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Don’t Make This Costly Mistake with Your Water Heater

We all know that utility bills can add up quickly. It’s easy to find a home or apartment and think that the mortgage payment or monthly rent will be the bulk of your expenses. Although we wish it was, that’s not always the case.

Utility expenses can spike up to $200, $300, or sometimes even up to $500 each month. Yikes!

You might typically take caution in your electricity or AC usage when you’re trying to save, but do you ever consider the effects of your heated water usage? It might come as a surprise to you that water heating can make up roughly 12 percent of a home’s utility expenses, which is the largest block behind area heating and cooling (3).

Luckily, we’re here to help you cut down on that.

The Costly Mistake

You could have the temperature of your water heater set too high, and it could be costing you more than you think.

Although most homes typically only need the water heater’s temperature to be at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, some manufacturers set it at 140 degrees. A setting this high can actually give way to a safety hazard: scalding. Being burned by water that’s too hot can be quite dangerous, depending on the location and severity of the burn (1, 2).

Setting the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees can do more than save you a few bucks. It can also deter quick mineral buildup and slow the corrosion of your heater and pipes.

So, Where Do the Savings Come in?

Turning down the temperature of your water heater can save you money by reducing two different components of heat loss.

Consumption is simply the energy lost from water use and demand. If your water heater is set too high, you could be losing a whopping $400 each year to demand losses.

Standby losses occur when heat is wasted from the water heater to its surrounding basement area. This type of loss can account for anywhere from $36 to $61 annually if your water temperature is too high. Although not as significant as consumption loss, it still adds up (1).

Other Ways to Save   

So now that you know you might want to consider lowering your water’s temperature, we have a few more tips to help you save.

Don’t leave the water running. Do you leave the water running when you’re washing dishes and step away for a second? Or when you’re brushing your teeth? Next time, shut it off while you’re not using it. It’ll save you in the long run (3)!

Use cold water for laundry. Unless you’re needing to remove heavy stains, cold water can clean your clothes just as well as hot water (3).

Opt for short showers over baths. You might think that you’re able to spend more time in the bath without using as much water as a shower, however that’s usually not true. Baths, especially in large jetted bathtubs, can require an excessive amount of water. We’re not saying you can’t enjoy a luxurious soak in the tub every now and again, but try not to take them daily (3).

Cut back on shower time. We’re all guilty of standing in the shower too long sometimes (especially in the morning when it’s too hard to wake up!) If you can endure it, you can even turn the water off when it’s time to lather, shampoo, and shave (3).

Use your dishwasher the right way. Only wash full loads, and choose shorter wash cycles to increase efficiency. Using your dishwasher when it isn’t completely full wastes water, which wastes your money (3)!

Water your outdoor plants in the morning. If you take care of your plants in the morning, you won’t need as much water to keep them healthy. This is because lower morning temperatures allow for less evaporation loss (4).

Repair leaks. Have a leaky faucet? You should get it fixed! Did you know that at 60 drips per minute, you waste 8.64 gallons of water per day? That’s a lot of clean, wasted water! (3)

We Can Help You Save 

We have plenty of other ways to save you money. Want to find out how?

If you’re ready to take action and start saving energy in your home or if you would like to discuss your heating and cooling needs with an HVAC expert, now is the time to call. Contact the experts at Greater Comfort today to ensure that your HVAC system is running as efficiently as possible: 859-491-4915.


  1. https://energy.gov/energysaver/projects/savings-project-lower-water-heating-temperature
  2. https://expertbeacon.com/act-quickly-and-calmly-when-suffering-boiling-water-burn/#.WZuyVa2ZNsM
  3. https://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/15-ways-save-your-water-heating-bill
  4. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/20-ways-to-conserve-water-at-home.html

Read the Greater Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning blog for energy savings tips and HVAC industry updates.