The Tank › Should I replace old heater only for energy efficiency? › Reply To: Should I replace old heater only for energy efficiency?
Hello: I think that after you check out the cost of a new heater, you might want to make your present unit perform better 😎 Things to do to reduce overall water heating cost are:
1) make the equipment last
2) prevent heat loss
3) reduce hot water usage
Making it last involves maintaining the heater. You’ll see a LOT on this site about that.
Preventing heat loss means insulation (not the skinny stuff!) on all the hot lines and also the cold line at least five feet back from the heater. A thick blanket on the heater can help. Turning the temp down to 130 degrees balances heat loss with bacteria concerns. Checking the pilot flame and adjusting down (if possible) reduces that ongoing expense.
Reducing hot water usage can be as simple as low flow fixtures (suggest you look into an ultra low flow showerhead for the bather amongst you :D), or as un-simple as repiping the hot plumbing to a “structured plumbing” or manifold system depending on the house size and layout. A shower heat exchanger in that overused shower might be a good thought also as it can capture 60% of the heat going down the drain. I suppose you could try a timer in the shower, but behavioral modifications seem to be harder than repiping.
A new, water efficient washing machine that really spins out the water will make the dryer’s job much easier and use less hot to start with, so that is something to look into.