• Skill Level: Intermediate - Expert Help
    Time Required: 2 - 4 Hours

    Typically, heating water for showers, baths, and laundry is the third largest energy expense in a home. So focusing your attention on this area and making a few energy-efficient improvements could result in some big savings. What's more, you'll be helping the environment in more ways than one.

    The first thing you should do is wrap your water tank. Second, insulate all the connecting pipes. Third, check your faucets and showerheads. If you've got old, high-flow equipment, you're wasting water as well as heat. The good news? All the work that you do in this area can save you more than just on your energy bill. In fact, you could save close to 35% on your water and sewer bill, too.

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Don't Forget the Accessories

Of course, you should always be prepared. So as you get ready to make water-related changes for energy efficiency, you should check to see if you need any plumbing adapters or Teflon® tape. The adapters, in particular, will be necessary if you want to convert older ball-type showerarms to accept any of the new water-saving showerheads.

Insulate Your Pipes

Another fast and easy way to save energy is to lower your water heater temperature to 120°. When you do, you might think about insulating your hot water pipes at the same time. The reason is that insulated water pipes can deliver water that's up to 4° hotter than uninsulated pipes. But once again, be careful and always follow the manufacturer's instructions. On gas water heaters, in particular, you need to make sure that you keep the insulation at least 6 inches from the flue because of potential fire hazards.

Insulate Your Water Heater

Unless your water heater was recently installed or already has insulation with an R-value of at least 24, you could save 4% to 9% on your water heating costs by simply adding a water heater blanket or jacket. Of course, if you don't know what insulation level you have, just touch the outside of your tank. If it feels warm, it means you're losing valuable energy. But before you start, read the manufacturer's instructions carefully. In fact, you might want to hire a professional because of the potential of fire hazard.

Switch to Faucet Aerators

It's a little known fact, but letting your faucet run for 5 minutes uses as much energy as leaving a 60-watt light bulb on for 14 hours. So switch to new faucet aerators to conserve and save. If you're unsure what flow rate you need, it's generally considered that a kitchen faucet only needs a flow rate of 1 to 1.5 gallons per minute and a bathroom faucet only needs a flow rate of .5 to 1.0 gallons per minute

Switch to Low-Flow Showerheads

Water conservation has a direct link to energy conservation. In fact, our national water supply and treatment facilities consume enough electricity annually to power more than 5 million homes for an entire year. Where can you save? Switch from older showerheads which can have flow rates of 5.5 gallons per minute, to newer models that flow at less than half that rate - and get you just as clean. You should also consider installing the EvolveTM Ladybug Adapter which saves both water and electricity!