Buy a new water heater with a thick, insulating shell; while it may cost more initially than one without insulation, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance.
Although most water heaters last 10-15 years, it's best to start shopping for a new one if yours is more than 7 years old. Doing some research before your heater fails will enable you to select one that most appropriately meets your needs.
Lower the thermostat on your new water heater; water heaters sometimes come from the factory with high temperature settings, but a setting of 115°F provides comfortable hot water for most uses.
Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. The type of water tank you have determines the steps to take, so follow the manufacturer's advice.
If you heat with electricity and live in a warm and sunny climate, consider installing a solar water heater. The solar units are environmentally friendly and can now be installed on your roof to blend with the architecture of your house.
Take more showers than baths. Bathing uses the most hot water in the average household. You use 15-25 gallons of hot water for a bath, but less than 10 gallons during a 5-minute shower.
Tankless coil water heaters work well during colder months because the heating system is used regularly.
Although the purchase prices of solar water heaters are usually higher than those of conventional types,operating costs are much lower.
Keep warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators clean and clear of furniture and drapery for maximum efficiency.
If your home heating and cooling system is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it. Energy Star labeled central HVAC systems can reduce your air conditioning costs by up to 20% annually.