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  • 7 Hacks for Hot-Water Savings

    Seven simple hot-water tweaks to save you money and energy this winter.

    On a cold winter day, few things are as appealing as a hot shower—but that luxury may be costing you. On average, water heating accounts for 18 percent of your total utility bill, making it the second-largest energy expense behind heating and cooling*. We’re not saying you have to give up the hot-shower habit, but there are a few ways you can save energy and money this season.

    • 1. Insulate your pipes.

      This is a simple DIY task that makes a big impact. Wrapping your pipes in pipe sleeves or fiberglass can raise water temperature by 2 to 4 degrees. This enables you to decrease your water temperature setting, in turn creating 3 to 4 percent energy savings annually**. 

      2. Examine your showerhead.

      If you’re not willing to cut down on your shower time, changing your showerhead could make a big difference. To test your shower’s flow rate, time how long it takes to fill a gallon bucket. If it’s less than 20 seconds, consider switching to a low-flow showerhead with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute to help you use less water.

      3. Turn down the temp.

      A good rule of thumb is to keep your water heater at 120 degrees—any higher than that increases the risk for scalding. Plus, for every 10-degree decrease in hot water temperature, you can save 3 to 5 percent on your water heating bill***.

      4. Don’t let the water run.

      You’ve no doubt heard this tip before, but let’s put it in perspective: By simply turning off the water when you’re brushing your teeth and shaving, you could save a whopping 5,700 gallons a year****.    

      5. Run full loads.

      While it may be tempting to run the dishwasher every night after dinner, hold off until it’s full. Only running full loads saves the average family 320 gallons of water annually****.

      6. Fix leaky faucets.

      It may not seem like a big deal, but a faucet leaking even one drop per second can waste 60 gallons of water per week***. The quick fix of replacing the tap washer could save you upwards of $35 per year*.

      7. Wash in cold water.

      During a hot-water washing machine cycle, 90 percent of the energy used goes toward heating the water*****. Change your settings to warm or cold water, and you could cut your energy use in half—or more. Bonus: Cooler water is gentler on clothes.


      *Department of Energy

      **Department of Energy

      ***Minnesota Department of Commerce (PDF, 6.92 MB)

      ****Environmental Protection Agency

      *****Energy Star