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Water Heating: Insulate your water heater to save energy and money.

Water heating is the third largest energy expense in your home. Water heating typically accounts for about 13% of your utility bill.

The most common ways to cut your water heating bills:

  • use less hot water
  • turn down the thermostat on your water heater
  • insulate your water heater
  • buy a new, more efficient water heater

Water Heating Tips

  • Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
  • Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater. Water heaters sometimes come from the factory with high temperature settings, but a setting of 120°F provides comfortable hot water for most uses.
  • Take more showers than baths. Bathing uses the most hot water in the average household.
  • Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank, but be careful not to cover the thermostat.
  • Insulate your natural gas or oil hot-water storage tank, but be careful not to cover the water heater's top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment.
  • Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
  • If you are in the market for a new dishwasher or clothes washer, consider buying an efficient, water-saving ENERGY STAR model to reduce hot water use. See Appliances for more information.
  • Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss. Some new water heaters have built-in heat traps.
  • Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. The type of water tank you have determines the steps to take, so follow the manufacturer's advice.
  • Buy a new energy-efficient water heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance.
  • Consider installing a drain water waste heat recovery system. A recent Department of Energy study showed energy savings of 25% to about 30% for water heating using such a system.
  • Consider natural-gas on-demand or tankless water heaters. Researchers have found savings can be up to 30% compared with a standard natural-gas storage tank water heater.

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