3 Ways to Improve Your Water Heater’s Efficiency

Most households use hot water daily, whether it’s for personal hygiene or completing chores like washing dishes or clothes. Beyond those basic necessities, it’s also wonderful to indulge in a long, hot shower or a relaxing soak in the tub every so often. However, every one of these activities requires your water heater to use energy, and the more hot water you use, the higher you can expect your gas or electric bill to be at the end of the month.

The good news is that there are a few ways to increase your water heater’s energy efficiency so that you can enjoy hot water with less of an impact on your wallet and the environment. That’s a win-win!


Insulate your hot water pipes.

Every day, millions of households waste water and energy while waiting for hot water to arrive at a faucet. Part of the problem has to do with the journey that hot water must make through cold plumbing pipes to get to where you need it.

According to the Department of Energy, insulating your pipes has multiple purposes:

  • It will reduce the heat that hot water loses as it travels through your home’s pipes to get to the point of use (such as your shower).
  • It can bring water to you that’s two to four degrees Fahrenheit hotter than what an uninsulated pipe can deliver. (This allows you to lower the temperature setting on your water heater, which we’ll discuss below.)
  • You’ll have a shorter wait time for hot water.

If you are particularly handy and enjoy a DIY, home-improvement project, then insulating your pipes is something that you can most likely take on yourself. However, water heater and plumbing professionals can also provide assistance.

Insulate your water heater tank.

Unlike tankless water heaters, which produce hot water on demand, storage tank water heaters do what their name implies: they store water in their tank and heat that water for use later. By insulating the tank itself, you’ll reduce the heat loss that occurs so that the heating element inside doesn’t need to use as much energy. Insulating your water heater is relatively inexpensive and usually pays for itself in about one year.

While most newer units contain improved insulation, many older water heaters could benefit from a little extra, particularly if the R-value is below 24. Based on studies from the Department of Energy, if your water heater is only warm to the touch, you can cut standby heat losses by 25% to 45% and save around 7% to 16% in water heating costs by insulating it.

Lower your water heater’s temperature setting.

Your water heater might be pre-set to a much higher temperature setting than necessary for your household. Some manufacturers will set water heater thermostats to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but many households can afford to dial this down a bit. By lowering your unit’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you can reduce your energy usage by 4% to 22% annually. In fact, the U.S. Product Safety Commission urges consumers to lower the thermostat to this temperature to avoid scalding.

At Payless Water Heaters, we’re here to assist you with any questions, concerns, or issues you might have with your home’s water heater. Don’t hesitate to give us a call 24/7 at (866) 615-4008 or contact us online.