Lower Your Thermostat
Hot water heaters are the second largest energy user in the home. One cost-free way to save energy is by lowering the thermostat on your water heater. Most water heaters have settings ranging from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Most homes need no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit unless you have a dishwasher which needs 140 degrees Fahrenheit water for its efficiency.
An energy-saving short cycle can save up to 25% of water heating energy costs. An "air dry" selector can save up to 30% of the electricity used by the dishwasher. Your clothes washer can use cooler water temperature, too, especially with today's detergents and fabrics.
Regular maintenance of your water heater helps save energy too. Sediment buildup on the bottom of the heater interferes with its efficiency. Drain a bucket of water from the bottom of the tank at least every three months by opening the plug and allow the water to run until clear - one or two buckets will do. Insulating your water heater stops heat loss through the pipes and heater tank. Kits are available at hardware stores. Be sure to call the gas company for safety information when wrapping a gas water heater.
Low Flow Shower Head
Showers use less water than baths, and hot water saved means energy saved. A low flow shower head saves even more heated water.