Tips to save money on water heating costs

Hot water may be used in your building for showering or hand-washing, or it may be used in specialized machines, such as restaurant dishwashers or commercial laundry equipment. These energy-efficient strategies can help you reduce your water-heating costs.

Find more water heating tips in SRP's Energy Savings Guide for Business Document is a PDF.

Lower the water heater temperature

Even if you rent the space you use, you may be able to control the water heater's temperature setting.

Hot water temperatures
Hand washing 105° F
Shower 105° F
Laundry* 160° F
Dishwasher rinse** 180° F

*Check code requirements. Temperatures as low as 120° may be used with some soaps and detergents.

**Most dishwashers need water to enter at 140° to boost it to 180°.

Many offices need hot or warm water only in the restrooms. Yet lots of water is kept ready at a high temperature — say 140° — all day long. In such a case, the water heater could be set at a more moderate temperature, such as 105°.

Adjusting the thermostat is something you can probably do yourself. The thermostat is usually on the side of the water heater's storage tank, but it may be hidden from view. You may need to remove a few screws and a cover plate to get to it.

IMPORTANT: If it is an electric water heater, shut off the electric current at the breaker switch to the heater before you do this.

If you have any doubts about making the adjustment, contact your utility, an electrician or a local heating/hot-water contractor or dealer. Try different thermostat settings to find the lowest one that will meet your needs and code requirements.

Reduce hot water use

Here are some ways to use less hot water:

  • Turn off the hot-water tap when it's not needed.
  • Run only full loads in dishwashers.
  • In machines, use chemicals or cleaning materials that will work with cooler water.

Clean out sediment

Efficiency is lost when sediment accumulates in the bottom of tank-type water heaters. The sediment acts as an internal insulator and inhibits the transfer of heat from the heating elements to the water.

To prevent deposits from building up, periodically open the drain valve near the bottom of the tank and draw off water until it runs clear (about 2 to 5 gallons of water should be adequate).

Flush the tank every six months unless there are high concentrations of lime and other minerals in your area. In that case, it may be necessary to flush monthly. Experiment to see what the proper interval is or ask your water company.

Energy efficiency rebates for business

Slash power use and save your business money with SRP's energy efficiency rebates for businesses. Find the rebate for you.


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