Green Tips: Water Heater Tips for All Year Long

water heater tipsThis green tip is not just a way to be environmentally friendly with the way you winterize your home, it’s a way to save energy and money all year long. Insulate your water heater and consider turning it town a few notches.

Many people never consider their water heater when looking for ways to cut costs, but water heating can account for 14%–25% of the energy consumed in your home. Did you know that, by default, the thermostat on most water heaters is set to 140ºF  by the manufacturer? This is much hotter than the average homeowner requires. According to the Department of Energy 120 degrees is usually hot enough and lowering the thermostat on your water heater by 10ºF can save you 3%–5% in energy costs. 

The next thing to consider is insulation — if your heater feels warm to the touch of your hand, then it can probably use some more insulation. Fortunately this stuff is inexpensive — just about $10 — and is available in pre-cut sleeves and jackets in most home improvement stores.

But if your water heater already has an insulation rating of R-24, then there is no need to bother with adding extra insulation around it. This is about as good as it is going to get.

Using both of these methods, insulation and a lower thermostat, you could even save as much as 15% on the total costs of water heating in your home.

For more tips for energy-efficient water heating check out the U.S. Department of Energy water heating page.

About Barbara Holbrook

Barbara lives in Southern California where she writes about technology, design and smart ways to go green.


  1. I had no idea that your water heater can account for 14-25% of the energy consumed in your home. My water heater is really old and not as efficient, so I bet it uses a lot more energy. I probably should have someone come and look at the water heater to see if it needs any repairs or even if it needs to replaced with a newer, efficient model.

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