install efficiency, low flow shower heads. There’s nothing like a hot shower, but most shower heads are very wasteful. Although there is an initial investment to purchase the new hardware, it will quickly pay for itself by saving you money on your utility bills.

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