Don’t let the energy that you purchase for your home escape through uninsulated water pipes! Most water pipes are not insulated, which means they are losing heat and causing the water heater to work harder. In fact, un-insulated pipes can be 2º–4ºF colder than insulated ones, which costs you not only in your water-heating bill, but also in water wasted as you wait for the tap to get hot. If your pipes are warm to the touch, “sweat” (cause precipitation), or go through unheated areas, then you should insulate them. Pre-slit foam pipe insulation, also called pipe sleeves, is available at most hardware stores. Rigid foam has the highest R-value – insulates the best – so go with that if you want to save the most energy. Just snap them onto pipes and seal the ends of adjoining pieces with duct tape.
If your water heater was installed before 2004, install a water heater blanket, or insulating jacket, to keep in the heat. The improved efficiency will allow you to turn down the temperature on your water thermostat—to the tune of 4% to 9% of your energy bill. You also will not have to wait so long for hot water from the faucet, meaning you save water as well.