Hot Water Tanks and Pipes: Warm Water for a Cooler Climate


Five ways to get the warmth without the waste

  • Turn your hot water system’s thermostat down to 120ºF
  • Add an insulating blanket to your hot water tank
  • Replace your outdated oil or gas hot water heater with an efficient electric water heater
  • Insulate your hot-water pipes
  • Replace or insulate your tenants’ tanks and pipes, if you’re a landlord, as well as your own

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 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.



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