Whether you hope to lower energy usage for monetary or environmental reasons, your hot water heater can be a simple place to make some cuts. Even better, lowering the energy needs also often lowers the amount of stress on your hot water heater. This can prolong its service life, or at least cut down on the need for repairs. The following are two ways that small repairs can both save on energy usage and help your water heater have a longer life.
#1: Check the insulation
Older hot water heaters do not always have adequate insulation. You can repair this issue by wrapping the heater in a blanket for additional insulation.
However, not just any blanket will do. It must be a hot water heater insulating blanket. These pads are designed specifically to fit hot water heaters. The insulation they provide means that heat doesn't escape through the metal sides of the heater. This lowers the amount of energy needed to maintain the temperature inside the tank.
Further, the heating elements will not have to work as hard, which prolongs their useful service life. Blankets do need to be fit to the tank carefully to ensure they do not pose a fire danger, particularly on gas hot water heaters. You can hire a water heater repair service to come in and properly fit the blanket so you won't need to worry.
#2: Calibrate the thermostat
A failing thermostat or one set to overly hot temperatures can waste energy. First, make sure the thermostat is accurate by checking the temperature setting to the actual temperature of the hot water coming from your faucet.
If there is a difference of more than a degree or two, then you need to call a repair service to recalibrate or replace the thermostat. This repair is much less expensive than installing a new hot water heater.
If the thermostat is accurate, then verify that it is set to the best temperature. Hot water heaters have adjustable thermostats, so it's important to ensure the temperature is set high enough to make sure no bacteria grows but low enough so energy isn't wasted on unnecessary heat.
Turning down the thermostat can also minimize the chances of a burn when using the hot water in a home. The optimum temperature for the heater is about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower poses the risk of bacteria growth. As a side benefit, a lower temperature is easier for the appliance to maintain, so there won't be as much wear.
Of course, a repair may not always be possible, which means it may be time to upgrade. If your hot water heater is more than 10 years old, or if it's capacity is too small for your household, updating to a newer appliance can be the best way to save on energy usage. For more help, contact a water heater repair service in your area.