We use hot water to clean ourselves, our dishes, and sometimes our clothes—many of us are so used to it, we forget how lucky we are to have it in our homes. But clean, usable water is one of the things that climate change threatens: anything we can do to reduce that threat is important.
Household action: Setting your water heater at 120ºF reduces the greenhouse gas impact of heating the water, cuts your energy bill and makes your heater and pipes last longer, while still letting everyone in your house take hot showers. Check energy.gov to make sure this setting works with your water system.
Replacing your hot-water heater obviously has the most impact in reducing emissions. Research your options before you need a replacement, to ensure the best combination of efficiency and price: This is particularly important if you’re renovating a property or buying multiple hot-water heaters for people besides yourself.
Community action: If you are a landlord, apply these guidelines to your properties. This can help you stabilize rent and retain good tenants. If you live in a condo rather than a single-family home, talk with your condo association about group rates/discounts on the price of new hot-water units and installation.