Lowering Bills by Lowering the Water Heater TemperatureIf you’re looking for effective ways to reduce your utility bills, you may not realize how much energy you’ll save by lowering your water heater temperature. Water heating accounts for roughly 25 percent of your total household energy usage, and a 20-degree adjustment in the temperature setting can result in as much as a 10-percent decrease in its consumption.

Water Heater Energy Usage Basics

Tank-style water heaters are the type commonly found in today’s homes, and if you have one, it’s important to how and why it consumes so much energy. A gas burner or electric elements located inside the tank heat the 40–60 gallons of water it contains until it reaches the thermostat’s temperature setting. When you use hot water anywhere in your home, cold water enters the tank to replace it. This mixes and cools the remaining hot water inside, so the whole tank full gets heated again to the thermostat setting.

Another energy drain is the constant heat loss that occurs through the tank material itself. Because it has to maintain the thermostat’s temperature all the time, the water heater cycles on repeatedly even during periods where you aren’t using any hot water. When you factor in that water heater manufacturers set the thermostat at a default 140 degrees, it’s not difficult to see how lowering the temperature can save you money.

Lowering Your Water Heater Temperature

If you own an electric unit, flip the appropriate breaker in your main electrical panel first. Then, head to the heater and remove the rectangular or square panel that’s situated on the side of the tank. If you spy two identical panels, remove both to adjust the heater’s two thermostats. Turn the thermostat dial down to 120 degrees. Now you can replace the panels and turn the breaker back on. Adjusting the thermostat on a gas model is much easier: just locate the thermostat dial on the gas valve and turn it to 120 degrees.

For more advice about lowering your water heater temperature and your utility bills, contact the Indianapolis home comfort pros at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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