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Does Cold Weather Affect Your Water Heater?

Does cold weather affect your water heater?

During winter in Massachusetts, your furnace or boiler works hard 24/7 to keep your family safe and warm. But it’s not the only home comfort equipment that’s putting in overtime during the winter months.

Your water heater works considerably harder in the winter here in New England than it does at any other time of the year. Why? Mostly for three reasons:

  • It’s cold in your basement – If you own a conventional water heater (one with a storage tank), it probably sits in a cold basement holding hot water until it is needed for use. The problem is that water is constantly losing heat (we call this standing heat loss). To make sure the water is hot when you turn on your tap or appliance, the water heater needs to reheat the water from time to time – which burns more fuel and causes your equipment to work harder to do the same job.
  • The inlet water is colder – The water entering your home from your well or municipal supply Is colder during the winter (that is, it has a lower inlet temperature) – which means it takes more energy to heat the water than it does at other times of the year.
  • You use more hot water – Most people take longer, hotter showers to warm up during winter; they also wear more clothes, which means more warm-water laundry. Overall, hot water use tends to peak in winter.

One way to eliminate the first problem is to switch to a tankless water heater, which instantly heats the water you need rather than storing it in a tank for later use. If you can’t swing a water heater upgrade, be sure to get regular professional water heater maintenance to keep your equipment running as efficiently as possible.

As for using less hot water, try these tips:

  • Insulate pipes – By insulating exposed water pipes, you can help the water stay warmer as it travels to your taps – which means it takes less time to heat up.
  • Wash clothes on the cold setting – Each load of laundry you clean on the warm or hot setting adds 30+ gallons of water heating to your bill. That can add up quickly. Today’s detergents are designed to work at all temperatures.
  • Upgrade your showerheads and aerators – Low-flow showerheads and aerators (the screw-on tip to your faucets) can cut your hot water usage in half without any noticeable difference in water pressure or comfort.
  • Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when they’re full – Wait for a full load to accumulate before running either of these appliances.

Keep the hot water coming and your energy bills as low as possible with high-efficiency water heater maintenance and expert water heater installations from the pros at Needham Oil Complete Heating & Cooling. Contact us today to learn more!