At Home with Lisa: Help your water heater use less energy

Have you ever touched the side of your water heater and noticed that it was warm? If you can feel the heat, that means it is escaping.

This week, I learned from Avista’s website that you can save energy with your water heater, even if it isn’t a specific energy efficient model.

First, you can turn the thermostat down to 120 degrees. You will still get hot water, but the lower temperature will save energy down the road.

Make sure your water heater is running smoothly by draining a quart of the water out of it every three months or so. Mine has a faucet at its base, making it easy enough to drain a bit of water to remove sediment from the bottom of the tank. Too much sediment can make it harder for your tank to maintain its temperature.

I also made my water heater cozy by wrapping it in a blanket. You can find water heater insulated blankets at your local hardware store for about $30. Once you take it out of the bag, you will have to cut it to keep the thermostat and faucet accessible. You will also have to cut it if your heater has been strapped down in case of earthquakes, like mine has. Then, you can use the tape provided in the bag to secure it to your tank.

This was a very easy project that didn’t need any tools. It probably took only 30 minutes to make sure my water heater was all tucked in. If you want a more energy efficient water tank, this blanket is the way to go.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday morning.

Read more expert advice on energy efficient homes.


  1. At Home with Lisa
  2. Energy Saving