Even if you’ve just installed a new high–efficiency water heater, you can conserve water with a few minor home improvements. Installing low–flow plumbing faucets and fixtures will reduce the overall amount of hot water you use. Some of these low–flow plumbing fixtures can provide close to 60% in water savings. In addition, if you’ve installed a tankless water heater, it will be more efficient when it’s used with low–flow plumbing fixtures. Replacing older toilets with water–saving models will also save a lot of water, as will fixing leaks. While a leaky faucet or pipe may seem like a minor issue, the wasted water will add up over time, so make sure you have one of our plumbers repair any leaks in your plumbing system right away.
Lowering the hot water temperature on your water heater will greatly reduce the energy used to heat the water in your home. Consult your owner’s manual or call us before you lower your water heater thermostat. Different manufacturers have different recommended settings and thermostat locations, so you should check with one of our technicians if you cannot locate your owner’s guide.
On certain water heater models, you also have the option of installing a timer that works like a programmable thermostat for your heating system. The timer will turn of the heat to your water heater according to times of heavier or lighter hot water needs. Because of the pilot light, installing a timer for gas water heaters may not be as cost–effective as using one for an electric water heater. As always, call us if you have questions about using a timer for your water heater.
If your water heater doesn’t have a heat trap, or if you aren’t sure, call a professional about installing one. As the name suggests, heat traps use a one–way valve to prevent hot water from flowing out of the tank through the pipe feeding the tank. Installing a heat trap when you are putting in a new water heater is more cost–effective than installing one later on. You will have to install a new valve whenever you replace the water heater, so it’s better to wait until you install the new unit, unless you have many more years of use left in your current water heater.
Water Heater Insulation
Insulating the tank on your hot water heater is easy and will save you a lot of energy since the heat loss from an un–insulated water heater tank can be significant. Call a professional plumber if you aren’t sure whether you need insulation for your water heater tank, but the general rule is that if the tank is warm when you touch it, you need to buy an easy–to–install "jacket" to insulate it.
When you cover your water heater tank with a jacket designed for your specific model, make sure you don’t cover important components, such as the burner compartment or the thermostat. If you have a tankless model, you can also insulate the pipes leading to and coming from the unit. Most plumbers recommend that you insulate the first 6 feet of the water pipes connected to the water heater. Call one of our qualified plumbers if you need help or have further questions.