Did you know that water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home and can account for about 18 percent of your utility bill? Thankfully, there are several things that you can do to save on water heating costs, including performing some easy and inexpensive fixes.
If you have an electric or natural gas water heater, adding heat traps to your water heater tank is one such fix. The heat traps, which are valves or loops of pipe, allow water to flow into the tank while preventing unwanted hot-water flow out of the tank. The separately designed hot- and cold-water valves are designed with balls inside that either float or sink into a seat, which stops convection and prevents heat losses through the inlet and outlet pipes.
A set of hot- and cold-water heat traps only costs about $30 and can save you between $15 and $30 a month on water heating costs, depending on how much hot water you use. Heat traps are most cost effective if they’re installed at the same time as your water heater, but your tank can be retrofitted with a set by a professional installer if you’re not a do-it-yourselfer who knows how to properly solder a pipe joint. If you’re in the market for a new water heater, many of the new storage tanks have factory-installed heat traps or offer them as an option. With the potential to save hundreds of dollars a year in water heating costs, we recommend you take the heat trap option if it’s offered.
U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Install Heat Traps on a Water Heater Tank for Energy Savings.”