Water heating is the third-largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 12 to 14 percent of your utility bill. Here are some ways to cut your water heating bills.

  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater; water heaters sometimes come from the factory with high-temperature settings but a setting of 120 degrees (Fahrenheit) provides 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 and suggestions.
  • Try washing clothes with warm water and rinsing with cold.
  • Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
  • Try to use less hot water. You probably don’t realize it but taking a shower uses 20 gallons of hot water and washing the dishes on the automatic setting uses 12 gallons of hot water (the average use for both activities).
  • Consider buying a new energy-efficient water heater. It’s best to start shopping for a new one if your is more than 7 years old.