Saving money on energy costs is important to most households. You also likely want to avoid the unnecessary cost of replacing a hot water heater prematurely. Fortunately, the following tips can help you avoid both the cost of replacement and high energy costs.
Tip #1: Invest in a blanket
Water heater blankets are an inexpensive way to lower energy expenses while also prolonging the life of the heater. These insulated blankets are made to fit snugly and safely around a water heater. They prevent heat loss within tank. This means your heater needs to expend less energy to maintain the temperature in the tank between uses. In the summer months, this may also save you on home cooling costs since less heat from the water heater escapes to raise the temperature of the air in your home. Even more, by requiring less work to maintain the heat, the elements inside the water heater aren't put under as much stress so they will last longer before they require replacement. This also saves you cash.
Tip #2: Flush annually
Many people are unaware that water heaters require annual maintenance. Over time, particularly in hard water regions, lime, calcium, and other mineral deposits build up on the interior of the tank. This residue can then harden, which means it may cover heating elements and other components that must be exposed for the heater to work properly. Even if this doesn't occur, the residue will build up in the tank so that your heater will have a lowered capacity — you'll be paying the same to heat less and less water. Flushing forces this buildup out of the tank before it causes problems. It should be done annually if you have hard water, or every few years in soft water areas.
Tip #3: Consider an upgrade
Older tanks aren't just more prone to failure, they are also more expensive to run. This is simply because older models tend to be less energy efficient than newer heaters. If you are willing to pay a bit more upfront, consider opting for an on-demand heater. These don't require a holding tank to keep hot water on standby since they can heat water quickly. This means less space is taken up in your home and you only need to pay for the heating of the water as you use it. Even if you don't want to upgrade to an on-demand version now, an upgrade to a modern traditional hot water tank can still save you on energy costs and water heater repair bills.
By being proactive, you can avoid unnecessary replacement. Annual maintenance will often alert you to less expensive repair needs long before an issue fully incapacitates your hot water heater.