Efficiently maximizing hot water flow can be an issue for any residential household. While it may seem like you're stuck with what you have, that couldn't be further from the truth. There are some simple steps that you've probably already come across, and also a few industry secrets on improving hot water efficiency that you may not have.
1. Purchase a tankless water heater
The first step will alleviate costs in the long term, all the while producing high performance.
"Making the switch to a tankless water heater can save you at least $100 a year."
The average household spends on average $400 to $600 a year on water heating, according to the Department of Energy. This makes it the second largest expense in your home. How do you cut down on this cost? By swapping out your obtuse, ancient water heater for a new tankless water heater.
The average storage water heater loses heat over time, resulting in a higher consumption of energy resources as well, explained the source. A tankless water heater fixes this problem with its parabolic heating design. When hot water is needed, cold water comes in and is correctly and quickly heated to the corresponding temperature. The water heater has a flow activation switch, so you can sleep easy knowing that energy is only being used when you need it. The DOE estimates that making the switch to tankless can save you at least $100 a year right off the bat.
2. Stop using as much water
This may be the simplest tip to understand, but the hardest to implement. If you feel as though you're paying more than you should on bills, or for more than you use, try reducing usage. It's the basic building block of consumption – using less will, in the end, cost less.
Figure out where you're using it the most. Perhaps run the dishwasher every other day instead of every day. Fill up the sink when you shave instead of leaving the water to run. Take shorter showers. The possibilities here are limitless, and ultimately up to you to figure out how to achieve optimal daily use.
3. Clean out your water heater
If you're having hot water heater problems, it could be from the water heater itself. Most manufacturers recommend flushing your water heater twice a year to prevent calcification, according to the Fort Worth Water Department. If calcification occurs, it can block the flow of hot water as well as give your system difficulty heating that water up – both of these are a nuisance, can put a strain on the system and can cost you extra money in the long run.
With a tankless water heater, though, you can rest easy knowing that you don't have to worry about calcification build up. Some are even equipped with a built-in scrubber that gets rid of the mess for you. Going tankless means not having to take the time out of your day to worry about calcification or prevent it, thereby making your life easier and worth the switch. But for those who have yet to wise up and make the change, emptying the tank out can solve the long term problem for a short period of time.
To flush out your system, according to the Fort Worth Water Department, you're going to want to make sure the energy source, whether it's electric, propane or natural gas, is disconnected or off. After doing so, close the valve that runs cold water into your system and connect a hose to the drain valve. Open the drain valve and let it run. Once the tank is empty, close the valve and turn everything back on. It's a simple way to maintain steady hot water efficiency in your system – until you have to do it the next time.
4. Low-flow faucet attachments
If you find that you're using too much water at the sink, consider installing a low-flow faucet attachment. Normal faucets spill out at 2.5 gallons per minute, according to the Houston Department of Public Works. Low-flow faucets severely reduce the impact on your system by limiting the rate in which it can discharge water .05 to 1.0 gpm.
5. Decrease the strain of your system
Whether your are using a tankless water heater or not, only having one of them for a large house can really damage your system. If water needs to travel far from your heating source, it inevitably loses some of its heat along the way. Tankless water heaters give you the ability to install multiple of them in different locations because of their size and versatility. What this does is provide yet another source of heating, thereby evening out the use and inevitable strain that your water heater will face.