Water heating is the third largest domestic energy expense. It accounts
for about 13% of the average American home utility bill.
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 water heater.
- 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
- Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank, but be careful not
to cover the thermostat. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
- 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.
Follow the manufacturer's recommendations; when in doubt, get professional
- 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.
- Although most water heaters last 10-15 years, it's best to start shopping
for a new 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.
- $ Long-term savings tip: 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. Look for
the EnergyGuide label.
- $ Long-term savings tip: Consider installing a drain water
waste heat recovery system. A recent DOE study showed energy savings
of 25% to about 30% for water heating using such a system.
- $ Long-term savings tip: 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.
- $ Long-term savings tip: Heat pump water heaters are very economical
in some areas.
For more information see:
Provides information about choosing a water heating system that will not
only provide enough hot water but also that will do so energy efficiently,
saving you money.
Features strategies to help you decrease water heating costs in your home.