Water Heating Tips

  • Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank and pipes, but be careful not to cover the thermostat.
  • Insulate your gas or oil hot-water storage tank and pipes, but be careful not to cover the water heater's top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment; when in doubt, get professional help.
  • Install non-aerating low-flow faucets and showerheads.
  • Buy a new water heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance.
  • Although most water heaters last 10 to 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.
  • 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.
  • If you heat with electricity and live in a warm and sunny climate, consider installing a solar water heater. The solar units are environmentally friendly and can now be installed on your roof to blend with the architecture of your house.
  • Take more showers than baths. Bathing uses the most hot water in the average household. You use 15 to 25 gallons of hot water for a bath, but less than 10 gallons during a 5-minute shower.
  • Consider the installation of a drain water waste heat recovery.
  • Use cold water to operate your garbage disposal. Cold water use saves energy and is the recommendation of most disposal manufacturers.
  • Be sure to place the faucet lever on the kitchen sink in the cold position when using small amounts of water; placing the lever in the hot position uses energy to heat the water even though it never reaches the faucet.
  • When washing dishes by hand, use a sink stopper or dishpan so water - hot or cold - doesn't rush down the drain. Remember, too, that hot water running needlessly not only wastes water, but energy as well.
  • Shorten showers. Simply reducing that lingering time by a few minutes can save hundreds of gallons of hot water per month for a family of four. Showers account for 2/3 of your water heating costs. Cutting your showers in half will reduce your water heating costs by 33 percent.
  • Insulate water heaters.
  • Wrap your water heater with a water heater blanket, especially if it's in an unheated area of your home. The blanket could save you up to 10 percent on water heating costs. (Some newer models are so well insulated that you don't need to wrap them. Check first to see if adding an insulating blanket to your water heater will affect the warranty.)
  • Conserve hot water by installing water-saving showerheads.
  • Repair leaky faucets. They waste water and energy.Set your water heater to the "normal" setting or 120°, unless the owner's manual for your dishwasher requires a higher setting. Savings are 7-11% of water heating costs.