Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 18% of your utility bill after heating and cooling.
There are four ways to cut your water heating bills: use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, insulate your water heater or buy a new, more efficient model.
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.
Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120ºF to get comfortable hot water for most uses.
Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank but be careful not to cover the thermostat. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
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 STARº® model to reduce hot water use.
Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss. Most 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.
Although most water heaters last 10-15 years, it's best to start shopping now for a new one one if yours is more than 7 years old. Doing some research before your heater fails will enable you to select one that most appropriately meets your needs.