Heating water is by far one of the biggest energy expenses in your home, right up there with air heating and cooling. A water heater can use up to 20 percent of your home’s energy budget.
However, you can save up to $65 per year on your energy bill by using a green water heater, according to PG&E California. How do you know if it’s green? You are using a green water heater when it is the right size for your household, it is insulated, and it is energy efficient.
If your gas water heater is over 11 years old, you probably can save energy and money by replacing it with a more efficient model. Plus, if your new water heater meets certain efficiency standards, such as an Energy Factor (EF) rating of .82 or higher or a thermal efficiency of at least 90%, you could be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $300 in the 2011 tax year.
Good Green Habits
Here are a few good habits for a green water heater.
- Opt for the correct size. Water heaters with tanks keep water hot, all day and night. So, if you choose a smaller size, you’ll save energy and money. A 30 to 40 gallon water heater is probably the right size for one or two people. You can visit the U.S. Department of Energy for more information about estimating the right size water heater for your home.
- Pick a high energy factor level. The EF of the model rates a water heater’s energy performance. Choose a model with an EF rating of at least .65 or higher.
- Program for savings. Set your water heater’s temperature at an energy and money saving level. Most individuals and families find that 120°F is a good temperature for saving money and energy and also protects them from water that’s too hot.
- Insulate your water heater. If your water heater is warm to the touch, you need to wrap it in insulation. Adding insulation to your water heater can reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45% and save around 4%–9% on overall water heating costs. Visit your local hardware store to find pre-cut jackets or blankets that start at around $10.