The University of Alabama

UA Matters: Lower the Cost of Water Heating

Greg McKelvey

Greg McKelvey

Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home, and it typically accounts for about 20 percent of your utility bill. The University of Alabama’s Greg McKelvey offers several ways to help reduce your water costs.

  • Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
  • Draining a gallon of water from your water heater tank every six months will remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and will increase the efficiency of your water heater.
  • If you have an electric water heater, install a timer that automatically turns the hot water off at night and back on in the morning. A simple timer can pay for itself in less than a year.
  • Insulate your water heater tank with an insulating blanket specifically designed for water heaters. The blankets generally have an R-value of 4.5 and fit easily around the tank. Check the water heater label first; do not insulate the tank if the manufacturer advises against it.

McKelvey is the director of HVAC and Energy Management for UA-Facilities.

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UA Matters is a weekly posting that offers information and tips on consumer issues facing Alabamians. The information is available to reprint in your publication free of charge. Also, access to subject matter experts is available upon request. For more information, contact Kim Eaton at 205/348-8325 or kkeaton@ur.ua.edu>.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.