Water Heating

Water heating is the second largest energy expense in the home, typically accounting for 16 to 18% of utility bills.

Hot Water Usage

Install Low-Flow Fixtures

Low-flow fixtures and showerheads can achieve water savings of 25% to 60%1.

Sources: 1. energy.gov


If you’re not sure about your shower head’s efficiency, you can test it our. Place a gallon size bucket underneath the showerhead, turn on the water at the normal water pressure you use, and time how many seconds it takes to fill the bucket. If it takes less than 20 seconds, you could benefit from a low-flow showerhead. Select a showerhead with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) for maximum water efficiency.

Closeup of a running showerhead


The screw-on tip of the faucet, also known as the aerator, ultimately determines the maximum flow rate of a faucet. The most efficient aerators have flow rates of no more than 1 gpm. Aerators are easy and inexpensive sizes so if purchasing a new one, have the old one handy to ensure a proper fit.

Dripping faucet

Faucet Leaks

A leak of one drip per second can cost $1 a month1. You can reduce hot water use by repairing leaks in faucets, showerheads and pipes.

Sources: 1. energy.gov

Practice energy-efficient habits

Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.

Man loading dishes into a dishwasher

Take short showers instead of baths.

Person holding a running showerhead

Turn off the water when scrubbing dishes and while shaving or brushing your teeth.

Person washing dishes

Keep the faucet lever on the sink in the cold position when using small amounts of water; placing the lever in the hot position draws hot water even though it may never reach the faucet.

Drain a quart of water from your heater every 3 months to remove sediments that impede heating efficiency. Procedures vary among water heaters, so follow the advice of the manufacturer.

Person loosening a bolt on a water heater pipe

Keep pools covered when not in use to prevent evaporation and heat loss.

Pool covered with tarp

The biggest cost of washing dishes and clothes comes from the energy required to heat the water. If your appliances are old you can significantly reduce your energy costs by investing in energy-efficient models, especially those with the ENERGY STAR® label.

Sources: 1. ENERGY STAR Dishwashers; 2. ENERGY STAR Clothes Washers; 3. ENERGY STAR; 4. energy.gov


Dishwashers that have earned the ENERGY STAR® label are, on average, 5% more energy efficient and 15% more water efficient than standard models1.

Dishes being loaded into an electronic dishwasher

Clothes Washers

ENERGY STAR® certified clothes washers use about 35% less water and about 20% less energy than a regular washer2. They also have a greater tub capacity which means you can wash fewer loads to clean the same amount of laundry.

Water Heaters

ENERGY STAR® qualified water heaters consume 14% to 55% less energy than the standard-efficiency models available today, and can save a household $40 to $285 a year on its energy bills3.

Water heater

Water Heater Temperature

Lower the thermostat to 120º Fahrenheit

Although manufacturers set water heater thermostats at 140℉ it is typically not necessary. By turning down the thermostat setting to 120℉ you can not only prevent scalding but also save energy and money.

Some thermostats may not show a specific temperature setting. Instead you may see indicators such as “Hot” or “Warm.” In this case you may need to check the user manual to determine the optimal setting for your water heater.

Person adjusting the temperature knob on a water heater


Insulate your water heater tank

Insulation on a pipe connected to a water heater tankInsulating your old hot water tank is an easy and inexpensive way to improve energy efficiency and reduce monthly water heating costs. Pre-cut insulation jackets or blankets are usually available for around $20. If your water heater is new, it is probably already insulated. If your water heater is old and warm to the touch, adding insulation can help reduce standby heat losses by 25% to 45% and save you about 4% to 9% in water heating costs, paying for itself in about a year1. Insulation is particularly important for water heaters that are placed in an unconditioned space such as a basement.

When adding insulation, be careful not to cover the thermostat or burner compartments. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, to ensure insulation is added properly and seek professional help when in doubt. You can find step-by-step instructions on how to insulate your hot water tank by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.

Sources: 1. energy.gov

Insulate your water pipes

Person adding insulation to a water pipeInsulating your hot water pipes can reduce heat loss and raise the water temperature 2℉ to 4℉ hotter, allowing for a lower temperature setting1. Plus, you don’t have to wait as long for hot water when you turn on the faucet or showerhead. You can find step-by-step instructions on how to insulate your hot water pipes by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.