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Hot Water Energy Conservation
About 20% of the energy used in residences goes for heating water.
Water heating is the third largest energy expense in U.S. households.
If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it probably has an efficiency no higher than 50%.
Reducing your water use in general saves you money and saves the energy used to purify the fresh water you use and the wastewater you dispose of.
Water heaters consume much of their energy just to keep a supply of hot water ready and waiting in the tank. The heat gradually leaks out of the tank until the heater turns on again to heat the water back up.
What can I do to save energy in my home?
Replace your old water heater with a new, higher-efficiency model.
Solar water heating is one option for reducing the energy you use for water heating
Reduce your hot water use by buying appliances with low water usage, such as front-loading (horizontal-axis) washing machines, and by installing water-conserving plumbing fixtures.
Insulate your hot water heater to minimize heat loss. Ready-made kits for insulating water heaters and hot water pipes are available at hardware stores and building supply stores.
Lower the thermostats on your water heater to 120F.
For electric water heaters, install a timer that can automatically turn the hot water off at night and on in the morning. A simple timer can pay for itself in less than a year.
Install a heat trap above the water heater. A heat trap is a simple piping arrangement that prevents hot water from rising up in the pipes, thereby minimizing standby losses.
Drain a quart of water from your hot water tank every 3 months. This will remove sediment that prevents heat transfer and lowers the unit's efficiency.
Additional Sources of Information
Department of Energy: Consumer Energy Information: EREC Fact Sheet
Selecting a New Water Heater
Federal Energy Management Program: Federal Technology Alert
Residential Heat Pump Water Heaters
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network
Consumer Information on Hot Water Heating
Reducing Water Consumption Saves Energy!
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