Be water wise

Using water wisely can help your energy savings flow

Simple tips like not letting the water run when washing your hands or doing dishes can add up to big savings on your energy bill. (GETTY IMAGES/ALEXRATHS)

From showering in the morning to brushing teeth before bed, people use water throughout the day for a variety of reasons — often without considering the costs that are circling down the drain with it.

The Department of Energy estimates that heating water accounts for about 18 percent of a monthly utility bill, the second largest household energy expense. Simply considering a few options to cut down on your water use also will reduce your energy consumption — saving you money each month in the process. A few options can go a long way:

  • Don’t let the water run: This is the easiest way to reduce costs. People in the shower or washing their hands or dishes at the sink will frequently let the water run. Shutting water off while lathering with soap or brushing your teeth can significantly reduce the overall amount of water you use each month.
  • Lower heater temperature: Many water heaters come preinstalled at a temperature of 140 F, the Department of Energy reports. The agency advises that reducing your water heater’s temperature to 120 F could help reduce your energy cost while also slowing mineral buildup in your water pipes. As an additional benefit, 120 F is also a recommended safety measure to help prevent young children from burns due to scalding hot water.
  • Insulate your water heater: If you have an older water heater, you should check to see if your water heater has at least two inches of fiberglass insulation. If it has less than two inches, then the tank may be able to benefit from additional insulation from a pre-cut water heater jacket or blanket. The U.S. Department of Energy has more information available on its website,
  • Install efficient upgrades: If you have appliances, faucets or shower heads that may be due for an upgrade (or you are doing a renovation), seeking efficient upgrades could help you reduce water use or lower the amount of energy needed to heat your water, saving you money over the lifecycle of the upgrade. Low-flow shower heads and faucets reduce the amount of water used compared to their conventional counterparts, while appliances such as dishwashers, water heaters and washing machines with an ENERGY STAR® label will save you in energy costs.

Your local electric cooperative can provide additional support on these and additional steps you can take to help reduce your energy use, which will save you money in the long run. Contact your local electric cooperative or visit for more information today!