Most traditional storage tank water heaters should last around 10-15 years. You can get the most out of your water heater, keep it running efficiently, and save money by following these simple tips.
Wrap up your water heater
Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket. Insulation will help reduce heat loss through the walls of a tank by as much as 25-40 percent. Of course, the most significant savings comes from older water heaters. Before doing this make sure to check the manufacturer’s specs to see if your model can use a jacket. Also, when using an insulation jacket you’ll also need to make sure you don’t cover the thermostat or restrict the air inlets on gas- or oil-fired water heaters.
Set your water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Setting your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit provides hot enough temperatures for most appliances and prevents scalding injuries that can occur if the water is set too high. Each 10-degree reduction in water temperature setting cuts the heater’s energy consumption by 3-5 percent.
Turn thermostat off or down.
If you go on vacation turn your water heater’s thermostat off or turn it down to its lowest setting. You don’t need to heat and reheat water when you’re not home! Just remember if your water heater has a pilot light you’ll need to know how to relight it.
By insulating your hot water pipes you reduce the heat loss on the way to the tap. Putting in heat traps or one-way valves in the pipes can help cuts heat loss as well. Another helpful tip is to insulate the first 3 feet of the cold-water pipe connected to the water heater.
Replace it before it breaks down!
If your water heater is between 10-15 years old, have a plumber look it over and advise you on how much life it may have left. If it’s on the downside (closer to 15 years) or just running very inefficiently, it makes sense to start looking at new energy efficient water heaters. Don’t wait until you have a houseful of overnight guests during the holidays. You don’t want to be forced to make a quick decision regarding your water heater without having time to weigh the options and pick the best one for your needs.