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Everything You Need to Know about Water Heaters

Water heating is nearly the largest electrical expense in your home; second only to heating and air conditioning. Roughly 30% of your electric bill goes to heating water.

Tips to reduce your water heating bill:

Use LESS hot water.​

  • Use the dishwasher. Hand-washing is more expensive because it uses a LOT more hot water.
  • Install low-flow faucets and shower heads.
  • Fix leaks.

When you need to upgrade, choose ENERGY STAR® appliances, such as dishwashers and clothes washers. These appliances use less water and energy.

Turn down the thermostat on the water heater. Water heaters should be set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, for efficiency.

Insulate. Chances are, your water heater is installed in an unheated space, like a garage or basement. That makes insulation even more important.

Without insulation, your hot water pipes act like a radiator, transferring heat into the air so efficiently that any water left in the pipe is barely warm after 15 minutes.

Encase pipes in rubber or foam tubes. Tubes come with an adhesive-coated slit down the middle so you can put them over the pipes and press closed. You can buy 6-foot sections of foam for $2 or rubber for $5.

Calculate your water heater demand

To make sure you have enough hot water, calculate your household’s peak-hour hot water demand and use. For example, in my house, we need four early morning showers (17 gallons each shower), four rounds of teeth brushing (five gallons each if they leave the water running) and one load of dishes – about 12 gallons. With that scenario, we may need 100 gallons of hot water in the morning, or someone would be rinsing in cold water.